Environment modification triggered the death of Central Asia’s river civilizations, not Genghis Khan


IMAGE: Scientists examine a deserted middle ages canal, Otrar sanctuary, Kazakhstan.
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Credit: University of Lincoln

A brand-new research study challenges the long-held view that the damage of Central Asia’s middle ages river civilizations was a direct outcome of the Mongol intrusion in the early 13th century CE.

The Aral Sea basin in Central Asia and the significant rivers streaming through the area were as soon as house to innovative river civilizations which utilized floodwater watering to farm.

The area’s decrease is frequently credited to the destructive Mongol intrusion of the early 13th century, however brand-new research study of long-lasting river characteristics and ancient watering networks reveals the altering environment and clothes dryer conditions might have been the genuine cause.

Research study led by the University of Lincoln, UK, rebuilded the results of environment modification on floodwater farming in the area and discovered that reducing river circulation was similarly, if not more, crucial for the desertion of these formerly prospering city states.

Mark Macklin, author and Differentiated Teacher of River Systems and Global Modification, and Director of the Lincoln Centre for Water and Planetary Health at the University of Lincoln stated: “Our research study reveals that it was environment modification, not Genghis Khan, that was the supreme cause for the death of Central Asia’s forgotten river civilizations.

” We discovered that Central Asia recuperated rapidly following Arab intrusions in the 7th and 8th centuries CE since of beneficial damp conditions. However extended dry spell throughout and following the later Mongol damage minimized the strength of regional population and avoided the re-establishment of massive irrigation-based farming.”

The research study concentrated on the historical sites and watering canals of the Otrar sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage website that was as soon as a Silk Roadway trade center situated at the conference point of the Syr Darya and Arys rivers in present southern Kazakhstan.

The scientists examined the area to figure out when the watering canals were deserted and studied the previous characteristics of the Arys river, whose waters fed the canals. The desertion of watering systems matches a stage of riverbed disintegration in between the 10th and 14th century CE, that accompanied a dry duration with low river streams, instead of referring the Mongol intrusion.


The research study was led by the University of Lincoln in partnership with VU University Amsterdam, University College London, the University of Oxford and JSC Institute of Location and Water Security, Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan. It is released in Procedures of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America and highlights the important function that rivers can have in forming world history. .

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