Most of the civilizations of the late bronze age were mysteriously destroyed at around the same time in the 12th century BC. Archaeologists have been debating what caused this destruction for over a century...

Was it invaders? An earthquake storm? Famine and drought? Plague? Was it the mysterious “Sea Peoples” mentioned in the Eyptian sources as destroying everything in their path?

Joining us to help solve the mystery is Eric Cline, archaeologist and ancient historian at the George Washington University, and author of the book 1177 BC.: the Year Civilization Collapsed.

Do you think our civilization could potentially collapse in the future?


Map from a few centuries earlier but including also Mesopotamia. By the time of the collapse, Assyria will have eclipsed the neighboring Mittani and Babylonians in power.
Amarnatablet: One of the Amarna Letters, sent to Egypt from 'Alashya' (Cyprus).
Map of the eastern Mediterranean in the Late Bronze Age, depicting one of several proposed scenarios of migration in this time period.
Depiction of the nine different peoples (called the 'sea peoples' by modern Egyptologists) who tried to invade Egypt in 1177BC and were defeated by Ramesses III on land and at sea. From the wall of Ramesses' mortuary temple at Medinet Habu.