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Climate change and human occupation in the Southern Arabian lowlands during the last deglaciation and the Holocene

Abstract : Paleohydrological and archaeological evidence from the Southern and SouthEastern Arabian Peninsula reveal strong relations between phases of human settlements and climate change linked to the Indian monsoon system. During the early to mid-Holocene, large freshwater lakes extended in the lowland deserts of Ramlat as-Sab'atayn (Yemen) and Wahiba Sands (Oman), which were very similar to those occurring in the North, in the Rub' al-Khali (Saudi Arabia), at that time. Many archaeological sites, characterized by scattered stone artefacts, ostrich-eggshells and bones around hearths, are related to this lacustrine phase, which culminated around 10 000–8000 cal yr B.P. in the lowland deserts before the lakes progressively dried up. The last record of freshwater bodies' extensions date back 7300 cal yr B.P. at Shabwa (Yemen) and 7500 cal yr B.P. at al-Haid (Oman). Then, freshwater was probably available only from seasonal runoff from adjacent highlands, where paleolakes persisted into the late Holocene. Dry climate conditions in the inland desert of Yemen during the late Holocene coincide with a phase of intensive human inhabitation as testified by development of irrigation in the piedmontane areas, numerous necropolises of built collective burials and houses.
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Anne-Marie Lézine, Christian Robert, Serge Cleuziou, Marie-Louise Inizan, Frank Braemer, et al.. Climate change and human occupation in the Southern Arabian lowlands during the last deglaciation and the Holocene. Global and Planetary Change, Elsevier, 2010, 72 (4), pp.412 - 428. ⟨10.1016/j.gloplacha.2010.01.016⟩. ⟨hal-01828516⟩

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