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Beyond arrows on a map: The dynamics of Homo sapiens dispersal and occupation of Arabia during Marine Isotope Stage 5

Beyond arrows on a map: The dynamics of Homo sapiens dispersal and occupation of Arabia during Marine Isotope Stage 5
Beyond arrows on a map: The dynamics of Homo sapiens dispersal and occupation of Arabia during Marine Isotope Stage 5
Arabia occupies a crucial central position between Africa and Eurasia. The northward expansion of the monsoonal rain-belt and the formation of grasslands during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 provided favourable conditions for Homo sapiens to occupy and traverse now arid areas of Arabia. While “Green Arabia” may have been a crucial stepping-stone on the way to H. sapiens global settlement, the occupation of Arabia is an important area of study in itself and could offer vital perspectives on human-environment interactions. In particular, Green Arabia can offer a unique insight into processes of human dispersal, occupation and extirpation in an environ-mentally fluctuating landscape. Here we synthesise archaeological, palaeoclimate and ethnographic data to develop a holistic model for the occupation of Green Arabia and offer targets for future research. We suggest that, on broad timescales, the resource availability and carrying capacity of Green Arabia facilitated rapid population expansion and occupation across Arabia. On human time-scales, dispersal was probably a slow process due to the requirements of metapopulation structures, likely consisting of many “micro-dispersals” spanning numerous generations. Transitions to more arid conditions were probably echoed by local hominin extirpations, dispersals into surrounding regions and retraction to resource-retaining core areas.
Arabia, Arid environments, Climate, Human dispersals
0278-4165
Nicholson, Samuel L.
d427468f-70bf-4bd9-8f2e-ceebfd159883
Hosfield, Robert
1663a9f8-31a8-4752-a721-f5a0153dbe1e
Groucutt, Huw S.
b80ef0af-90f9-43b7-aac2-a27fb0126254
Pike, Alistair
e8603e20-0a89-4d57-a294-247b983fc857
Fleitmann, Dominik
a4a68791-9be3-468f-b4f8-7cd9bd509f15
Nicholson, Samuel L.
d427468f-70bf-4bd9-8f2e-ceebfd159883
Hosfield, Robert
1663a9f8-31a8-4752-a721-f5a0153dbe1e
Groucutt, Huw S.
b80ef0af-90f9-43b7-aac2-a27fb0126254
Pike, Alistair
e8603e20-0a89-4d57-a294-247b983fc857
Fleitmann, Dominik
a4a68791-9be3-468f-b4f8-7cd9bd509f15

Nicholson, Samuel L., Hosfield, Robert, Groucutt, Huw S., Pike, Alistair and Fleitmann, Dominik (2021) Beyond arrows on a map: The dynamics of Homo sapiens dispersal and occupation of Arabia during Marine Isotope Stage 5. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 62, [101269]. (doi:10.1016/j.jaa.2021.101269).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Arabia occupies a crucial central position between Africa and Eurasia. The northward expansion of the monsoonal rain-belt and the formation of grasslands during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 provided favourable conditions for Homo sapiens to occupy and traverse now arid areas of Arabia. While “Green Arabia” may have been a crucial stepping-stone on the way to H. sapiens global settlement, the occupation of Arabia is an important area of study in itself and could offer vital perspectives on human-environment interactions. In particular, Green Arabia can offer a unique insight into processes of human dispersal, occupation and extirpation in an environ-mentally fluctuating landscape. Here we synthesise archaeological, palaeoclimate and ethnographic data to develop a holistic model for the occupation of Green Arabia and offer targets for future research. We suggest that, on broad timescales, the resource availability and carrying capacity of Green Arabia facilitated rapid population expansion and occupation across Arabia. On human time-scales, dispersal was probably a slow process due to the requirements of metapopulation structures, likely consisting of many “micro-dispersals” spanning numerous generations. Transitions to more arid conditions were probably echoed by local hominin extirpations, dispersals into surrounding regions and retraction to resource-retaining core areas.

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Beyond arrows on a mapfinal2 - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 30 December 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 20 February 2021
Published date: June 2021
Additional Information: Funding Information: This work was supported by the AHRC South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (Grant AH/L503939/1). HSG thanks the Max Planck Society for funding. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 Elsevier Inc.
Keywords: Arabia, Arid environments, Climate, Human dispersals

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 447640
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/447640
ISSN: 0278-4165
PURE UUID: 3a5a9ee8-8997-4342-85de-2b735b7c7a21
ORCID for Alistair Pike: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5610-8948

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Date deposited: 17 Mar 2021 17:33
Last modified: 17 Mar 2024 06:26

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Contributors

Author: Samuel L. Nicholson
Author: Robert Hosfield
Author: Huw S. Groucutt
Author: Alistair Pike ORCID iD
Author: Dominik Fleitmann

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