NEW OXYGEN ISOTOPE RECORD OF LATE GLACIAL AND HOLOCENE HYDROCLIMATE CHANGE IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN FROM NAR LAKE IN TURKEY
We demonstrate there was a dry period at the time of the Younger Dryas, and then a rapid shift into a generally wetter early Holocene. It was during the latter time that the nearby early farming sites of Asikli Höyük and Çatalhöyük developed. In the early Holocene there are two drier periods that appear to peak at ~9.3ka and ~8.2ka, coincident with the cooling ‘events’ seen in North Atlantic records. After this, and as seen in other records from the Eastern Mediterranean, there is a millennial-scale drying trend through the Mid Holocene Transition. The relatively dry late Holocene is punctuated by centennial-scale drought intervals, at the times of 4.2ka ‘event’ and Late Bronze Age societal ‘collapse’.
Overall, we show that central Turkey is drier when the North Atlantic is cooler, throughout this record and at multiple timescales, thought to be due to a weakening of the westerly storm track resulting from reduced cyclogenesis in the North Atlantic. This new, high-resolution record provides a unique opportunity to investigate environmental change and human responses in the late glacial and Holocene in the Eastern Mediterranean, from the times of the first farmers to the civilization ‘collapses’ in the Bronze Age.