Roman Empire’s Rise and Fall: Trees Unleash the Recorded Information

A deep insight of the tree growth rings has revealed the possibility of a link between the rise and fall of past civilizations such as Roman Empire and climatic transformation in Europe.

The concept struck when researchers gathered some statistical data for analysis purposes. The purpose was to find the link between the current situation of the world and the situation 2500 years ago. For all such reasons, the researchers supported their findings using 9000 wooden artifacts. These artifacts are said to be 2500 years old.

They found a very interesting fact that warm periods or wet summers corresponded to prosperity and rise while the climatic instability cause political disorder. These findings have also been published by Journal Science. You can view them online.

The co-author of Ulf Buntgen who is also a paleoclimatologist at Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape shared that there are examples that indicate the weather changes or the climate changes have impacted human race 2500 years ago.

The team that performed this extensive study used a beneficent system that measures the time span of unearthed materials during excavations. The system had also been previously used to date these materials as well.

The Archaeologists have developed chronologies with Oak ring width from Central Europe. These cover almost the entire Holocene. They have been in turn used for the purpose of dating artifacts, antique artwork, historical buildings and furniture as well. One of the main objectives of team was to be certain about the fact how the tree growth rings were related to the climate changes.

Roman Empire & Climatic Changes
Roman Empire & Climatic Changes

The team said that over the past couple of centuries, the climate has indeed affected the tree growth rings. The trees form broad rings with the boundaries of these rings separated by a sufficient large distance in the presence of good growing seasons. The plentiful supply of water and nutrients help to form these broadened rings.

The rings grew in tighter formation in unfavorable conditions such as drought. All such data was then used by the team to reconstruct annual climate patterns. After developing a chronology that stretched back 2500 years ago, the team then identified the link with prosperity of the past civilizations.

The concluded that the medieval time and the Roman time corresponded to wet and warm summers. The increased weather invariability from 250-600 A.D caused the downfall of the Roman Empire. The dry period of 3rd century caused serious crisis for the Western Roman Empire. Dr. Buntgen finally said that this dating phenomenon can be secured and recorded if you have a lot of material and a lot of rings. It is basically the large chunk of data needed for such a discovery.

Tree Growth Rings
Tree Growth Rings

Leave a Comment