Late Pleistocene lakeshore settlement in northern Arabia: Middle Palaeolithic technology from Jebel Katefeh, Jubbah

Groucutt, Huw S., Shipton, Ceri, Alsharekh, Abdullah, Jennings, Richard, Scerri, Eleanor M. L. and Petraglia, Michael D. (2015) Late Pleistocene lakeshore settlement in northern Arabia: Middle Palaeolithic technology from Jebel Katefeh, Jubbah. Quaternary International, 382 215-236. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2014.12.001


Author Groucutt, Huw S.
Shipton, Ceri
Alsharekh, Abdullah
Jennings, Richard
Scerri, Eleanor M. L.
Petraglia, Michael D.
Title Late Pleistocene lakeshore settlement in northern Arabia: Middle Palaeolithic technology from Jebel Katefeh, Jubbah
Journal name Quaternary International   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1040-6182
1873-4553
Publication date 2015-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.quaint.2014.12.001
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 382
Start page 215
End page 236
Total pages 22
Place of publication Doetinchem, The Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Subject 1904 Earth-Surface Processes
Abstract Recent archaeological discoveries indicate that the Arabian Peninsula played an important role in Late Pleistocene hominin dispersals. The presence of Middle Palaeolithic archaeological sites in the Nefud Desert of northern Saudi Arabia demonstrates that hominins moved far inland, probably following networks of ancient lakes and rivers deep into the Arabian interior. These Middle Palaeolithic sites, located close to the spatial and temporal boundary between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens, are critical for our understanding of Late Pleistocene demographic processes and hominin behaviour. Here we present the first detailed analysis of a Middle Palaeolithic lithic assemblage from the north Arabian desert interior. The Late Pleistocene site of Jebel Katefeh-1 (JKF-1) is located beside a palaeolake at Jubbah in the Nefud Desert. The assemblage appears to reflect a relatively short-lived occupation. Reduction produced Levallois flakes of diverse morphologies as well as more expedient small flakes. Our results emphasise that factors such as differential reduction intensity and raw material characteristics need to be considered along with putatively cultural interpretations of Middle Palaeolithic variability. Consideration of assemblage affinities indicates similarities with both the African and Levantine Middle Palaeolithic, perhaps reflecting the location of Jubbah at a crossroads of the highlands of western Arabia, the Levant and the Euphrates/Tigris river system. JKF-1 demonstrates both the potential and the complexity of the Arabian Middle Palaeolithic record in debates on hominin dispersal and adaptation.
Formatted abstract
Recent archaeological discoveries indicate that the Arabian Peninsula played an important role in Late Pleistocene hominin dispersals. The presence of Middle Palaeolithic archaeological sites in the Nefud Desert of northern Saudi Arabia demonstrates that hominins moved far inland, probably following networks of ancient lakes and rivers deep into the Arabian interior. These Middle Palaeolithic sites, located close to the spatial and temporal boundary between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens, are critical for our understanding of Late Pleistocene demographic processes and hominin behaviour. Here we present the first detailed analysis of a Middle Palaeolithic lithic assemblage from the north Arabian desert interior. The Late Pleistocene site of Jebel Katefeh-1 (JKF-1) is located beside a palaeolake at Jubbah in the Nefud Desert. The assemblage appears to reflect a relatively short-lived occupation. Reduction produced Levallois flakes of diverse morphologies as well as more expedient small flakes. Our results emphasise that factors such as differential reduction intensity and raw material characteristics need to be considered along with putatively cultural interpretations of Middle Palaeolithic variability. Consideration of assemblage affinities indicates similarities with both the African and Levantine Middle Palaeolithic, perhaps reflecting the location of Jubbah at a crossroads of the highlands of western Arabia, the Levant and the Euphrates/Tigris river system. JKF-1 demonstrates both the potential and the complexity of the Arabian Middle Palaeolithic record in debates on hominin dispersal and adaptation.
Keyword Arabia
Levallois
Lithic technology
Middle Palaeolithic
Quartzite
Reduction intensity
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes In Press, Corrected Proof — Note to users

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
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