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31 October 2019 Disaster Geoarchaeology and Natural Cataclysms in World Cultural Evolution: An Overview
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Abstract

Liritzis, I.; Westra, A., and Miao, C., 2019. Disaster geoarchaeology and natural cataclysms in world cultural evolution: An overview. Journal of Coastal Research, 35(6), 1307–1330. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.

Human records of short-term, catastrophic, geological processes, mainly in coastal or fluvial environments, and related phenomena in historic and prehistoric times have to be considered as functions of event intensities and impacts (and damages) caused on ancient human settlements and lives. Catastrophic events, such as, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and the collapse of ancient cultures, in particular, those allied to the birth of myths and legends, are the subject of long-lasting, vivid debate. Longer-term, more-or-less consecutive, geological processes and climatic fluctuations have a more pronounced effect on human history. Historical accounts provide many descriptions about cultural evolution in a recurrent manner. The geoarchives (geology, sedimentology, and geomorphology) and the human record (archaeology and history) are considered documentary evidence of these past events. Astronomical causes have introduced severe phenomena (warming, heavy precipitation, monsoons, droughts) imposed on ancient societies, including catastrophic meteor impact. Terrestrial upheavals and astronomical impacts have introduced a nonlinear character of a quasiperiodic nature in transforming human cultural evolution and reshaping the earth's surface. The transient nature of geological, geophysical, and proxy climatic indices, as well as, astronomical phenomena within the solar system, exhibit a wide spectrum of quasiperiodic frequencies as variable and effective environmental factors, which, in addition to anthropogenic factors, reshape the human context. Several conspicuous examples have been reported on mythological deluges and their relation to natural catastrophes. The Anthropocene sea level rise and climatic episodes have had a decisive and prominent role on coastlines and human settlements. Alluvial sediments, sedimentary deposits, and land modifications have drastic effects on settlements. These effects were memorized as floods, deluges, and fallen sky. World examples of disasters derived from the coastal Mediterranean, the Great Flood of Gun-Yu in China, and those from South America, Mesopotamia, and the Middle East and others, were critically assessed with scientific methods.

©Coastal Education and Research Foundation, Inc. 2019
Ioannis Liritzis, Alexander Westra, and Changhong Miao "Disaster Geoarchaeology and Natural Cataclysms in World Cultural Evolution: An Overview," Journal of Coastal Research 35(6), 1307-1330, (31 October 2019). https://doi.org/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-19-00035.1
Received: 24 March 2019; Accepted: 13 May 2019; Published: 31 October 2019
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