Brian Fagan was born in England and studied archaeology at Pembroke College, Cambridge University. From 1959 to 1965, he worked in the National Museum of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and excavated early farming villages in Central Africa. He was one of the pioneers of multidisciplinary African history. Since 1966, he has lived in the United States and was Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, from 1967-2003. During this period, he became an expert in communicating archaeology and the study of the human past to general audiences. He is now Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University and a full-time writer.
Brian has written numerous popular books on archaeology , among them The Adventure of Archaeology and Egypt of the Pharaohs for the National Geographic Society. His other books include a classic of Egyptology, The Rape of the Nile, and three books on ancient climate change: Floods, Famines and Emperors: El Nino and the Collapse of Civilizations, The Little Ice Age, and The Long Summer. He has recently published Before California, the story of California before the Spaniards. His other interests include bicycling, kayaking, sailing, and good food.
Professor of Anthropology, Brian Fagan, the author of such books as The Long Summer, discussed El Nino's and other factors involved in climate change. El Nino's, which are created when atmospheric pressure in the Pacific Ocean causes warm water to surge, are the "most powerful factor in climate after the seasons," he noted, adding that it has only been since modern instrumentation came into use that it was realized that they have a global effect. He characterized the unpredictable El Nino cycles as having a rippling kind of effect that could cause either droughts or torrential rains depending on the location. Fagan said such El Nino-associated droughts may likely have been a contributing factor to the demise of the Mayan culture."We're very vulnerable to extreme climate events," he commented, citing the deaths of 20-30 million people who died as the result of famine that was related to El Nino's and monsoons that occurred in the 19th century. "And the potential for disaster is muc ... More »Host: George Noory