Dartmoor, Bronze Age and Climate Change

Climate change causes the collapse of the Bronze Age.

Dartmoor in the South West of England is my next port of call: why did Dartmoor get abandoned in 1500 BCE ?

In about 1500 BCE the climate changes to the following pattern:

  • It gets warmer.
  • Glaciers retreat.
  • More rain.

Ironically the South of England should prosper, but Dartmoor did not.  The reason, is the rain, for Dartmoor is a notorious rain magnet, and there is unlikely to be water shortages there. The increase in rain made the ground too water-logged to grow crops, and nobody likes being constantly damp and wet, so they abandon ship.

The Bronze Age Collapse

In 1500 BCE the conditions are like today, but then the climate in a short space of time swings again. Between 1200 BCE and 1000 BCE the glaciers are advancing again.  The pattern is now:

  • It gets colder in the north.
  • Glaciers advance.
  • It is drier.

The people of the north start to migrate en mass southwards because of the cold, they swarm into the Mediterranean.  There is widespread warfare, and sea raiders cut off the trade routes.  Civilisations collapse across the Middle East and the Mediterranean, and the Dark Ages begin in the former cradles of civilisation.   The trade routes to obtain tin to make bronze is disrupted, and so people turn to iron as a substitute.  Bronze weapons are better than iron weapons, so it was not a welcome option to turn to iron, but this sparked the Iron Age.


8 responses to “Dartmoor, Bronze Age and Climate Change

  1. I have been curious to one day discover or read that someone has found the true identity of the ‘Sea People’ of the Dark Ages. I would like to hear more on your thoughts about them. It could answer some of my questions. Very nice post.

  2. thesubterraneanworld

    Informative 🙂

  3. Renard Moreau

    [ Smiles ] Thanks for another informative post, Alex.

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