Clearly nothing that has happened in the past 3000 years compares to the disaster of 1159 BC (and we can give thanks for that), so it is becoming a less terrifying prospect to look upon this date as the beginning of modern civilization. And although this traumatic event ushered in the oppressive age of the pharaohs (and later royal tyranny), we can now begin to see why the great river culture societies dominated after this date. In order to survive another event such as that of 1159 BC, huge reserves of food would have to be stored up in preparation. Only the Nile and the Euphrates could offer that kind of abundance, at least in the Near East. What's more, the human mind alone had not been adequate to safeguard man's knowledge. Much of that form of wealth had been irretrievably lost in the succession of natural disasters ending in 1159 BC, or so it must have seemed. From this date, there would be an increasing dependence on written language (eventually leading to the present technological era).
With 1159 BC established as the start of pharaonic dynasties, the belief that "high culture" simply appearing in Egypt out of nowhere can no longer be even remotely entertained. The Giza Pyramids as well as many other pyramids, temples, and structures would obviously have already been standing in Egypt in 1159 BC, and for quite a long time. Likewise, much of the Bronze Age must also have preceded the pharaohs. All of this will take some time to sort out. But it should simplify the archaelogy of the Near East rather than complicate it.
© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.