Were Malta’s Temple people killed off by volcanic dust?

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Archaeologists believe that a deadly volcanic dust cloud volcano may have killed off Malta’s temple people.

According to experts led by Professor Caroline Malone from the prehistory unit at Queen’s University of Belfast, the culture which lived on Malta over 5,000 years ago may have perished because of a dust cloud originating from one of the dormant or active volcanoes surrounding the islands.

Based on their radio carbon dating of rock sediment, pollen and human bones discovered at burial sites, they have been able to uncover evidence which shows that a major climatic event occurred at 2350BC.

They were also able to determine a number of problems leading up to their suspected demise. These are said to include poor diets, high child mortality and worsening soil quality. This is combined with possible problems faced by immigration to the islands.

This is the latest discovery in the research being carried out as part of FRAGSUS (Fragility and sustainability in restricted island environments: adaptation, cultural change and collapse in prehistory).

Prior to their discovery about suspected volcanic dust as the exhibition factor for the island’s population, they have been able to determine that there had been around 3 episodes of colonization on the islands.

FRAGSUS has been operating since 2013 and has so far been examining Malta’s first human settlements which say first appeared in the 6th millennium BC. What was initially lush forest and soil soon became barren and degraded due to the civilisation’s cultivation of the land.

It was through this that the team tried to determine through archaeological studies what led to its social, economic or environmental collapse.