STUDY: Villagers Built A Monster Wall 7,000 Years Ago To Beat Back Rising Sea Levels — It Didn’t Work

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Chris White Tech Reporter

December 19, 2019 12:23 PM ET

An ancient village off the coast of Israel used boulders to build a wall thousands of years ago to protect its homes from rising sea levels — the move was unsuccessful, according to a study published Wednesday.

The study is notable in that the settlement, called Tel Hreiz, existed before modern industry, one of the key drivers of global warming, scientists said. Researchers behind the study said the discovery of the world’s oldest sea wall shows that humans have long dealt with climate change.

“It’s the world’s oldest sea wall,” Jonathan Benjamin, a marine archaeologist at Flinders University in Australia, told reporters. “It’s the first evidence of that very real problem that we’re dealing with today.” He and his co-authors are behind the archaeological study, published on PLOS One.

Benjamin said Tel Hreiz was dealing with the aftermath of the ice age rather than man-made climate change. “They went to great lengths to protect their home,” he added. (RELATED: 2018 Saw A Global Revolt Against Climate Change Policies)

Other researchers remarked about the labor intensive nature of moving the boulders into position.

“These people understood that they had to put huge boulders down there, not little stones. They were clearly thinking ahead, that they wanted this wall to last,” Marie Jackson, a geology professor at the University of Utah, who did not work on the study.

“This is a really dynamic sea coast. Without these walls, there would have been little protection,” Jackson added. “The size and weight of those boulders are stupendous and speaks to the intent of the builders to make something, to build a wall, that had longevity and usefulness.”

Tel Hreiz was roughly 2.5 meters above sea level at the time of the wall’s construction. The Mediterranean Sea slowly came up the north coast of Israel at about 4 millimeters per year between 9,000 and 7,000 years ago, according to the researchers. Waves slowly crushed the wall, year after year, they said.

Global average sea level has risen 7 inches since 1900, or about the thickness of two pennies every year. Still, some scientists and activists say sea level rise could be devastating if warm temperatures cause the world’s glaciers and ice sheets to melt.

Former NASA head climate scientist James Hansen, for instance, warned in 1988 that New York City’s West Side Highway would be underwater within two decades. Hansen, for his part, warned in 2017 that “the planet could become practically ungovernable” from sea level rise due to melting ice forcing millions of people to flee coastal cities.

71 thoughts on “STUDY: Villagers Built A Monster Wall 7,000 Years Ago To Beat Back Rising Sea Levels — It Didn’t Work

  1. Perhaps, I am cynic or being too cynical but this just sounds like there no real innovative thoughts going on in these “scientists” heads. They have drank the kool-aid and they are desperately trying to linkages to their false and alarmists beliefs systems and have forgotten the most important part of the story….

    Those humans, of that time period, lived through the climate change with no industrialized civilization.

      • The stones worked until the giant sharknado devastated the area.

        (Or, the stones were the anchor point for a berm that got washed away.)

        • That’s probably closest to the real answer. They likely built it to protect against storm damage. That is, weather, not climate change or rising sea levels.

          But of course, that’s kinda a boring answer these days.

          • But if the village and sea wall are “off the coast,” that implies that they are both currently underwater, just like the lost city of Atlantis or the land bridge connecting Asia to North America. Climate change is a problem, but clearly it is not a new one.

      • How do we know that the wall wasn’t constructed to keep the dogs, and other domesticated animals from pooping on the beach.

        How do we know that the “wall” wasn’t constructed as a high tide fish corral.

        And finally, how do we know that the wall wasn’t associated with the religious beliefs of these poor and deluded primitive unthinking lowbrows?

        • Or perhaps the stones were a defensive measure to block invaders arriving via boats or rafts? It seems the authors assume a rising sea level was real and a stone wall was the only answer the ancients had.

          • ” It seems the authors assume a rising sea level was real and a stone wall was the only answer the ancients had.”

            How would the ancients know there was sea level rise on the order of millimeters per year? I think the authors are substituting their understanding of the world for the ancients understanding of the world. The ancients couldn’t measure sea level rise to that accuracy so they would not really know if sea level is rising or falling. So why would they build a huge wall to protect themselves from something they were not aware of: Creeping Sea Level rise? It doesn’t make sense.

        • Why ‘low brows’. The ancients were just as smart and in some ways smarter than we are. At least they lived in the real world. By 7000 BC many areas were quite advanced technologically. I assume you could discover copper smelting, tin making, agriculture, or build the walls, the sewers, the water pipes of Jericho circa 7500 BC ? You wouldn’t have a god damn clue. Neither would these idiots who call themselves scientists. They are word salad makers, propagandists and probably could not get a job in the private market.

          • Neither would these idiots who call themselves scientists.

            Excerpted from article:

            Tel Hreiz was roughly 2.5 meters above sea level at the time of the wall’s construction. The Mediterranean Sea slowly came up the north coast of Israel at about 4 millimeters per year between 9,000 and 7,000 years ago, according to the researchers. Waves slowly crushed the wall, year after year, they said.

            Such stupidity, ……. claiming such crap just to push the fearmongering of CAGW.

            “DUH”, ….. “at about 4 millimeters per year” ……. the people living at Tel Hreiz wouldn’t live long enough to plan for prevention of their village being flooded.

        • How do we know that the “wall” wasn’t constructed as a high tide fish corral.

          EXACTLY, …….. it would not be the 1st time Neolithic people built such a structure.

    • Whoop De Doo,

      Who around here has ever heard of the Dogger Bank. Used to be Dogger island and before that Dogger Land.

      Check out this report.

      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/archaeology/11836627/British-Atlantis-archaeologists-begin-exploring-lost-world-of-Doggerland.html

      Of course land rises and falls and of course the climate changes. Not by humans producing CO2 though.
      See https://rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com/2018/05/09/ever-been-told-that-the-science-is-settled-with-global-warming-well-read-this-and-decide-for-yourself/

      Cheers
      Roger

      Roger

      • Or the Black Sea?
        When rising sea levels breached the Bosphorus, I wonder if any walls were attempted?

        The Black Sea flooded fairly quickly thereafter.

        If walls were built, they were probably later removed as hindrances to navigation!

  2. Modern industry does not drive global warming.
    Cnut proved you can’t stop natural sea level rise.
    Grand solar minimum coming.

    • So, it would be that they were trying to prevent ongoing erosion and not sea level rise. Makes sense to me. It’s called a riprap and keeps waves from directly impinging on the land.

    • That sounds way too practical and old-fashioned.

      A seawall that doesn’t work is much more in line with modern thinking!

    • Defensive against wave erosion. Also defensive against nasty people beaching their ships and stealing all of your stuff (and any decent looking women, while they were about it).

      This simply is the high priests of “modern science” propitiating the Gods of Grants by inscribing the magical words on their temple walls.

    • Large stones are often used as “breakwater”s to reduce large ocean waves to more manageable heights in places where nature has failed to provide a decent harbor.. For example, Los Angeles built a two mile breakwater with a lighthouse at the end in the early 20th century in order to protect their harbor — such as it was — from prevailing westerly swells. Pictures at https://lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=99

      There’s another couple of miles of breakwater to the East of a gap at the lighthouse. It was built during WWII to protect the Navy Base at Long Beach whose entrance is a bit down the coast from the entrance to LA Harbor. I believe some folks want that removed.

      Seawalls are like breakwaters, but they are used along or next to the shore to discourage erosion.

      You use BIG rocks in breakwaters and seawalls because you want them to still be there the morning after the biggest storm they will experience.

      It’s unclear whether the archeologists at Tel Hreiz know about such things. I’d expect them to, but maybe not. And sometimes things seem to get garbled between the folks who know things and those who write for newspapers and other publications.

    • Large stones can hold the fish back.

      Indigenous Australians —– the Murray-Darling river system of the south-east. Here, where water levels fluctuate seasonally, Aboriginal people constructed ingenious stone fish traps.

      North America —— Somewhat similar stone-wall traps to the Australian ones were constructed by Native American Pit River people in north-eastern California.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fish_trap

  3. So if 9,000 years ago with CO2 levels at 280 ppm and oceans rose at a rate of 4 mm per year, and currently with CO2 levels at 400 ppm and the sea rises at the same rate of 4 mm per year, doesn’t that put the kybosh on the idea that CO2 is the control knob of global warming?

    • Oh to a leftist what could be closer to a living hell than an ungovernable country, possibly overrun by liberty and market forces and whatnot.

      • If it weren’t for the lax or corrupt regulation of the time, the neolithic beach dwellers could have been saved from their own selfish desires to live by the sea … a reasonable 300′ setback would have made sure that their neighbors did not need to bail them out.

        The only thing that those neolithics got from liberty & freedom was that their home was washed away.

        • Yes, quite right! And it also proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that walls don’t work.

          From the map it seems more like a reasonable 20-mile setback was called for, ultimately. Good bureaucratic practice would have started out at 300 feet and then would have relentlessly increased the setback each year, so I do concur, but you totally missed the CO2 control knob, didn’t you? They just needed to reduce CO2 from 280ppm to about 160ppm. Well, make that 80ppm to be safe. That would have been a complete, sustainable solution that would also have avoided every single problem we face in today’s world, and a lot of messy history (well, pretty much all of recorded history).

          Unfortunately they lacked the technology to draw CO2 down below the point of plant starvation and mass extinction, so their homes were washed away and they became climate refugees. Such a tragedy of selfish materialism.

          • Rich

            Does moving the settlement line mean the same as moving the goalposts? Perhaps the goalpost story can be combined with this seawall story.

          • Crispin,
            Surely you don’t think that they were able to move the settlements? With the waters rushing in at 4mm/year? Without any UN to direct them? Nonsense! Impossible!

            No, I’m sure adaptation was as unrealistic an option then as it is today. Without the option of building windmills, no doubt they stood in place waiting for the water to rise above their noses. Most would have died of old age waiting.

            If only they had known the settled science of the CO2 control knob.

        • Such stone walls were for “trapping” fish, ….. not for holding the tide back.

          Indigenous Australians —– the Murray-Darling river system of the south-east. Here, where water levels fluctuate seasonally, Aboriginal people constructed ingenious stone fish traps.

          North America —— Somewhat similar stone-wall traps to the Australian ones were constructed by Native American Pit River people in north-eastern California.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fish_trap

  4. “Bayesian modelling of the ages provide improved dating of the earliest evidence for a highstand at 6,880±50 cal BP, approximately a millennium later than previously reported”

    Source:

    Redating the earliest evidence of the mid-Holocene relative sea-level highstand in Australia and implications for global sea-level rise
    Amy J. Dougherty ,Zoë A. Thomas,Christopher Fogwill,Alan Hogg,Jonathan Palmer,Eleanor Rainsley,Alan N. Williams,Sean Ulm,Kerrylee Rogers,Brian G. Jones,Chris Turney
    Published: July 17, 2019https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0218430

    There are numerous elevated marine terraces along my local foreshore. These correlate with other evidence that SL was ~ 1 m higher back then. Only problem is that mine is a tectonically active country.

  5. Remove the media hype and what do we have left?
    To find out, the original paper is here:
    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0222560

    “A submerged 7000-year-old village and seawall demonstrate earliest known coastal defence against sea-level rise”
    Remove the climate change hype from that and what do we have left?

    “a linear, boulder-built feature >100m long, located seaward of the settlement”
    “The boulder-built linear feature was first uncovered in 2012 and subsequently in 2015. It lies at a depth of 3m and is usually totally covered by sand. ”
    “large boulders […] that are up to 50 to 100 cm in width, 100 cm in height”
    “During the time of occupation the area to the west of the seawall would have been a swash zone, a beach area that is alternately covered and exposed by up-rush and backwash of waves.”

    A seawall. Seems like a lot of work. Why did they bother?

    • Thanks for the link. ‘Why did they bother?’

      If the article’s guesses are correct, and there is an obvious burial site, then this may have been a long term family/communally occupied area … graves and all.

      And, good beachfront property is hard to come by, so Tor told his kids to get of their asses, make themselves useful, and roll some big rocks over to the beach”

    • “at a depth of 3m” Interesting. I was under the impression sea level has only risen 3m since the last Ice Age. How did they date the structure to 9000 – 7000 years ago?

  6. How do they know “it didn’t work?” If it worked for a single generation then it worked. No man-made object is built to last forever. It probably allowed the people to move on over time instead of all-at-once, which means it worked.

    I guess if in 7,000 years someone finds the remains of a toppled wind turbine, then that didn’t work either? Well, in that case stop building them!

    • Robert: Well, the problem with your thinking is, the wind turbine = gov’t subsidy, and we know those last forever. So, in 7,000 yrs there’ll still be somebody expecting to be paid by the gov’t for that toppled gold mine.
      Hansen was partly right, btw. Millions flee coastal cities, but that’s due to the rise of the urban democrat party.

  7. More emphasis that so many unknown early Holocene and Pleistocene archaeological sites are now buried under sea and marine sediment.

    • Ahhh… St. AlGore. If only he had been alive 7,000 years ago. Too bad he wasn’t martyred back then. It would have made for some nice stone carvings and crude gold medallions or maybe a snazzy shell rosary.
      .
      .
      .
      Is it too late to martyr him now? I’m just trying to help save the planet, doncha ya know, and if it would help, then who could say no? I mean, even Big Al would have to approve, right?
      ;o)

  8. The wall would have served it’s purpose for a very long time at 4mm/ year with a 2,500 mm starting height.

    The builders were probably very well satisfied with the return on their effort.

    The purpose would have been to keep back storm surge from large events.

  9. When their wall failed did all those people just stand there and drown, or did they just move to higher ground? So why is it some on the Left think people today can’t just move to higher ground?

    • I’m fully prepared to hem my trousers up an inch… or step back a dozen paces or so.

      I have sea level rise well under control, and I’m certain our ancestors – even 7,000 years ago – and our progeny – even 7,000 years from now can figure it out for themselves. If not, Darwin was onto something.

      • Why do you think they are called high water pants anyway. Erkle brought them mainstream 20 years ago . Who knew he was so prescient.

    • It had to work until this moment to be considered a workable solution, because right now is the only time that matters. The values of the now moment are the apex of the evolution of ethics. The list of current species must be protected at any cost- forget about those extinct and those not yet evolved. Everything before ‘now’ is passé, outdated, of no importance.

  10. This is total bunk! How did they predict the sealevel rise? I would first guess protection from waves during storms or sea defences, unless Climate Change had short cicuited their neurons like today.

    “The study is notable in that the settlement, called Tel Hreiz, existed before modern industry, one of the key drivers of global warming,”

    OMG! This sentence stands alone as its own ridicule of the entire article. Have these science lites totally lost it? There are notches in the cliff faces of the Caribbean about 2m above present sea level, and coral high and dry another 25m higher on land from the Eemian interglacial 130,000years ago. Did they suspect heavy industry to be involved? No they are just stupid.

    • Oh be reasonable now Gar’

      They’re talking about the difference between the 4mm/yr rise 6-7k yrs ago, and the 4mm/yr rise today. That’s the part that is primarily caused by industrial “pollution”.

  11. ““It’s the world’s oldest sea wall,” Jonathan Benjamin, a marine archaeologist”

    This is the problem with scientists. They make statements that are unsupportable. It might be the oldest KNOWN seawall, but he really has no clue if it’s THE oldest.

  12. It is not politics per se that causes the widespread disregard for reason in academic circles. It is largely naked self-interest. One’s career progression and subsequent prestige and financial position are hitched to a known elite agenda or status quo.

    In that, it may be that not a lot has changed. We like to remember academic successes of generations past. Rarely do we bother recalling the manifest failures, which were legion.

    It could well be that the self-interested elites today aren’t much different to the self-interested elites of yore, only pushier, more vocal and more interconnected, thanks to the technological advancement of the modern media particularly.

    I was already familiar with this archeological discovery, thanks to the modern media. However, apart from the speed at which news of such a discovery is disseminated, is there really any great difference here to the Victorian-era English archeology that was so keen to dig up Roman, Greek or Egyptian remains in order to justify the British Empire* at its height?

    Both are two sides of the same old coin. ‘This is the way we think and this is the only right way to think’ was the message then and it remains so now.

    The only thing that’s changed greatly could be the identity of the elites who academia feels inclined to bow to, cap in hand. In that respect, normal service may have been resumed. Unfortunately, the 20th century may have been an anomaly where the shadow of warfare, depression and warfare again saw self-interest take a temporary back-seat to the common good.

    *As a son of the British diaspora, I am not suggesting Empire was entirely bad. If I did, I’d be denying justification to the main reason for my own existence! Mind you, this sort of thing does seem to be very much in vogue, today, just as mentioning climate change is, in any academic press release that one can squeeze it into.

  13. C’mon everybody- if it’s old it’s natural.
    If it’s new it’s your fault!
    CO2 the magical molecule that makes government grants materialize.

  14. “Former NASA head climate scientist James Hansen, for instance, warned in 1988 that New York City’s West Side Highway would be underwater within two decades. Hansen, for his part, warned in 2017 that “the planet could become practically ungovernable” from sea level rise due to melting ice forcing millions of people to flee coastal cities.”

    Who wrote this last paragraph? It reads to me “James Hansen is a complete crackpot, but is still making more of his idiotic predictions”. Was this deliberate? Am I missing something?

  15. “Benjamin said Tel Hreiz was dealing with the aftermath of the ice age rather than man-made climate change.”

    That is still the situation Benjamin.
    People should dread a return to ice age conditions; not falsely decry optimum conditions.

  16. So at the time the wall was built it was 2.5 metres above sea level and they could discern 4mm rise per year? Amazing scientists they had back then.

  17. Here is the so-called ‘seawall’ at Tel Hreiz, a small pile of meter-wide boulders strewn in an arc off the Carmel coast:
    https://images.jpost.com/image/upload/f_auto,fl_lossy/t_JD_ArticleMainImageFaceDetect/450565:
    from this Jerusalem Post article:
    https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Unique-7000-year-old-wall-against-sea-level-rise-uncovered-in-Israel-611329

    Some 7,000 years ago, a village on the Carmel Coast built a wall to protect itself from the rising sea level caused by melting glaciers, joint research by Israeli and Australian scholars has uncovered.

    Why does this sound like today’s agitprop about rising sea levels (CO2 melted glaciers etc)? Why does it not mention that 7000 years ago the world was still recovering from the last Ice Age? (In fact we still are). Why does nit not mention that the melted Ice Age glaciers caused the oceans to rise a hundred meters or so?

    As the Ice Age glaciers retreated from Europe and Asia, rivers which had been blocked by glaciers caused catastrophic flooding in many areas. Including a great flood in the Middle East about 7000 years ago which likely spawned the Great Flood legends in many prehistoric cultures.

    So it is likely the flooding took place rather rapidly, no time to build sea walls. And accounts for the submerged cities archeolgists are now finding.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea_deluge_hypothesis

  18. Israel has only been around since 1948. That area was either Palestinian of Egyptian for most of recorded history.

    FYI, the Jews were never in Egypt. They were in Yemen and Hijaz (Western Saudi Arabia).

  19. From the article: “The study is notable in that the settlement, called Tel Hreiz, existed before modern industry, one of the key drivers of global warming, scientists said.”

    Well, there is no evidence that modern industry is a key driver of global warming. That’s not a very good way to start off a scientific study.

    From the article: “Former NASA head climate scientist James Hansen, for instance, warned in 1988 that New York City’s West Side Highway would be underwater within two decades. Hansen, for his part, warned in 2017 that “the planet could become practically ungovernable” from sea level rise due to melting ice forcing millions of people to flee coastal cities.”

    Hansen was wrong in 1988, and in 2017 (among other years). Connecting sea level rise to human-caused CO2 is one of the biggest scams in history. Along with the global temperature scam and ocean “acidification” scam, and the “arctic will be ice free soon” scam, and the weather is caused by CO2 scam.

  20. My Aunt brought a beach cottage 50 years ago at Waihi Beach in New Zealand right on the beach.
    It was built on sand and storms from the East started to wash away the front of the section as Wahi Beach faces out on to the South Pacific Ocean .
    She engaged a contractor to cart in large boulders and dug a trench to bury them in the front to guard against the erosion .
    Of course some do gooders reported this and the authorities duly arrived and ordered the contractor off and banned him for life from the beach.
    Fortunately the large boulders were covered and have done a great job and also the dune protection society has planted and fenced off the dunes and the stabilization is well documented .
    Every few years the fences ( usually a cord ) is moved towards the sea and the vegetation and sand has built up.
    During large storms some debri is deposited on the front lawn but that has been happening for the last 50 years .
    Our sea level expert here in NZ tells me that the true SLR is 1.5 mm per year and is not increasing and nothing to get alarmed about .

  21. If the sea level was rising at such a low amount, year by year, How could they even know that in 2000 years it would flood their village? After all, they didn’t have any ‘climate change’ morons to tell them that, right? We are far more fortunate than that today. We DO have non or pseudo-scientists to keep us informed on those matters!

  22. So, the sea was rising and people tried to combat climate change. The smart choice was to relocate. It’s a bit of discomfort now but tackles the problem for good. But wait, how could the seas have been rising if there was no dastardly CO2 to make the Earth a boiling hellhole like now? Maybe because this carbon-based warming theory is nothing but dog feces in potato mash. I like mash but the dog feces will very effectively deter me from ever touching it. Climate Change is as old as Earth is. And everything that we think to observe right now has happened many, many times before without our doings. Adapt and go on – its not us.

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