The sediments of heavy metal correlated with the times of the rise and fall of ancient European civilizations.
An international group of scientists found in samples of Greenland ice traces of lead emissions that occurred between 1100 BC and 800 BC. It turned out that the sediments of heavy metal correlated with the times of the rise and fall of ancient European civilizations. About it reported in a press release on Phys.org.
The lead got into the atmosphere because of the developments of the European lead-silver ores in Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, and then transported by winds over the Atlantic ocean to Greenland. Here, the metal particles settled together with the dust and drops of water getting into the glaciers. The researchers studied the levels of lead in the extracted cores, having more than 21 thousand measurements, covering the 1900-year period.
Scientists believe that a significant portion of lead was released into the environment due to the extraction of silver, which was used to manufacture coins. This allows you to establish a link between lead levels in the ice and the state of the economy at the time. Thus, the emissions of heavy metals were increased in 900 BC when the Phoenicians expanded trade routes in the Western Mediterranean. The maximum contamination was in the times of prosperity of the Roman Empire (I-II century ad).
The reduction in lead concentration was synchronous with the plague, and also in times of wars and political crises. In addition, in the last 80 years of existence of Ancient Rome the heavy metal emissions decreased by almost four times.
The ancient Romans made lead pipe for plumbing that was the cause of chronic poisoning by heavy metals. In this affects the digestive and Central nervous system. Among the symptoms — memory loss, depression, nausea, abdominal pain, headaches, speech disorders, and anemia. Particularly damaging effects of lead on children’s health, contributing to dementia, loss of attention, increased aggressiveness.