Plague and climate change triggered a severe economic downturn on the fringe of the Byzantine Empire 1,500 years ago, a study of ancient grape pips has revealed.Fortunately, 2020 has not seen any major, climate-busting volcanic eruptions. Let's hope it stays that way.
Researchers from Israel examined thousands of grape pips and cereal grains, as well as ceramic sherds from waste heaps in the Negev left behind in the mid-6th Century.
They found evidence for the rise and fall of wine-making — with the latter likely linked to an outbreak of bubonic plague, as well as global cooling and local flooding.
For more on the fascinating field of archaeobotany (archaeo-botany), see here.
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