Humans Occupied Lava Tube Give method Saudi Arabia for 7,000 Years, Archaeologists Acquire

Contemporary archaeological excavations have published repeated phases of human occupation of Umm Jirsan lava tube within the Harrat Khaybar, north-western Saudi Arabia, ranging from no longer decrease than the Neolithic by to the Chalcolithic/Bronze Age (10,000-3,500 years ago).

Photography of Umm Jirsan Cave and its internal sections. Image credit score: Stewart et al., doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0299292.

Photography of Umm Jirsan Cave and its internal sections. Image credit score: Stewart et al., doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0299292.

Intensified field analysis in northern Arabia over the very best decade has highlighted the richness and charm of the location’s archaeological and paleontological recordsdata.

Human occupation in northern Arabia for the length of the Pleistocene used to be sporadic and seemingly linked to classes of improved climate, though by the Holocene of us were in a location to more constantly settle the location by dry intervals.

“Our findings at Umm Jirsan present a uncommon scrutinize into the lives of frail peoples in Arabia, revealing repeated phases of human occupation and shedding gentle on the pastoralist actions that once thrived in this panorama,” mentioned Dr. Mathew Stewart, an archaeologist at Griffith College and the Max Planck Institutes of Geoanthropology.

“This space possible served as a compulsory waypoint alongside pastoral routes, linking key oases and facilitating cultural change and exchange.”

Rock art and faunal recordsdata attest to the pastoralist employ of Umm Jirsan and surrounding areas, painting a shimmering portray of frail lifeways.

Depictions of cattle, sheep, goat and dogs corroborate the prehistoric livestock practices and herd composition of the location.

An isotopic prognosis of animal stays from the lava tube indicates that livestock essentially grazed on wild grasses and shrubs, while humans maintained a diet rich in protein, with a important extend within the consumption of C3 vegetation over time, suggesting the emergence of oasis agriculture.

“Whereas underground localities are globally indispensable in archaeology and Quaternary science, our analysis represents the essential complete gape of its kind in Saudi Arabia,” mentioned Professor Michael Petraglia, an archaeologist at Griffith College, the College of Queensland and Smithsonian Institution.

The findings underscore the mammoth possible for interdisciplinary investigations in caves and lava tubes, providing a particular window into Arabia’s frail previous.

“Umm Jirsan used to be possible no longer a eternal residence, nonetheless as a replace a precious stopping point for folks touring between oasis settlements,” the authors mentioned.

“Lava tubes and diverse natural shelters were precious resources for communities surviving in a tough ambiance, and with extra investigation, they demonstrate a key supply of archaeological data regarding the historic previous of human occupation in Arabia.”

“Exploring Arabia’s hidden previous, our gape uncovers millennia of human occupation internal and round the Umm Jirsan lava tube, shedding gentle on frail lifestyles and adaptations to environmental change in this harsh barren location ambiance.”

The team’s paper used to be published on-line within the journal PLoS ONE.


M. Stewart et al. 2024. First evidence for human occupation of a lava tube in Arabia: The archaeology of Umm Jirsan Cave and its atmosphere, northern Saudi Arabia. PLoS ONE 19 (4): e0299292; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0299292