Climate Change in Archaeology


Archaeology reveals a history of climate change far beyond the reaches of modern meteorology. Archaeologists continually discover ancient treasures that bear with them the evidence of Climate Change over previous centuries and millennia. It is not uncommon for previously unknown or inaccessible archaeological sites to become visible due to receding waters or melting snowpack.

The clear implication is this–if the ruins of an ancient structure or civilization are beginning to be exposed due to climate change, then climate change had to have happened between their construction and rediscovery for them to be lost in the first place!

One example of this is Shakespeare’s original playhouse, The Rose. The location of The Rose was lost for centuries until its foundations were rediscovered in a flooded mud-bed in the basement of a modern office building. It wasn’t always underwater, and back in 1587 when it was built, the ground was solid and dry and suitable for building. If you want to visit, it is located on a tight alley between the old Globe theater location and the new tourist attraction of the same name.


Other archaeological sites that are newly accessible due to climate change are:

  1. A 4th century church emerging from a lake in Bulgaria: here
  2. The Egyptian city of Thonis-Heracleion that was lost to rising seas about 1000 years ago: here
  3. The European region known as Doggerland that was swallowed by the ocean 8,000 years ago
  4. Ancient Inuit communities that were previously buried in perpetual snow but are now available to archaeologists: here
  5. World War I soldiers that were recently discovered in the Alps due to retreating snow: here

Here is further archaeological evidence that demonstrates the climate changes of earlier centuries.

  1. Pottery unearthed in Judea indicates that the earth’s magnetic field is not diminishing, but rather fluctuates over time. here
  2. The Vikings settled Greenland during a warm period when the island appeared, well, green. Over time it grew colder and the Vikings eventually moved on. here
  3. A massive underwater cave complex in Mexico has revealed bones of ancient sloths, bears, elephant-like mammals, and humans, confirming that water levels have fluctuated dramatically over the centuries. here