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How World War Zero wrecked three Bronze Age civilisations

How World War Zero wrecked three Bronze Age civilisations

New Scientist

Image: Following Hadrian

In June, Eberhard Zangger had an experience most archaeologists only dream of: his very own Tutankhamun moment. Just as Howard Carter had done in 1922 when he entered the boy king’s intact tomb, Zangger was exploring a chamber with the potential to revolutionise archaeology.

But Zangger wasn’t in Egypt. He was in north London, in the home of the late, great archaeologist James Mellaart. The treasures he uncovered were reams of documents relating to one of the most important events in prehistory: the near-simultaneous collapse of three great Bronze Age civilisations. One text in particular, Zangger says, points to a crucial missing piece of the puzzle, the existence of a previously unknown civilisation that Zangger believes played a pivotal role in the downfall of the others.

This month, Zangger will publish an analysis of that document. It is a 3200-year-old text telling the story of a warlike king and his conquests around the eastern Mediterranean. Zangger has staked his reputation on the claim that this solves one of archaeology’s biggest mysteries. His critics have a different story to tell. They say that Zangger may be the victim of an elaborate hoax. Read more on newscientist.com…