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Multiple environmental change at the time of the Modern Human passage through the Middle East – First results from geoarchaeological investigations on Upper Pleistocene sediments in the Wadi Sabra (Jordan)

Abstract

Upper Pleistocene sediments at Wadi Sabra (Ma’an District, Jordan) were geoarcheologically investigated from 2008–2010. The Wadi Sabra valley system, situated east of the Dead Sea Rift and south of the ancient Nabataean capital of Petra, has preserved sedimentary deposits which are connected with several Upper Paleolithic sites. First results from sedimentological and geochemical analysis supported by archeological and radiometric dating provide evidence of fluvial and fluvio-eolian sedimentation during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3 and 2 from at least 38 ka to 18 ka, followed by at least one erosional event that finally determined the recent valley morphology. Several calcretes, buried surfaces and initial soil horizons indicate phases of landscape stability and potentially moister climatic conditions than today. Inferred favorable environment of the time allowed for human occupation of the Wadi Sabra attested throughout the cultural stages of the Initial, Early, and evolved Upper Paleolithic and the early Epipaleolithic, thus illustrating the occurrence of Homo sapiens in the Near East. Field work at Wadi Sabra is expected to further elucidate the Out of Africa II movement of our species, leading modern humans to Europe, possibly via the Middle East and the Balkan Peninsula, both regions now under comparative investigation by the Cologne-Aachen B1 project group of the CRC 806.

Bibliography

Bertrams, M., Protze, J., Löhrer, R. D., Richter, J., Hilgers, A., Klasen, N., Schmidt, C., Lehmkuhl, F. (2012): Multiple environmental change at the time of the Modern Human passage through the Middle East – First results from geoarchaeological investigations on Upper Pleistocene sediments in the Wadi Sabra (Jordan). – In: Quaternary International, Vol. 274, p: 55-72, DOI: doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2012.02.047

Authors Bertrams, M. and Protze, J. and Löhrer, R.and Schyle, D. and Richter, J. and Hilgers, A. and Klasen, N. and Schmidt, C. and Lehmkuhl, F.
Type article
Title Multiple environmental change at the time of the Modern Human passage through the Middle East – First results from geoarchaeological investigations on Upper Pleistocene sediments in the Wadi Sabra (Jordan)
URL http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1040618212001280
DOI doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2012.02.047
Journal Quaternary International
Year 2012
Volume 274
Pages 55-72
Month October
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