Study: Ancient Britons Thrived Despite Rapid Climate Swings

Star Carr Spear tips from Ancient Britain.
Star Carr Spear tips from Ancient Britain. By Jonathan Cardy (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A new study suggests people in Ancient Britain thrived despite major abrupt changes to their climate.

Confronted With Severe Climate Change, Ancient Britons Kept Calm and Carried On

George Dvorsky

Today 4:20pm

Soon after the glaciers melted at the end of the last Ice Age, our planet was vulnerable to abrupt and dramatic shifts in climate, including prolonged cold snaps that lasted for decades. New research suggests early hunter-gatherers living in the British Isles didn’t just manage to survive these harsh conditions—they actually thrived.

Ancient hunter-gatherers living at the Star Carr site some 11,000 years ago in what is now North Yorkshire didn’t skip a beat as temperatures plunged around the globe in the immediate post-glacial era, according to new research published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. This latest research suggests abrupt climate change wasn’t catastrophically or culturally disruptive to this long-standing community, and that early humans were remarkably resilient and adaptable in the face of dramatic climate shifts.

The Star Carr population arrived in this part of the world at the very beginning of the Holocene Era, which happens to be the era we still find ourselves in. The Holocene started when the Ice Age came to end some 11,500 years ago, but in this transitionary period, the Earth’s climate was still subject to dramatic shifts. In this immediate post-Ice Age era, rising sea levels, changing ocean currents, and frigid ocean temperatures produced prolonged cold periods that rekindled memories of the prior frozen epoch. Average global temperatures dropped by as much as three degrees Celsius, creating cold snaps that lasted more than a hundred years. In parts of the British Isles, Eurasia, and North America, temperatures got so low that entire forests stopped growing. Anthropologists figured early humans living in northern Britain suffered during this time, but the new study suggests this wasn’t the case.

“It has been argued that abrupt climatic events may have caused a crash in Mesolithic populations in Northern Britain, but our study reveals that at least in the case of the pioneering colonizers at Star Carr, early communities were able to cope with extreme and persistent climate events,” lead author Simon Blockley, a researcher at Royal Holloway, University of London, said in a statement.

Read more:

The abstract of the study;

The resilience of postglacial hunter-gatherers to abrupt climate change

Simon Blockley, Ian Candy, Ian Matthews, Pete Langdon, Cath Langdon, Adrian Palmer, Paul Lincoln, Ashley Abrook, Barry Taylor, Chantal Conneller, Alex Bayliss, Alison MacLeod, Laura Deeprose, Chris Darvill, Rebecca Kearney, Nancy Beavan, Richard Staff, Michael Bamforth, Maisie Taylor & Nicky Milner

Understanding the resilience of early societies to climate change is an essential part of exploring the environmental sensitivity of human populations. There is significant interest in the role of abrupt climate events as a driver of early Holocene human activity, but there are very few well-dated records directly compared with local climate archives. Here, we present evidence from the internationally important Mesolithic site of Star Carr showing occupation during the early Holocene, which is directly compared with a high-resolution palaeoclimate record from neighbouring lake beds. We show that—once established—there was intensive human activity at the site for several hundred years when the community was subject to multiple, severe, abrupt climate events that impacted air temperatures, the landscape and the ecosystem of the region. However, these results show that occupation and activity at the site persisted regardless of the environmental stresses experienced by this society. The Star Carr population displayed a high level of resilience to climate change, suggesting that postglacial populations were not necessarily held hostage to the flickering switch of climate change. Instead, we show that local, intrinsic changes in the wetland environment were more significant in determining human activity than the large-scale abrupt early Holocene climate events.

Read more (paywalled):

Some studies have suggested that events like the Younger Dryas, an abrupt thousand year return to ice age conditions with a temperature drop between 2C – 6C, might have struck with full force in just a few months.

Mini Ice Age Took Hold Of Europe In Just Months

Kate Ravilious

Thu, 12 Nov 2009 11:29 UTC

Just months – that’s how long it took for Europe to be engulfed by an ice age. The scenario, which comes straight out of Hollywood blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow, was revealed by the most precise record of the climate from palaeohistory ever generated.

Around 12,800 years ago the northern hemisphere was hit by the Younger Dryas mini ice age, or “Big Freeze”. It was triggered by the slowdown of the Gulf Stream, led to the decline of the Clovis culture in North America, and lasted around 1300 years.

Carbon isotopes in each slice revealed how productive the lake was and oxygen isotopes gave a picture of temperature and rainfall. They show that at the start of the Big Freeze, temperatures plummeted and lake productivity stopped within months, or a year at most. “It would be like taking Ireland today and moving it up to Svalbard” in the Arctic, says Patterson, who presented the findings at the BOREAS conference in Rovaniemi, Finland, on 31 October.

“This is significantly shorter than what has been suggested before, but it is plausible,” says Derek Vance of the University of Bristol, UK. Hans Renssen, a climate researcher at Vrije University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, says recent findings from Greenland ice cores indicate the Younger Dryas event may have happened in one to three years. Patterson’s results confirm this was a very sudden change, he says.

Read more:

The only reasonable conclusion which can be drawn from this evidence in my view is that humans and ecosystems are able to cope with abrupt climate shifts on a scale which makes our current gradual warming trend look like a flat spot.

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Tom Halla
March 27, 2018 6:47 pm

People are adaptable, and have been for a long time. Unless one is in a marginal situation to start with, bad weather can be compensated for. If i recall correctly, this time period was before agriculture in Britain, so crop failure was not a problem.

Reply to  Tom Halla
March 27, 2018 7:05 pm

Such rapid change in conditions today would be a different story with our dependence upon agriculture and density of population. I have read estimates of 100 mile movement of the growing belt, south, for every degree of average annual temperature, F, drop. Canada, and some of our Midwest would need to swap grain crops for cabbage.

Reply to  JimG1
March 27, 2018 7:45 pm

Warmer would be better. Just sayin.

Shoki Kaneda
Reply to  JimG1
March 27, 2018 9:31 pm

No fur, tall and slender, sweat all over. Not exactly characteristics one would expect of cold weather animals.

Ron Long
Reply to  JimG1
March 28, 2018 3:04 am

JimG1, I think the math says 100 miles for each 1 degree Centigrade change. The earth is 40,006 kilometers around in a polar direction, so say 10,000 kilometers pole to equator. If the average temperature polar is minus 30 C and the average temperature equator is plus 30 C, 60 C change in 10,000 kilometers is 166 kilometers per degree C change. This is approximately 100 miles per deg C. All of this does not take into consideration ocean and wind currents and has no other basis in reality. So the dreaded 2 deg C change means you would have to move 200 miles more polarward to maintain your living conditions, unless this causes you to move into Canada, Eh, where Socialized medicine would enter the living conditions equation. Just saying.

Reply to  Tom Halla
March 28, 2018 1:33 am

Ancient Britain wasn’t populated with millions of snowflakes, unlike modern Britain.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
March 28, 2018 4:39 am

Aye, lad. That’s Yorkshiremen for you!

Steve Borodin
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
March 28, 2018 10:53 am

I am an ancient Briton and I am thriving. QED.

March 27, 2018 6:51 pm

‘conditions with a temperature drop between 2C – 6C’
I expect that tonight.

Bryan A
Reply to  Gamecock
March 27, 2018 9:02 pm

But when your average daytime temp tops at 4C instead of 10C and your average night time temp drops from 4C down to -2Ccomment image
Take 6C from these and see how many lows are below freezing…That is how glaciers are born.
Now see how many days through April would be near freezing at the warmest…this is how glaciers advance

Reply to  Bryan A
March 28, 2018 3:36 am

Glaciers advance at glacial speed.

Bryan A
Reply to  Bryan A
March 28, 2018 5:48 am

Glaciers, while adding mass, can advance by as much as a kilometer per year during cold summers but ice sheets build quickly if the winters freeze doesn’t completely melt in colder summers

March 27, 2018 7:02 pm

A little more digging and they will discover the windmills they used to get through the cold.

Eustace Cranch
Reply to  rbabcock
March 28, 2018 6:35 am

Not to mention the crude flint solar panels.

Bryan A
Reply to  Eustace Cranch
March 28, 2018 12:02 pm

I’ve heard of Slate Solar Panels but not Flint.
Stick the Slate slabs in the sun all day long then move them into the Cave at night to radiate the heat.

March 27, 2018 7:23 pm

Of course these people did just fine with the wild swings in temperature, they had put up with all sorts of nasty weather and were tough and adaptable. If it happened next year, I suspect there would be a lot of attrition but the tough always survive and the human genome is full of survivor genes. I expect we could even cope with the agricultural difficulties, after all we know how to build greenhouses and keep them warm….

Reply to  pameladragon
March 27, 2018 8:30 pm

Except glass-making creates more CO2, which we all know creates worse blizzards in Summer —> Certain doom within a decade.
Beware, CO2 makes the climate change.

Reply to  WXcycles
March 28, 2018 8:12 am

No problem, just capture the CO2 and pump it into the Greenhouse after it is built. The CO2 will warm up the Greenhouse and feed the plants!

March 27, 2018 7:26 pm

Can I use this article as an excuse to repost my favourite graphic showing the SLR and glacial retreat around the UK at the end of the last ice age.
It helps to put the situation faced by early Britons into perspective.
It’s puts our current trivial “climate change” into perspective also.comment image

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
March 27, 2018 8:50 pm

Excellent graphic! Puts so much into perspective. As the ice age receded and sea levels rose, the human population become concentrated into smaller, disconnected areas like Ireland and the British Isles. Rising temperatures and higher productivity for settled agriculture, increased competition between groups and the more complex societal organization this drives – lead eventually to the formation of nation states and the global geopolitical landscape we live in and observe today.
Global warming should be celebrated. On the other hand, global cooling (ie. the long term trend post Holocene Optimum 7000 years or so ago) will very likely and very sadly re-establish once again at some point. Perhaps it is now getting underway. Cooling is the real cause for alarm and we as human societies need to burn more clean, cheap coal and pump more CO2 into the atmosphere in an attempt to offset plummeting global temperatures and to butress agricultural productivity.

Reply to  Andrew
March 28, 2018 12:57 am

However the Ice-sheet in Britain was rather larger than that in 16,000 BC even though it had already started retreating at that time, it is more correct for 13,000 BC:
By the way that remark about “big oil graphic”, if not meant as a joke, is about the silliest thing I’ve ever seen on WUWT, despite formidable competition.

Nigel S
Reply to  Andrew
March 28, 2018 3:18 am

tty, yes, there are remains of glacial moraines in north London.

Reply to  Andrew
March 28, 2018 11:48 am

Thanks for the links.
Yes, the ice coverage shown is for ~15 Ka, not 18 Ka, when there was still an extensive British-Irish Ice Sheet. It extended down into England and the Scottish and Irish lobes were connected at 18 Ka. It reached to the Shetlands, and Wales had a separate ice cap.

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
March 27, 2018 9:14 pm

Yeah right. That graphic was funded by Big Oil.

Peter Morgenroth
Reply to  Max Photon
March 27, 2018 10:14 pm

Which of course makes it “untrue”

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
March 28, 2018 12:50 pm

Makes me wonder where there may have been communities and remnants of such under the (current) water. The lake south of Dogger Bank, and the adjacent hillside(s) looks like a fun place to visit.

March 27, 2018 8:14 pm

” … New research suggests early hunter-gatherers living in the British Isles didn’t just manage to survive these harsh conditions—they actually thrived. .. ”
As sea level rises longer-lived large animal populations, once living on modern littorals, are slowly forced into a smaller geography, over many centuries. This may equate to relatively high pop densities and meat abundance, furnished by higher bio productivity of relative ‘warmth’, as warmer shallow sea level keeps slowly transgressing.
—> More food clothing tool opportunities, more often

March 27, 2018 8:23 pm

Remember that it was only about 13,000 years ago that the CO2 in the atmosphere got high enough to support the thriving of C4 plants. Before that it was mostly C3 plants that were the mainstay of human subsistence. So even though the climate was “swinging wildly,” the new horticultural bounty provided a lot of resilience that made up for a lot of that variability, even during the colder swings.

Steve B
Reply to  Alexander Carpenter
March 28, 2018 12:18 am

Oh yes I remember very well living in that CO2 swamp. 🙂

March 27, 2018 8:39 pm

The ice age ended? Thank goodness, I thought we were just nearing the end of an interglacial and that would be bad news for a population lacking skills. Fortunately for me I can use ArcGIS so I am set no matter what comes.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  BCBill
March 27, 2018 9:06 pm

Expecting the end of our interglacial, I dumped GIS in favor of crosscut saw and ax skills. I suppose I could learn how to make Western Stemmed points but that seems a bit to far.

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
March 28, 2018 1:22 am

Knapping would be a super skill. However,, based on post apocalypse movies, can opening ability seems huge. Decades after the end nobody is ever seen farming or hunting but people are still scavenging old tins of food.

old construction worker
Reply to  BCBill
March 28, 2018 1:22 am

“…..bad news for a population lacking skills.” It seems they had enough skills to build wood structures with stone tools.

Reply to  old construction worker
March 28, 2018 8:46 pm

I meant we will be in trouble when the interglacial ends, I can’t build a stone building with wooden tools or a wooden building with stone tools. However, i can do a lovely 3D rendition of a building if that will keep me warm.

March 27, 2018 8:48 pm

Humans have an issue now that we didn’t have back in the Younger Drias: Nowadays we have seaports and shipbuilding facilities and associated coastal/inlet major cities, built with an assumption of sea level being stable.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
March 27, 2018 9:25 pm


Bryan A
Reply to  WXcycles
March 27, 2018 10:24 pm

We also have whole countries where only ice sheets once existed

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
March 28, 2018 12:05 am

Playing devil’s advovate here? Cities at the coast are a problem if the sea level rise considerably accelerates. At the moment, the rise is far too linear to pose a significant economical risk.
Also, for degrowthers: sea level rise can cost money and slow economy down, but that’s about it. A rising local sea level is a solvable problem, where quick ‘decarboning’ of the energy sector is just hopeless and would kill so many people that deep-ecologists had their wish fullfilled.

March 27, 2018 9:16 pm

Well that just about proves how ignorant those Starr Carr peoples of those times really were!
Without the UK’s BBC , Austtralia’s ABC ,the US alarmist media, Al Gore, The IPCC, The NutJob media Science Man [ can’t remember his name ] from the USA, Lord Deben and Prof Wadhams and ” no snow ” David Viner from the UK, Shellenhuber from Germany , Tim, “it will never rain again” Flannery from Australia, Greenpeace and etc, they apparently never realised just how terrible and deadly those times were with the constant Catastrophic Climate Change they had to face and endure through hundreds or thousands of years.
So they in their ignorance just got on with living and adapting to what ever the climate threw up at the time.
Something that according to today’s “Climate Experts”, the current races of mankind and the current life forms on this planet are utterly incapable of even withstanding a degree or so change in the global temperatures without a major ecological catastrophe taking place across the depth and breadth of the planet.
And horror of horrors, they had no models to tell just how much worse it was going to be 13,000 years into the future either..
[ / sarc ]

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  ROM
March 28, 2018 12:05 am

And they also did not have litigation

March 27, 2018 9:16 pm

So now we know who spawned the Brexit proponents and the climate sceptics…who is responsible for all the snowflakes?

Reply to  AllyKat
March 28, 2018 6:29 am

Yes, isn’t the world wondrously black and white? This is what I hate about todays politics, about both skeptics and alarmists. They all use demonisation and ad hominem -attacks. Your opponent is stupid and ignorant, and you yourself are uniquely enlightened. Of course, if you ask your opponent, they say the same thing about you! In the end, they entrench more and more in their camps and bubbles and get nowhere…
But to answer your question; I believe these “Brexit proponents” and “climate skeptics” are responsible for these so-called “snowflakes” (which I guess is a pejorative term basically meaning “everyone I don’t like”, similar to leftist’s “nazi” or “racist”). After all, they didn’t fall from the sky, did they?

Reply to  Fredar
March 28, 2018 8:16 am

“After all, they didn’t fall from the sky, did they?”
If they did fall from the sky, it would be consistent with Global Warming.

Leo Smith
March 27, 2018 9:27 pm

Plenty of abandoned settlements from that era as well.
So its just cherry picking. Britain’s prehistory is a history of massive climate change – that we can agree on. As to whom it benefited and whom it did not, well I have a nice bridge in Doggerland to sell you.,.

dodgy geezer
March 27, 2018 9:30 pm

…Ancient hunter-gatherers living at the Star Carr site some 11,000 years ago in what is now North Yorkshire didn’t skip a beat as temperatures plunged around the globe…
Yorkshiremen? Say no more!

Reply to  dodgy geezer
March 28, 2018 12:00 am

Yorkshiremen? Say no more!

I met a Yorkshire Lass recently. I have been aware of the existence of Yorkshire Lasses for a long time. Meeting this person, who took some pride in being a Yorkshire Lass, made me wonder about where and when that demonym originated. A quick google wasn’t very satisfying. Can you shed any light on the subject?

Martin A
Reply to  commieBob
March 28, 2018 12:17 am

Lass (also lassie)
Noun (chiefly Scottish and North English a girl or young woman
Origin Middle English based on Norse Laskura ‘unmarried’
[Concise Oxford Dictionary]

dodgy geezer
Reply to  commieBob
March 28, 2018 1:49 am

This may help?
Or Google “Eh-up, lass” – a common greeting you might wish to use when you meet her next….
The English are known for their unspoken air of superiority over all other nationalities (justified or not!). Yorkshire folk are known for their automatic assumption that, of all the counties in England, theirs is the ‘most superior’…. and it’s rarely unspoken. Their usual way of referring to Yorkshire is ‘God’s own county’, and their usual attitude to their neighbours is to commiserate with them that they weren’t born inside the Yorkshire county boundary…

Nigel S
Reply to  commieBob
March 28, 2018 3:26 am

Geoffrey Boycott’s grandmother and her stick of ruhbarb’ set a fine example.

March 27, 2018 10:25 pm

They thrived because they wore woad. It toughened them up.

March 27, 2018 10:35 pm

I saw this on MSM. The funny part was at the end where the usual plea for more money was predicated on the idea that we need to study the affects of climate change on ancient civilizations in order to better prepare for global warming. Yes, because in order to prepare for rising temps the first thing you should do is study falling temps.
Up is down, left is right….

dodgy geezer
Reply to  davidmhoffer
March 28, 2018 1:51 am

…The funny part was at the end where the usual plea for more money was predicated on the idea that we need to study the affects of climate change on ancient civilizations…
Grant committees don’t look at logic. They look for the words ‘Climate Change’. If you include that, you will be fine…

Patrick MJD
March 27, 2018 10:53 pm

Proof is, they are still there.

March 27, 2018 11:49 pm

… the Younger Dryas mini ice age, or “Big Freeze”. It was triggered by the slowdown of the Gulf Stream, led to the decline of the Clovis culture in North America, and lasted around 1300 years.

There’s a competing hypothesis.

The current impact hypothesis states that the air burst(s) or impact(s) of a swarm of carbonaceous chondrites or comet fragments set areas of the North American continent on fire, causing the extinction of most of the megafauna in North America and the demise of the North American Clovis culture … link

The hypothesis is controversial but it does have the advantage of explaining the extinction of the megafauna and the decline of the Clovis people. The Clovis people declined and the ancient Britons didn’t. Why was that? You would think that the slowdown of the Gulf Stream would affect Europe more than North America. It makes me wonder how solid is the Gulf Stream hypothesis.

Reply to  commieBob
March 28, 2018 1:01 am

Unfortunately the extinction of the megafauna happened at different times in different areas, however by a very odd coincidence always just after the arrival of modern humans…..

Reply to  tty
March 28, 2018 1:49 am

Darwin may need some tweaking.
“Survival of the least tasty”.
Splains why penguins are winners.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Ulaanbaatar
Reply to  tty
March 28, 2018 4:58 am

It is possible that the arrival in N America of a new batch of humans with novel strains of Asian flu and cold killed the Clovis people in numbers large enough to cause societal collapse.

Reply to  tty
March 28, 2018 3:20 pm

I can’t see how such a low population of newly arrived modern humans could be completely responsible for the extinction of 47 species of Megafauna animals. Either through hunting or disease. Especially in every nook and cranny of every square mile on several continents. Actually doesn’t explain the Siberian mass extinctions of Wooly Mammoths for example with their bones all piled up and apparently flash frozen with fresh food still in their stomaches. That may be some sort of additional calamity. If humans were responsible, then why didn’t Africa also suffer the same fate with their vast megafauna animals?
I think a much better explanation is tens of thousands of years of CO2 starvation where C3/C4 plants were severely stressed all over the planet due to CO2 at 180 ppmv, but especially closer to the ice sheets where it was either cold, desert conditions, or very meagre Savannah grasslands unable to support a large mammal population. Simply put, the food chain collapsed top down this last ice age, as CO2 levels have been dropping since the beginning of the The Pleistocene Epoch ice age that began about 2.6 million years ago. The fact that atmospheric CO2 has been declining every ice age advance is not in question, and should be considered the prime suspect in something that happened at different times and places the last 20,000 years. Perhaps newly arrived humans finished some of them off, but they were on their way out due primarily to CO2 starvation in the food chain. The fact that humans now introducing CO2 with fossil fuel input is probably the best thing that has happened to the good Earth in the last 2.6 million years.

Reply to  tty
March 28, 2018 3:31 pm

Mammoth carcasses are found not from a single time, but from across tens of thousands of years. Most weren’t killed by humans.
Fewer African animals went extinct because they evolved along with human predators, and because scavenging was often a better strategy for humans there, given the enormous numbers of large animals, compared with more sparse populations in more frigid zones.
The arrival of humans in Australia and the Americas had the same result as our later arrival on remote oceanic islands like Mauritius, Hawaii and New Zealand. In each case, the biggest and most easily hunted game animals went extinct, followed by their animal predators.

Reply to  tty
March 29, 2018 8:47 am

Except many of the Megafauna animals in North America were already severely stressed or had already become extinct by the time that Paleoindian humans arrived on the scene in NA. Clovis Peoples that had arrived first appear to have been reduced or replaced by incoming waves of subsequent human migrations due to severe climate restraints. It appears the YD event 12,900 BP also was perhaps responsible for a severe blow to the Megafauna populations as well. The Palioindians originally came in sparse numbers taking hundreds if not thousands of years to reach significant numbers in every nook and cranny of NA making them less suspect for total demise of these species. Furthermore, out of all the Megafauna that did go extinct, only a few species in the archaeological record show evidence of human hunting which were mammoths, mastodons, and bison although undoubtedly other species must have been hunted as well.
This is still a fairly hotly contested subject in academia as you are probably aware. I personally think it was a combination of both (firstly) environmental and (second) arrival of humans, finishing them off. But I think the fundamental question is whether these animals would have suffered extinction if humans had not arrived. Probably not, but I also think they had been in a serious decline since the advent of the beginning of the the Pleistocene Epoch ice age that began about 2.6 million years ago. And I think CO2 starvation vegetation collapse and a declining climate over hundreds of thousands of years and successive glacial advances is what led to more sparse populations in more frigid zones, as you rightly note.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  commieBob
March 28, 2018 5:11 am

March 27, 2018 at 11:49 pm

There’s a competing hypothesis.

The current impact hypothesis states that the air burst(s) or impact(s) of a swarm of carbonaceous chondrites or comet fragments set areas of the North American continent on fire, causing the extinction of most of the megafauna in North America and the demise of the North American Clovis culture

The hypothesis is controversial but it does have the advantage of explaining the extinction of the megafauna and the decline of the Clovis people.

Archeological researchers that are incapable of common sense thinking, logical reasoning and/or intelligent deductions as a means of resolving the causes of past historical events, always seem to use the excuse that ……. “asteroids, comets and/or fragments thereof that have impacted the earth’s surface is the direct cause of all unexplained calamities”.
The North American Clovis culture began with a “new” invention of a napping technique for fashioning projectile points by resident native Americans ….. and it ended when the native American populace apparently switched to a much easier and simpler napping technique for creating their projectile points.
To wit:

Clovis points, it seems, were an American invention—perhaps the first American invention.
More than 10,000 Clovis points have been discovered, scattered in 1,500 locations throughout most of North America; Clovis points, or something similar, have turned up as far south as Venezuela. They seem to have materialized suddenly, by archaeological standards, and spread fast. The oldest securely dated points, discovered in Texas, trace back 13,500 years. In a few centuries they show up everywhere from Florida to Montana, from Pennsylvania to Washington State.


Musta been a powerful comet burst to set fire to this much of North America thus causing the demise of the Clovis Culture, to wit:
And me thinks the above “site map” infers that the Clovis Culture originated on the East coast of NA and migrated westward.

Bryan A
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
March 28, 2018 9:55 am

Looking at that map, I would imagine that the Clovis people came down into the area of the CONUS on the East Side of the Great Divide (Rockies) and thus settled the east first

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
March 28, 2018 12:37 pm

There are those who imagine that the Clovis culture came from Europe, carried by the first boat people, Solutrean refugees from Europe.
During the Last Glacial Maximum, the North Atlantic froze over in winter, much as the Arctic Ocean does now. North America and Europe were also a lot closer together, thanks to lower sea level and permanent sea ice. Thus, sea mammal and bird hunters and fishers could thus have crossed it in skin boats.
The trip would have been difficult in winter, but following the edge of the permanent sea ice in spring, summer and fall would have been possible.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
March 29, 2018 4:53 am

This is factual evidence of a “westward migration” of the Clovis Culture across North America ….. and then a “northward migration” for some of the explorers when they encountered the extreme ice and snow covered glacial conditions of the Rocky Mountains, to wit:

The DNA of a baby boy who was buried in Montana 12,600 years ago has been recovered, and it provides new indications of the ancient roots of today’s American Indians and other native peoples of the Americas.
It’s the oldest genome ever recovered from the New World. Artifacts found with the body show the boy was part of the Clovis culture, which existed in North America from about 13,000 years ago to about 12,600 years ago and is named for an archaeological site near Clovis, N.M.
The boy’s genome showed his people were direct ancestors of many of today’s native peoples in the Americas, researchers said. He was more closely related to those in Central and South America than to those in Canada. The reason for that difference isn’t clear, scientists said.

Reply to  commieBob
March 28, 2018 12:31 pm

Except that there is not a shred of evidence in support of the impact conjecture and all the evidence in the world against it.
Why did megafauna survive on islands closer to the alleged impact point, while they died out much farther away, by pure chance shortly after the arrival of people in those areas?

Bryan A
Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 7:32 pm

Sounds like anthropogenic wildlife change to me

Reply to  Chimp
March 28, 2018 8:04 pm

Catastrophic Anthropogenic Gutting of Wildlife.
Nowhere more visible than on islands, but Australia and the Americas were like large islands which humans hadn’t yet colonized.
The destruction of the Australian megafauna was dramatic, and now reliably dated to about 46,000 years ago for most species. Like this guy, the largest known marsupial:comment image
The largest known monotreme also died out at about the same time, and the largest Australian reptile.
As for the Younger Dryas, American megafauna died out at different times. The last ground sloths went extinct about the same time as humans arrived on their Caribbean islands, ie 4500 (Hispaniola) to 6250 (Cuba) years ago. A smaller Cuban ground sloth survived until 4960 years ago. Why would ground sloths survive on islands while their kin were wiped out on North and South America by an alleged impact on or over the northern ice sheet?

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Chimp
March 30, 2018 3:51 am

Except that there is not a shred of evidence in support of the impact conjecture and all the evidence in the world against it.

“Impact conjectures” are akin to claiming ….. “the Devil did it”.
The literal fact is, the demise of the megafauna is directly associated with the decrease in atmospheric CO2.
The megafauna required lots of easily accessible foods ……. and lots of CO2 are required for producing lots of food.

Reply to  Chimp
March 31, 2018 2:21 am

“Except that there is not a shred of evidence in support of the impact conjecture and all the evidence in the world against it.”
False, your statement shows that you just need to do a bit more research.
The amount of evidence in support of an impact is greater than any evidence against it.
If you are going to post statements like that above at least try and back it up some evidence.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Chimp
April 1, 2018 3:42 am

Lyndon – March 31, 2018 at 2:21 am

The amount of evidence in support of an impact is greater than any evidence against it.
If you are going to post statements like that above at least try and back it up some evidence.

Lyndon, your cited links to the Younger Dryas are opinions, NOT evidence and thus do not provide any factual evidence in support of “impact theory” being the cause of said. It would behoove you to engage in a little common sense thinking, logical reasoning and intelligent deductions ……. prior to you taking every “grain-of-salt” opinion as being actual, factual, unquestionable scientific proof and/or evidence.
And you can begin with this, to wit:

The Younger Dryas was the most recent and longest of several interruptions to the gradual warming of the Earth’s climate since the severe Last Glacial Maximum, c. 27,000 to 24,000 calendar years BP. The change was relatively sudden, taking place in decades, and it resulted in a decline of 2 to 6 degrees Celsius and advances of glaciers and drier conditions, over much of the temperate northern hemisphere. It is thought to have been caused by a decline in the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, which transports warm water from the Equator towards the North Pole, in turn thought to have been caused by an influx of fresh cold water from North America to the Atlantic.
The Younger Dryas was a period of climatic change, but the effects were complex and variable. In the Southern Hemisphere and some areas of the Northern Hemisphere, such as southeastern North America, there was a slight warming.

Read more @

James Bull
March 28, 2018 12:20 am

Of course the Ancient peoples wouldn’t have made their most abundant and cheep fuel source off limits to themselves like their much wiser ancestors have!
James Bull

Stephen Skinner
March 28, 2018 12:38 am

The ‘UK’ remained connected to ‘France’ until about 9,000 years ago so early Britons could have migrated with the animals rather the winter over. However, if we could make fire, shelter and tools we could have over-wintered as long as there was food and if it seemed a good idea. The winter food would have been meat (including fish) as I don’t think we had found out how to preserve fruits and vegetables and sedentary farming was some way off. But a hunter gatherer is skilled at moving with the food and making shelter although temporary. Therefore why is this a surprise? There is a tendency for some to project there own life experiences onto the past and the future. We are at a time of the most sedentary attitudes and not unreasonably we have built cities that are immovable. Along with these structures are all the supporting conceptual structures such as laws and rules about ownership, access rights, compensations, etc. etc. Our ancestors when faced with an environmental change or challenge would have paid attention and acted accordingly, or perish. They obviously didn’t perish. I’m not suggesting life was better 10,000 years ago but would could do with a regaining some of their flexibility and adaptability. It’s still there, but is only obvious in times of war.

Aurora Negra
March 28, 2018 2:06 am

“We also have whole countries where only ice sheets once existed”
As one who lives under what was ~2 km of Dihydrogen Monoxide in solid form 20Kys ago, 10m down in a freshwater lake 12Kys, 20m under the sea 10Kys ago and 150m AMSL today my house have had a waterfront property four times the last 20Kys. I’m not very concerned about 1.5mm/y sea rise.
And the land is elevating faster than the sea-level so I’m safe unless we have a 4 orders of magnitude increase in sea level rise. I do have some sympathy for the Dutch though, but they can get help from the EU.

Non Nomen
Reply to  Aurora Negra
March 28, 2018 5:32 am

…but they can get help from the EU.

Where is the [sarc] tag???

Scottish Sceptic
March 28, 2018 2:34 am

Most of what we know about Mesolithic people can be summed up in one word: haselnuts.
(And if it doesn’t mean much to you – don’t worry – as it doesn’t mean much more to archaeologists)

Reply to  Scottish Sceptic
March 28, 2018 4:24 pm


Reply to  DonM
March 29, 2018 9:26 am

I’ve got 3 trees that have popped up in “OK” locations at my house and were allowed to live. I take out 15 to 20 saplings per year (nearby orchard has been gone for at least 60 years).. They are prolific … but the squirrels the moths get all of the nuts.
Also seems to be some sort of relationship between small wild onions and and filbert orchards. I don’t know if the onions like the filbert trees or they like the spray the farmers use, but the last three large orchards that I have seen removed had millions of tiny onions growing under the trees.

Reply to  Scottish Sceptic
March 28, 2018 4:29 pm

Yes, filberts are hazelnuts, and they were huge in Mesolithic Doggerland and adjoining lands, c. 9000 to 4000 BC.

March 28, 2018 4:39 am

What is going to happen in the future cannot be compared to the relatively stable period that man has enjoyed since the beginning of his evolution.
AGW is going to be catastrophic and global organisations realise this.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Ulaanbaatar
Reply to  ivankinsman
March 28, 2018 4:59 am

If it isn’t, can I get my money back?
From you?

Bill Murphy
Reply to  ivankinsman
March 28, 2018 6:22 am

…What is going to happen in the future cannot be compared to the relatively stable period that man has enjoyed since the beginning of his evolution.
You are kidding, right? What “relatively stable period” was that? A major climate change forced our distant ancestors out of the forest and onto the savannah, where they learned to walk upright to better spot predators. Since then we have lived and thrived in periods of glaciation and cold weather and periods of warmth greater than today by a wide margin. The major challenge then was to find enough to eat without being eaten in the process. The major challenge today is to maintain our unprecedented wealth and security in the face of “global organisations” trying to destroy it based on unproven hypothetical horror stories used to milk funding from the gullible. Your screen name of “Ivan” is a big clue to your sympathies and agenda.

Reply to  Bill Murphy
March 28, 2018 6:50 am

Unproven hypothetical horror stories my arse. As true as true can be.

Bill Murphy
Reply to  Bill Murphy
March 28, 2018 7:15 am

As true as true can be.
Would that be as true as your comment about the “relatively stable period” over the last million years or so during human evolution? Maybe your comment should be As true as true ivankinsman can be.

F. Leghorn
Reply to  Bill Murphy
March 28, 2018 8:15 am

As true as true can be.
So “true” can sometimes be “less true?” That is as false “as false can be.” It explains how people like you can be so gullible.

J Mac
Reply to  Bill Murphy
March 28, 2018 4:05 pm

Your ‘arse’ is an unproven hypothetical horror story?
Hmmm… sounds remarkably similar to ‘man made global warming’.

Bryan A
Reply to  Bill Murphy
March 28, 2018 7:45 pm

Ivan Skins Man
Name one horror story related to AGW that is currently proven true.
One caveat…
It must be something that hasn’t happened in history and so is truly unprecedented.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Bill Murphy
April 2, 2018 4:25 am

Bill Murphy – March 28, 2018 at 6:22 am

A major climate change forced our distant ancestors out of the forest and onto the savannah, where they learned to walk upright to better spot predators.

Bill Murphy, iffen our early ancestors had actually ventured out on the “hot n’ dry” African savannahs they would never have survived long enough to be our ancestors, ……. nor the tens-of-thousands-of-years that was required for them to evolve their bipedal (2 footed walking) locomotion.
African savannah predators don’t need to see you to get you, cause they can smell you from hundreds of yards away and when you first see a predator it will most likely be a ½ second before it take a BIG bite outta your behind.

Dale S
Reply to  ivankinsman
March 28, 2018 6:24 am

It takes some cheek to respond to an article about humans coping with a large and sudden drop in temperature in pre-historic times, with a claim that this is “relatively stable” compared to “what is going to happen in the future”. Nothing in either the IPCC reports nor our experience in the modern warming period supports that.
The idea that AGW is “going to be catastrophic” is not supported by the latest IPCC reports either — the worst case there is that implausibly high emissions produce higher than expected warming which may cause future economies to be significantly worse than they would have been in the absence of warming — but still *far* richer than our current economic state. That’s not catastrophic.
What would have been catastrophic is if the 19th-20th century industrialization had left fossil fuels in the ground for fear of the mild anomaly rise their descendants would have experienced. We would be far less wealthy, far less resilient to the vagaries of nature, and if the world remained about 1C colder, with CO2 concentrations below 300ppm, agriculture would be far worse off.

Reply to  Dale S
March 28, 2018 6:53 am

Ok so we glutted ourselves on fossil fuels, reaped the financial benefits and now time to wean ourselves off them.

Bill Murphy
Reply to  Dale S
March 28, 2018 7:21 am

I agree. Time to start using more uranium and thorium and less carbon.

F. Leghorn
Reply to  Dale S
March 28, 2018 8:21 am

ivankinsman on March 28, 2018 at 6:53 am
So my driving to work to support my family (not to mention keeping them comfortable and fed)means I’m a “glutton”?
Funny, but before you snowflakes appeared it meant I was a good man.

Reply to  ivankinsman
March 28, 2018 4:18 pm

In the 200,000 year history of modern human evolution, the climate has never been stable. Even during the two interglacial intervals of that time, climate has fluctuated far more than it will thanks to imaginary “AGW”. Of course global organizations want to perpetrate scare stories to their benefit.
If you imagine you can demonstrate scientifically the conclusion that AGW will be catastrophic, disastrous or bad in any way, please do so. Merely asserting it doesn’t show it true.
If you go back to the divergence of humans from chimps and other great apes, the climate has been even less stable. If only we could return to the balmy days of the Pliocene, when warmer oceans meant more plant food in the air! But it’s not going to happen.

Reply to  Chimp
March 29, 2018 8:31 am

Mankind has only developed because we have been lucky to enjoy a relatively stable climatic period. If there had been temperature extremes we would be dead.
AGW is like gambling. It is raising the stakes for more extreme climatic events. Don’t you get that? It is such a simple concept.

Tom Halla
Reply to  ivankinsman
March 29, 2018 10:50 am

History, anywhere recorded, has it that warm periods are much more pleasant for humans than cold periods.

Reply to  Tom Halla
March 29, 2018 12:24 pm

Ok. Well the Sahara is expanding, partly due to climate change, so plenty of room for sceptics to move there and they will be nice and toasty as global temperatures continue to increase:

Tom Halla
Reply to  ivankinsman
March 29, 2018 12:27 pm

The last reports I saw were that the Sahara was shrinking. It grew during the 1945-1975 cool spell.

Non Nomen
March 28, 2018 5:28 am

Today’s Britain is thriving as well: the unemployment rate is the lowest since more than 40 years. Brexit scaremongering just doesn’t work.

Peta of Newark
March 28, 2018 6:08 am

Not far from Yorkshire as it happens…..

Significantly the caves provided shelter for nomadic human groups through a crucial period of human evolution between 55,000 and 10,000 years ago. Stone, bone and ivory tools from the caves reveal Middle and Upper Palaeolithic occupation, in addition to portable and recently discovered 13000 year old engraved rock art figures of deer, birds, bison, and horse. This evidence connects the Ice Age human cultures at Creswell Crags

Notice how they didn’t draw pictures of cabbages. or tomatoes. or corn. or olive oil.
Or in fact any of that plant derived mush that is now supposed to be soooooo healthy.
Wonder if they fed their babies on formula baby milk?
Not far from where I am right now nor even very far from a public house named: ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ – actually in Nottinghamshire but with a Yorkshire Post-Code.
Now it makes sense. Said pub being so close to Yorkshire.
They couldn’t abide their neighbours and moved out. Tight fisted Yorkies would never budge.
Must’ve been awful to have to go as far as they did, all the way cross T’Atlantic.
And you thought Climate Change was bad!!!!!

March 28, 2018 6:51 am

We used to be able to pick up and move pretty easily. Now, with cities and large trade infrastructure, it’s a lot harder. The ancient world is full of cities abandoned due to climate change. Today we need to find other ways–we’re not abandoning New York, London, Moscow without general societal collapse.

March 28, 2018 10:31 am

Modern man finds having to turn the thermostat up or down a bit of a chore.

J Mac
March 28, 2018 4:15 pm

Our hunter/gatherer ancestors survived and succeeded through severe changes in weather and climate like the Younger Dryas, thanks to beautiful, warm, water repellent clothing they crafted from animal fur and leather.

Reply to  J Mac
March 28, 2018 4:20 pm

That and the mastery of fire.
The needle was one of the most important inventions, permitting tailored clothing. Right up there with the harpoon and fishhook.

March 29, 2018 12:30 pm

Courtesy of Wade Allisons “Radiation and Reason” publications.comment image?dl=0

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