A preliminary model of Upper Pleistocene landscape evolution in the Wadi Sabra (Jordan) based on geoarchaeological investigations.


While there is almost no doubt about the African origin of modern humans,1 the path
of dispersal and final immigration into Europe is still under debate.2 Our project focuses
on the Levant as a potential main corridor for human migrations from Africa to Europe
during the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic. It is embedded in the multi-disciplinary CRC
806 “Our Way to Europe,” also investigating other regions including the source areas
in North-East Africa, the North-African/Southern-European-Corridor, the Balkans and
Central Europe.
The timeframe of the Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 4–2 (74–12 ka) is very important for
geoarchaeological research, especially in Jordan, where sites and palaeoclimatic evidence
are still lacking. We focus on the reconstruction of the Upper Pleistocene landscape
evolution around archaeological sites in the presently arid environment of theWadi Sabra
(South-Central Jordan). The study is based on sedimentological and geochemical analysis
of terrestrial sedimentary deposits. The study area is situated in the Greater Petra area
in the eastern escarpment of the Dead Sea Rift. In this region, the Wadi Sabra valley
system developed along a NE-SW striking tectonic fault line and recently drains the
Jordanian plateau towards the west (Fig. 1). In altitudes from 600 to 800m a.s.l., up to
30m of stratified wadi deposits have been preserved from modern erosion. Determined
by the nature of the local bedrock (Palaeozoic sandstones), the wadi fills are mostly
of sandy composition. The association with archaeological finds of the Middle to the
Final Palaeolithic (50–18 ka) allows a reconstruction of palaeoenvironmental conditions
during and after the time of the initial human occupation. Here we intend to present
a preliminary model of landscape development in the Wadi Sabra based on field work
impressions and laboratory data analyzed to date.


url Accessed 268 times | Last updated 29.01.2015

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