A study presented in Scientific Reports suggests that the debris stream from a short-period comet may have destroyed the Tell Abu Hureyra archaeological site.
Tell Abu Hureyra is an archaeological site located in the Euphrates Valley in modern Syria. The site consists of two ancient villages, one dating back to the Epipaleolithic era when the inhabitants were sedentary hunter-gatherers, the later Neolithic period village consisting of farmers.
The site was excavated by archaeologists in 1972 and 1973 as part of a rescue operation before the region was flooded due to the construction of the Tabqa dam that formed Lake Assad. During the excavations, archaeologists uncovered a mysterious layer of exposed, carbon-rich surfaces containing glass spheres formed from the melted soil.
The Epipaleolithic or Natufian settlement was established some 13,500 years ago and consisted of circular underground dwellings carved out of soft sandstone. After 1,300 years of occupation, the inhabitants were supposed to have left the site due to Younger Dryas, a period that temporarily reversed the gradual climate warming after the Last Glacial Maximum that resulted in an abrupt return to glacial weather conditions that lasted more than 1,000 years.
It has been proposed in previous studies that the Younger Dryas was caused by a cosmic impact that occurred about 12,800 years ago, which resulted in multi-continental bursts of air from a short period comet. To support this theory, several sites in North America, Europe, and Tell Abu Hureyra have been found to contain large amounts of magnetic spherules, molten glass, nanodiamonds, charcoal, carbon such as glass, iridium, and platinum, which are temperature indicators. extremely high possibly caused by cosmic events
The new study in Scientific Reports led by Andrew Moore of the Rochester Institute of Technology has been reexamining materials from excavations conducted in the 1970s.
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The researchers have replicated the materials from Tell Abu Hureyra by heating samples such as molten glass to extreme temperatures and analyzing the results using reflected light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with energy dispersion spectroscopy (EDS), micro electron probe. , Reflectance, and Transmission Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR).
They compared the Tel Abu Hureyra material with molten materials at other prehistoric impact sites on Earth and found many similarities. The glass analysis also coincided with a 2012 study that also proposes that an aerial blast destroyed Tel Abu Hureyra.
Moore told LiveScience, “It is impossible to explain these melted minerals in molten glass by any natural process other than a cosmic impact event.” Moore added: “The people who were in or near the village of Abu Hureyra at the time the air blast exploded would have seen a huge flash in the sky, equivalent to a nuclear explosion. A few seconds later, they would have been cremated. by the explosion emanating from the air blast. The heat wave destroyed the town and everything in it, leaving a layer of burnt material on the surface. “
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