A new look at the first great civilisations

The early civilisations have conventionally been regarded as products of human ingenuity. Of course, favourable geographical conditions also made a difference. But they just might be fortuitous by-products of climate change, according to a recent University of East Anglia study. The findings were presented on September 7, 2006, during the British Association's annual Festival of Science in Norwich. The study holds that climate change diminished natural resources and forced people who had hitherto led a nomadic life to settle in areas with abundant water and productive land.

The University of East Anglia researchers link climate change to changes in rainfall pattern. They contend that climate change, driven by natural fluctuations in the Earth's orbit, caused a weakening of monsoon systems. This made many parts of the world arid. Consequently, natural resources became scarce and people were forced to move to wetter areas.Diverse groups came together to form the first large urban, state-level societies, the researchers say.
Civilisation "Civilisation did not arise as result of a benign environment which allowed humanity to indulge a preference for living in complex, urban,