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By Alfred de Grazia

Part One: Historical Disturbances



(* A paper presented at the IX Congress of the International Union of Prehistorical and Protohistorical Sciences, Nice, 1976.) Catastrophes are defined as large-scale intensive natural disasters. All the world's religions are founded upon original catastrophes. Indeed, so obsessive is the connection between catastrophes and gods, that human cultures, even the most scientifically advanced ones, refused to turn over the study of catastrophes to science. As a result, science and scientific history made their way after 1840 in defiance of the very idea of catastrophes, that is, of a quantavolutionary as contrasted with an evolutionary primevalogy. Quantavolution promises, as I would like to illustrate here, an ability to penetrate some pre-historic and historic problems that have caused confusion in uniformitarian, gradualist, evolutionary theory.

We are dealing here with a large area of the Earth, and with 2500 years of time. We should guard against defining catastrophe by some measure that turns out to be a mere uniformitarian statistic. The incidence of catastrophe between 3500 B. C. and 1000 B. C. must be much greater than the incidence of the past 2500 years, an equal length of time, to support my thesis. That is, we should add up all the Vesuvius and Krakatoa eruptions, the Caribbean hurricanes and Kansas cyclones, the Siberian meteoroid falls, Swiss avalanches, sinkings and risings of town harbors, Yangtse and Mississippi River floods, frozen Baltic winters, prolonged Saharan droughts, etc. Then convert the intensity and rate of these events into 2500 year averages. Then, further, if these recent indicators appear to compare 1 to 1, or even 1 to 2, with the Bronze Age indicators of the expression of high natural energy, perhaps the thesis should be abandoned... And many scholars would be pleased to confirm that the human record has been uniform, gradual, and linear, instead of catastrophic and cyclical. Furthermore, they would feel that the technological progression "from stone to bronze to iron ages" had some essential meaning, or that a sociological progression "from hominid, to hunter-gatherer, to pastoral, to agricultural, to industrial" also has meaning. They would further be reassured that the great gods that succeeded each other on the altars of ancient cultures were only the typical occasional results of the human pastime of inventing new gods whenever normal life routines were disturbed by the tides of fortune or war.

But suppose the incidence of catastrophe is 1 to 3, or 1 to 5, or 1 to 100, comparing the modern age with the Bronze Ages! Then the catastrophic or quantavolutionary thesis will be nailed upon the door leading to ancient history. If it becomes reasonably apparent that the Bronze Ages exhibited high energy expressions and effects in multiples of 2, 3, 5 or a hundred times the expressions and effects of high energy in recent years, then all fields of ancient history and ecology must undergo change. Many cultures would have been caused to disappear in natural disasters. Human nature may have acquired the character of desperation. Personal behavior and institutional practices may have become suffused with the effects and expectations of intense traumas. In short, the world of natural and social history becomes a different world and had better be studied differently.

Let us look briefly, then, into the middle of the second millennium B. C., that is, some 3500 years ago. (Because there is some confusion of chronology and much controversy about it, I shall mention dates between 1700 and 1400 B. C. and venture an opinion later respecting their simultaneity and succession.) Did the events so dated happen at the same time or not?

I shall commence by paying homage to Claude Schaeffer. For it was he who, despite onerous preoccupations during the French War of Liberation, assembled and analyzed the mass of data which was finally published in 1948 under the title of Stratigraphie Comparée et Chronologie de L'Asie Occidentale, IIIe-IIe millénaires. In this great work, he compared some 40 important archaeological sites in the Near and Middle East for evidences of sudden destruction. And he found, without fail, that there had appeared several levels over a period of thousand years when destruction seemed simultaneously to descend upon Bronze Age cultures.

His general conclusions were several:

1. Certain outstanding events... struck simultaneously a definite number or even the totality of urban centers of Western Asia... Not only is this conclusion persuasive as originally inscribed, but many locations can now be added to the doomsday list.

2. The catastrophes struck six times: roughly, about 2350, 2100, 1700, 1450, 1365, and 1235 B. C.

3. "The various countries of Western Asia affected by the perturbations reacted according to their own resources. Now these varied considerably, sometimes from one region to another, as a function of the climatic and geographic situation. Thus the chronology of the layers deposited during the periods of real stability between the great crises may present a deviation from one site to another. That is, nevertheless, never considerable and hardly ever exceeds fifty years." Even this discrepancy may be due to errors in dating the material uncovered.

4. The perturbations of cultures were caused by natural catastrophes, often giant earthquakes and fires, rather than by the hand of man. Cultural ruptures only rarely were caused by human elites, but "by atmospheric cataclysms or other calamities, such as earthquakes ... We perceive as yet only imperfectly the initial and actual causes of certain of these great crises. We put ourselves here expressly en garde against a generalization of the seismological explanation."

5. Long-enduring hiatuses or lapses followed the destruction, as after 1700 B. C.: "In all the sites examined up to now in Western Asia, a hiatus or period of extreme poverty causes a rupture of the stratigraphic or chronological sequence of the layers around 1700 B. C., and revival began only around 1550 B. C., 150 years later."

John J. Bimson, reviewing "the Conquest of Canaan" in the time of Joshua, finds in the records of excavation half a dozen destroyed settlements beyond those reported by Schaeffer in Palestine alone - Arad, Hormah, Gideon, Hebron, Hazor, et al. All went down in violent conflagrations. It is noteworthy that Bimson, on the say-so of Epstein, excludes Megiddo, holding that there was no break between Middle Bronze and Late Bronze ages. In this case, Schaeffer is in contradiction: "The stratigraphic picture of Megiddo shows an interruption of occupation between 1650 and 1550 B. C. The excavators report a variety of remains from the Recent Bronze Age, subsequent to 1550, and of remains from the Middle Bronze Age, antecedent to 1650, in the zone of contact of the two layers." There do not seem exceptions to this world-wide disaster which so many scholars have perceived in their own digging but are blind to overall.

6. Cultures were transformed in the times that followed the disasters. Many movements of peoples occurred. Economies changed. Some sites were abandoned entirely.

Also working during World war II, carrying on in New York as a journalist and psychoanalyst far from his home in Palestine, was Immanuel Velikovsky. In 1950, after rejection by eight publishers, his Worlds in Collision appeared, followed shortly thereafter by Ages in Chaos (1952).

Like Schaeffer, Velikovsky reported the universal destruction of settlements in the Exodus period, which he assigned to around 1450 B. C. So all that Schaeffer says happened about 1700, Velikovsky says happened about 1450. We resolve the dating discrepancy in favor of Velikovsky. The two scholars are discussing the same set of events that brought the Middle Bronze Age to an abrupt and terrible end. Both inculpate natural catastrophe as the general cause, and relegate the usual causes of change in recent times (leadership, weather, inventions, wars) to a minor causal role.

Unlike Schaeffer, Velikovsky introduced a first cause, a comet that he identified as the erratic proto-planet Venus, which has a hundred names around the world. This comet, said he, first closely encountered the Earth in the mid-second millennium. Granted this single ultimate cause, Velikovsky could support strongly the theory of the simultaneity of the catastrophes, which Schaeffer espoused.

Velikovsky further asserted that the set of disasters repeated itself, in reduced degree, at intervals of about 52 years, as the comet dropped its tail and assumed a more circular orbit. When it did approach, extreme religious celebrations were inaugurated in places as far apart as Palestine and Central America, celebrations that continued until recent times and were invariably connected with planet Venus. The disasters on Earth diminished, then, until the 8th century B. C., when a new deviant celestial force began to play upon the Earth and a new and heavy set of disasters began. Also unlike Schaeffer, Velikovsky wove voluminous legendary, mythical and geological material into the fabric of proof offered by archaeology.

Spiridon Marinatos and the island of Thera (Aegean Sea) is another part of the mid-second millennium story. As early as 1939 Marinatos began to publish theories of the destruction wrought by the explosion of the volcano of Thira upon Minoan civilization. Minoan culture, centered in Crete, promptly and abruptly declined. Not only Thera itself but many places of the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean were badly hurt by the extensive fall-out, hurricanes, and tsunamis from the explosion of Thera sometime after 1750 B. C. Isaacson, however, whom I follow, ascribes the Thera disaster to the Tenth Century, B. C., perhaps in the years of King David.

A part of the debate over the dating of this event has been occasioned by the expectation of some scholars that this one explosion could carry the full responsibility for all the human and ecological changes occurring over a large area in the mid-second millennium. My opinion is that, both at the same time as the Thera disaster and before and after it, a multitude of other natural forces were unleashed, adequate to explain the total hiatus found over a great region and for a long time. Velikovsky was not the first to point to a comet as the instrument of destruction. I would only pause to mention others here -- William Whiston (Isaac Newton's disciple) in the 17th century; the brilliant young Nicolas-Antoine Boulanger in the 18th century; the American politician, utopian, and scholar, Ignatius Donnelly in the 19th century. Although they may not have been preoccupied with the Bronze Ages as such, there is no doubt of the proximity to the Bronze Ages of the events which they describe.

More modern (in the 1920's) is the case of F. X. Kugler. Kugler was a Babylonian scholar and astronomer of the top rank. His last book, on the Sybilline star battles and the Phaeton myth, is a tour de force. In it, as Malcolm Lowery has shown, are the conflicting moods of one who dogmatically accepts primordial catastrophes of creation and the Noachian flood, but who is stubbornly uniformitarian otherwise. Kugler, studying the hysterical lines in the poetry of the Sybilline oracle concerning the battles among the stars (which describes a shifting struggle among the animals of the Zodiac), concludes that this must be considered a metaphor.

However, he crosses the bridge to scientific catastrophism in his analysis of the myth of Phaeton. This, he argued, embodies a factual event of the mid-second millennium when "one and the same stream of meteors passed over Africa (in particular, Ethiopia) and the Aegean, producing respectively great fires and violent flood waves." Kugler, it seems, strives to limit the Phaetonic catastrophe as severely as he can, while allowing the grave reality.

A number of Soviet, American, and Bulgarian students are delving into the area of the Black Sea, with the mid-second millennium as one possible breaking point. Oceanographers of Woods Hole, for example, date to something over 3000 years ago a heavy precipitation of organic material in the cores that they have drawn from the bottom of the Black Sea. In my opinion, this is a layer of sudden death.

Regarding the region to the South, Robert Adams (who holds a triple interdisciplinary position at the University of Chicago) is urging a shift of archaeological and anthropological perspective from the individual site to a pattern of sites. No longer is the paradigm to be the single urban center, he says, but rather zones of cultural interaction that "will require work in many countries and over many decades." He finds, for example, "a major westward shift in the Euphrates system of channels as a whole during Kassite times." That is, perhaps in the mid-second millennium, there occurred a "dark age," "a population nadir." He finds hundreds of unknown sites to plot. Regions of culture disappear, reappear, switch places.

In their Central Asian work, apart from the Black Sea simultaneities already mentioned, Soviet researchers have noted widespread destruction. In a popular but authoritative book, the linguist Alexander Kondratov writes, "In the middle of the second millennium B. C. the ancient cities in Southern Turkomenia declined and were abandoned by the inhabitants. The South Turkomenian civilization perished at about the same time as the proto-Indian, and the reasons are still unknown."

The case of the proto-Indians of Mohenjaro, Harrappa, and a vast area besides is well-known, if not well understood. There is one theory that they lived so well off the fat of the land that their economy declined and they were extinguished. (This strange theory reminds me of the long-accepted idea that the magnificently equipped Magdalenian hunters of France, after flourishing beneath mountains of ice, gave up everything when the ice melted, because their reindeer prey left the area.)

Yet another theory about proto-India is quasi-catastrophic, Robert Raikes holding that natural dams formed and then broke, swamping the Indus cultural centers. The formation and collapse of natural dams can truly create great destruction; in the State of Washington Scablands case, the scenario has also been well worked out by geologists. However the timing of this special proto-Indian dynamic of catastrophe is significant. Why not later? Why not today? Why were these floods coincidental with a world that was in the throes of general destruction?

Further, the proto-Indian related cultures were widely diffused and most of them would not have been affected by the special flood dynamic referred to. It is most unlikely that such a great civilization of vast extent, with its city-planning, excellent cuisine, fine arts, and decimal numeration would succumb to swamping by mud, or for that matter to desperate invaders, themselves probably survivors of some northern sectors of the universal disasters. Further, Raikes has mentioned recent disasters of meandering rivers (but no culture has been destroyed). I suppose then that the conviction that catastrophe struck the proto-Indian cultures before the Aryan incursions occurred is correct.

Perhaps this was a time of great flood in Northcentral Africa or both flood and sudden desiccation. Who tipped or cut into the basin of the historically known Lake of Triton, said by Aristotle to be separated by a narrow belt from the Sea? The Lake may have been so large as to permit the luxuriant development of the Saharan region and its culture. Great rivers, including the Niger, flowed into it then. If Triton did burst into the Mediterranean, a Tyrrhenian flood catastrophe that destroyed western civilization may become a viable hypothesis.

The playful girlhood of goddess Pallas Athena (the Greek planet Venus) on the shores of Triton is suspicious. It was said that she accidentally killed her playmate Pallas and took the name herself in remorse. This same Pallas, however, is in another story a monster whom the notorious virgin goddess dispatched when he attempted to rape her. Even more, this Pallas is elsewhere identified with Typhon, the dragon and would-be destroyer of the world whom Zeus finally struck down in the middle of the second millennium. Pallas Athena was present in this episode, too, in the form of the protoplanet Venus, now tailless or without a phallus, by the loss of Typhon.

In Italy and Sicily at this time, abrupt cultural transitions are commonly reported, although none has conducted a survey of destruction levels. At Lipari, for instance, a totally new culture (the Ausonian) entered upon the scene. At Prato, in Tuscany, the Villanovan ruins, themselves separated from the Etrusco-Campanian period by "a colossal fire," to use Nicola Rilli's words, are based upon yet another enormous bed of ashes. I suspect that this bed may be tied to the mid-second millennium, but the question requires much more study.

Surveys are needed for the Western Mediterranean area and Northern and Central Europe generally. An abundance of legends of catastrophes is offered, and the shadow of catastrophe hangs heavily over prehistory. Vast forests may have swept into or been drowned by a Baltic Sea formed at this time. Offering themselves for mid-second millennium construction and abandonment are hundreds of megalithic monuments throughout the vast area. The astronomical interest of these peoples is now proven. But, even if one is not a psychologist, one cannot think it is normal for people to cut and lug 100-ton stones to do a job that a few sticks of wood would accomplish -- watching the Sun and Moon. I think that around this time, in despair and disgust, the survivor custodians of Stonehenge may have given up their job.

Suggesting a need for oceanographic archaeology are the legendary sinkings of lands mentioned in Eastern contemporaneous records, and in later classical and medieval sources. Where located and explored, as with Pharos at the head of the Nile, "the greatest seaport of the Bronze Age," according to R. Graves, the question of the date of the submarine tectonism that sank the city remains. Off Cornwall, England, even a log has been recovered from the depths.

Rilli, to take another example, believes that the Etruscans were related, if not descended from, the culture of a sunken central region of the Tyrrhenian Sea. In 1971, B. C., Heezen and others reported in Nature magazine upon the evidence of continental crust that lies foundered beneath the Tyrrhenian Sea. Of course, the dates are impossibly divergent.

Across the Atlantic, we need not believe that the mid-second millennium was peaceful. The Olmecs, as William Mullen of Princeton University reported, relying on Michael Coe, appear to have been deep in trouble, floundering in ashes, tar, and destruction. Apart from the still flimsy archaeological evidence, there exists a mythology, well introduced in the analyses of Velikovsky and Mullen, that appears to treat of this disaster. In the southern part of the Valley of Teotihuacan, 28 occupation levels of an abri stretch from 1500 AD back to 10,000 B. C. The only great interruption, according to Richard McNeish, happened between about 2300 B. C. and 900 B. C. This is a wide gap, but obviously no one there seemed to be in a culturally creative mood in the mid-second-millennium.

Both Schaeffer and Velikovsky attempted an appraisal of the Chinese condition. Both allude to mid-second millennium floods and earth movements which marked the practical destruction of one Chinese civilization and the beginnings of a new system of society. In my opinion those sinologists who take the evolutionary position that this break marked the transition from a legendary society to a historical society are wrong. The break separates two highly distinctive societies and ages; the Chinese "Bronze Age" bursts out with the Shang dynasty after 1500 B. C.

Apparently, the atmosphere was not a silent witness to the global events of this period. There appear to have occurred remarkable deviant ingestions of Carbon-14 by organisms of this time, as disclosed in statistical studies by P. E. Damon, A. Long and E. I. Wallick, and analyzed by G. W. van Oosterhout. If you had died in this period, the likelihood that your anniversary would be correctly celebrated by Carbon-14 today, supposing your bones were nicely preserved, is very low. The likelihood is high that any two readings of Carbon-14 for organic death happening around then will very greatly. This indicates, at the least, fluctuations of atmospheric nitrogen, or cosmic or solar particles, or carbon dioxide (or all of them) beyond uniformitarian norms.

All such fluctuations, one may be warned, are themselves possible reflections or opposite deviations. That is, we cannot say that the several forces causing atmospheric deviations or aberrations were tending in the direction solely of the increased deviation. A cloud of CO will act to age a living thing for future tests and a cloud of cosmic particles will act to young it for future tests. The same organism in its lifetime can become not only much "younger" but also much "older," depending upon the inconstancies of its Carbon-14 intake; it can thus falsely line up uniformly with the Carbon-14 "constant" owing to contradictory inconstancies.

We may conclude, I think, that the mid-second-millennium was a period of serious atmospheric perturbations. The chemical measuring device seems to agree with the mass of legends about the catastrophic events of the mid-second millennium and may even underestimate their atmospheric effects.

Perhaps now I have inventoried enough evidence of devastation throughout the traditional region of the Bronze Ages and indeed over most of the world. The Middle Bronze finale composed a period of catastrophes certainly over twenty times as heavy as the past 300-year record shows, perhaps hundred times greater, perhaps much more. Even in the works cited, not to mention a hundred lesser compendia, more evidence might be adduced. I am inclined to convert the hypothesis into a challenge. No stratigraphic column, whether geologic or archaeological, can fail to show evidence of natural destruction dating from the middle of the second millennium.


I shall rest the case for the mid-second-millennium catastrophes and move on to address additional issues.

First, I would stress one implications of the works cited. Earthquakes were only a part of the devastations wrought by natural forces. Schaeffer sensed this. The Middle Bronze Age civilizations and their counterparts throughout the world were too highly developed, organizationally and technologically, to have been overthrown by earthquakes alone, even if one could identify tectonic forces of the deep Earth that would strike to the tops of the Richter and Mercalli scales. The long hiatuses of cultures and the depopulation reported upon all sides suggest intense heat (causing death, plagues or vermin and disease), hurricane winds and tsunamis that can exterminate the biosphere, and an atmosphere often poisoned by volcanic and extraterrestrial particles and gases.

Second, if the identified destruction is plausible, probably an equal or greater amount of unidentified destruction occurred. Hurricanes of 250 miles an hour strip a land and all man-made works down to bedrock. Great tsunamis, such as are caused by huge earthquakes and meteoritic passthroughs of the atmosphere, do the same. Lava flows can cause the sudden deep burial of the surface. So can heavy tephra showers, not to mention the heavy burning rains of naphta that are carried in various legends. If land can rise by kilometers, as is known, so can it sink, carrying forever from view what its surface contains.

Third, the clustering of disaster between the claimed dates of 1750 and 1450 points to a centralization of the cluster in time. This we shall know when the various claimed dates are brought into closer order. One thing is sure: the dates can only move towards simultaneity not away from it.

Such general simultaneous havoc strengthens the argument for celestial encounters as the first cause. Therefore, when one such as Velikovsky steps forward with the most persuasive kinds of legendary testimony, this testimony must be cast in the balance. If catastrophe on a grand scale occurs, and if all the voices of the age name the sky as its source, and if much of their behavior is organized around attempts to obey, placate, and predict the sky-beings, it becomes reasonable to incorporate astral events in attempting to explain the events of the age. In a flashing epigram, Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote: "to the sage as astronomer: as long as you still experience the stars as something 'above you, ' you lack the eye of knowledge."

When archaeologists strike a destruction level hovering around the middle of the second millennium, they are probably looking at a global event, a cultural fracture, a movement of peoples, religious revival and suppression, revolutionary regimes, despair, spectra terribilem (on earth and the sky), pandemonium, economic wretchedness, heavy atmospheric pollution, death on all sides.

To sum up, by my reckoning, the Bronze Age of the mid-second millennium experienced natural catastrophes on a scale inconceivable today. Hundreds of cultures were destroyed and their survivors were few in numbers.

The broad scale and intensity of the disasters, when aligned with much direct testimony, send us looking into the skies and then to the chain of earth-air-fire-water events that follow.


What happened at the end of the Middle Bronze Age happened earlier and later. It is likely, for example, that the first dynasties of Egypt began on the relaxing slopes of a disastrous period, which brought new human cultures out of the West and South into the surviving neolithic milieu of the Nile Valley. The suggestions of catastrophe at the end of the Old Kingdom are likewise numerous. These extended straight through the Old Bronze Age, Neolithic and end on the Paleolithic, into the Ice Ages and therefore throughout the Holocene which may one day be defined, at about 14,000 years in length, as the Period of Catastrophes. On the more recent side, the catastrophes extend through the Recent Bronze Age and into the Iron Age of the Eighth and Seventh Centuries B. C.

Are we not therefore compelled to take up a new classification of the ages? I should say 'yes. ' The present divisions should be reordered and renamed. Putting aside the absurd local categories in the hundreds, the division by metals is poor on five counts: it is parochial; misleading; presumptuous; non-anthropological; and undynamic. Actually various ancient classifications offered by writers such as Hesiod and Ovid are at least as useful. They furthermore introduce cycles of creation and destruction with each age, and sometimes a long linear or spiral development running through the cycles (that is, progress). Nor do I see any superiority in the optimistic, linear, evolutionary schemes of Fraser, Morgan, Engels, Spencer, and the others who perceived a rational technological sequence moving from hominid to contemporary mankind.

In dividing historical time, cultural change is the most logical concept to use. Where do the points of maximum cultural change occur? It appears that these points coincide with natural catastrophes. Lesser points of change can be connected with minor or localized catastrophes. Only afterwards come the uniformitarian periods, even with their brilliant episodes of Akhnaton's Thebes, of Periclean Athens, of Augustian Rome, of Medici Florence, Elizabethan England, or the France of the Enlightenment.

Since ages must be arranged, let them be arranged by peaks of change that correlate then with peaks of catastrophism. Since ages will be given names, let them perhaps be named after the sequence of great gods, those anthropomorphized expressions of disaster. For when the human race was cast down, it was from the natural forces; and the forces of nature originated from the skies; and these forces were called gods and as such invaded the mind and history. But to the scientific community, sensitive to its public image, an Age of Mars or an Age of Venus may be embarrassing. Whereupon we may resort to Roman numerals and speak of Holocene I, Holocene II, and so forth. Whatever the nomenclature, a revised conception of ancient times is in prospect.

Nevertheless I would suggest that we use the theological approach to fix our sights and ask "What gods ruled when?" If a certain god ruled during a certain time, and the same god flourished at the same time in different areas, then the same age could be distinguished in its natural and human condition by the nature of its god. From the blessed gods, all good things flow, just like Homer sang, so all the sciences would achieve inspiration and rejuvenation from a theological division of the ages.

If a revival of interest in catastrophe occurs, the sciences of pala-psychology, pala-politics, pala-theology, archaeoastronomy, geology, and history need to reexamine many of their findings an theories. The methodologies employed in ancient studies require both intermeshing and invention. An ideal archaeologist needs to know something of psychology and geo-physics, anthropology and astronomy, the history and science of human management. (I could make the ideal even more impossible, but why go on save to underline the need for interdisciplinary cooperation.) Claude Schaeffer, a generation ago already, was writing: "We have often had to deplore the absence, in the reports of excavations, of all information relative to these layers considered unprofitable by the searchers." (That is, the layers of destruction.) David and Ruth Whitehouse have recently published an Archaeological Atlas of some 500 sites around the world. There are, of course, a great many more. These sites are mostly reported with the same lack of attention to such details as Schaeffer refers to. Were these reports to be scrutinized as he examined the Middle East reports, we would be already envisioning some five hundred man-years and woman-years of reading and analysis. It would be well worth the effort. A masterpiece of catastrophic analysis could possibly emerge, for example, from a review of the rich paleolithic-neolithic materials of the caves and sites of Aquitaine. Nevertheless, it is to be hoped that future archaeological technique will make such laborious information-retrieval unnecessary. This would surely occur if the revolutionary dimension were carefully provided for in the designs and operations of archaeology and human geology.

The question all can ask together is: "What happened so as to destroy and reconstruct past worlds?" The question is the foundation to quantavolutionary primevalogy, as opposed to evolutionary primevalogy. It seeks its evidence and benchmarks in the genesis and destruction of cultures.


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