If you thought weather prediction was a recent phenomenon, you would be in for a surprise if told that weather prediction was done in ancient Egypt some 3,500 years ago!
A new translation of a 40-line inscription on a six-foot-tall 3,500-year-old calcite block from Egypt — called the Tempest Stela — describes rain, darkness and “the sky being in storm without cessation, louder than the cries of the masses”.
The inscription could provide new evidence about the chronology of events in the ancient Middle East.
Two scholars at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute — Nadine Moeller and Robert Ritner — believe the unusual weather patterns described on the slab were the result of a massive volcano explosion at Thera — the present-day island of Santorini in the Mediterranean Sea.
“This is important to scholars of the ancient Near East and eastern Mediterranean, generally because the chronology that archaeologists use is based on the lists of Egyptian pharaohs, and this new information could adjust those dates,” explained Moeller, an assistant professor of Egyptian archaeology at the Oriental Institute.
The new translation suggests the Egyptian pharaoh Ahmose ruled at a time closer to the Thera eruption than previously thought — a finding that could change scholars’ understanding of a critical juncture in human history as Bronze Age empires realigned.