Revelations On Ancient Civilization Collapse Should Terrify You

Skeletal hand in dry earth / GETTY

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

A study published Wednesday details a horrifying feature within the collapse of ancient civilizations, shedding light on how easy it is for human populations to rapidly decline.

Civilizations across Northern Europe went through a period of massive decline between 5,300 and 4,900 B.C., according to a study published in the journal Nature. While the core reason for this collapse is debated, the latest research sheds light on a horrific series of plagues from the Yersinia pestis bacteria that decimated at least six generations of farmers across Scandinavia.

Using population-scale genomics from 108 Scandinavian Neolithic individuals across eight megalithic gravesites and a stone cist, researchers found a specific plague in at least 17% of the sampled population. The samples were taken from sites spaced out across vast distances, suggesting this plague spread rampantly across the continent. This happened three times over the course of roughly 120 years.

The researchers noted that the 17% figure rate doesn’t necessarily represent the true prevalence of the pandemic. “The plague detection rate might not be representative of the population as a whole because it is a measure of disease frequency within the sampled population, which is restricted to well-preserved individuals buried in tombs,” they explained. “Furthermore, only a fraction of plague-positive cases is expected to carry detectable levels of DNA from [the plague bacteria].”

Another potential factor in this specific example of Neolithic decline is an agricultural crisis, something we should all be concerned about today. (RELATED: Horrifying Study Suggests Fungal Disease Outbreaks Will Become More Common In Humans)

In Neolithic Scandinavia, sociologies were changing rapidly. Our ancestors had just gone through a period of enormous population growth, according to a study from Cambridge University Press. Humanity’s first “alleged” agricultural revolution was afoot. Nomadic societies were staying put, farming their land, working on a repetitive system for survival. Any disruption to that system could lead to rapid decline. (RELATED: Tucker’s Right, Western Civilization Is About To Collapse. Did You Even Notice?)

And that is exactly what seems to have happened. We know that agricultural productivity declined significantly, right around the same time this plague started to spread. It seems to me like this is a chicken and the egg situation: did the plague cause the decline in food availability, or the other way around? Maybe it was just a really awful coincidence. Either way, it is one we can avoid repeating today.

Many farmers are already warning Americans that food shortages are coming. We have no real means of tracking our food security here in the West. If the shelves are suddenly empty, do you know how to get food and water without resorting to horrible means?

And do I really need to bring up how catastrophic pandemics are to the normal flow of society? (RELATED: Mutant COVID-19 Strain With 100% Kill Rate Developed In China)

With the myriad threats facing all human populations, it’s hard to know where to start. Perhaps the easiest place would be with our food supply systems. Buying local and getting to know your farmers is great. But nothing is better than being prepared with water, food, seeds, medicines and other rations.

Upgrading our infrastructure, particularly the power grid, would also help. There are a lot of common sense solutions to these repeated problems throughout history. It would be great if our oligarchs started paying attention.