Disasters do and have happened throughout human existence. Their traces are found in the environmental record, archaeological evidence, and historical chronicles. Societal responses to these events vary and depend on ecological and cultural constraints and opportunities. These elements are being discovered more and
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Disasters do and have happened throughout human existence. Their traces are found in the environmental record, archaeological evidence, and historical chronicles. Societal responses to these events vary and depend on ecological and cultural constraints and opportunities. These elements are being discovered more and more on a global scale. When looking at disasters in antiquity, restoring the environmental and geographical context on both the macro- and microscale is necessary. The relationships between global climatic processes and microgeographical approaches ought to be understood by examining detailed societal strategies conceived in response to threatening natural phenomena. Architectural designs, human geography, political geography, technological artefacts, and textual testimony are linked to a society’s inherited and real sense of natural threats, such as floods, earthquakes, fires, diseases, etc. The Shang and Mycenaean cultures are prime examples, among others, of Bronze Age societies with distinctive geographical, environmental, and cultural features and structures that defined their attitudes and responses to dangerous natural phenomena, such as floods, earthquakes, landslides, and drought. By leaning on two well-documented societies with little to no apparent similarities in environmental and cultural aspects and no credible evidence of contact, diffusion, or exchange, we can examine them free of the onus of diffused intangible and tangible cultural features. Even though some evidence of long-distance networks in the Bronze Age exists, they presumable had no impact on local adaptive strategies. The Aegean Sea and Yellow River cultural landscapes share many similarities and dissimilarities and vast territorial and cultural expansions. They have an apparent contemporaneity, and both recede and collapse at about the same time. Thus, through the microgeography of a few select Shang and Mycenaean sites and their relevant environmental, archaeological, and historical contexts, and through environmental effects on a global scale, we may understand chain events of scattered human societal changes, collapses, and revolutions on a structural level.