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Extra resources for JWSR Volume X, Number 3 (2004)
Therefore, similar climate problems in Mesopotamia and Egypt at roughly the same time, especially in conjunction with similar problems outside southwest Asia, suggest world-level climate change was at work. Serial Mesopotamian Fragmentation cycles of political consolidation and fragmentation (Marcus 1998) for ignoring the “central role of climate and environment” in bringing about the breakdown of Mesopotamian states toward the end of the fourth, third, and second millennia. ²⁹ Bell, Weiss, Butzer, and Matthews are most suggestive and encouraging but all stop short of fully developing systematic linkages to the political-economic consequences of environmental deterioration.
Three assumptions appear to be most critical to the argument: . Serial Mesopotamian Fragmentation A state of equilibrium in the problem solving-resource investment/expenditure equation is most unlikely since an escalating demand for more resources is probable just to deal with old problems. Add the strong likelihood of new problems emerging and one can expect the necessary resources to deal with them to become more costly and less easily obtainable. There are also limits on society’s ability to accumulate resource reserves for rainy days or, in the Mesopotamian case, days without rain.
I code years of warm/dry as 1 and other years as 0 to create one index of rising temperatures. But one could argue that such a coding fails to differentiate between extended periods of warmth and drying as opposed to the initial onset or more brief onsets of increased temperatures. To check this possibility, a second index of warming/drying is created in which each subsequent interval in a sequence of warming/drying is given a higher score. For instance, the first interval is coded as 1, the next adjacent interval as 2 and so on, with the idea being that sustained warming/drying should have a greater behavioral impact than relatively brief onsets.