Year

2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (Honours)

ANZSRC / FoR Code

2101 ARCHAEOLOGY

Department

School of Earth & Environmental Science

Advisor(s)

Zenobia Jacobs

Abstract

The Arabian Peninsula is situated within a crossing zone for the movement of pastoralist communities. Current interest regarding the development from hunter-gather to pastoralists is due to the discovery of the Nejd Leptolithic Tradition located within western Oman. The use of Nejd Leptolithic assemblages as an archaeological marker is considered important, as they are only found within Southern Arabia and are considered a defining point in determining when humans transformed into a more prominent pastoralist society.

By examining three Nejd Leptolithic rock shelters within western Oman (Ghazal, Khumseen and Al-hatab) and providing accurate age estimates using pseudo single-grain optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating to determine the age of the sediments, we were able to provide ages for all three sites. The OSL ages are given between ~7-10 ka for Ghazal, ~8-10 ka for Khumseen and ~2-20 ka for Al-hatab.

The implications of the ages are discussed in relation to two current palaeoanthropological models; whether the leptolithic assemblages in Oman represent the development of an in situ human population with unique stone tool industries and genetic signatures, or whether it was the result of a population expansion from the western Mediterranean (the Levant) and/or an out of Africa expansion (Bab al Mandab strait).

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