Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating of archaeological and environmental sequences in North Africa and Arabia

Natalie Russell

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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A major goal in the study of human evolution is to understand the history of migration and expansion of modern humans out of sub-Saharan Africa during the last 150, 000 years. The overarching aim of this thesis is to develop a robust chronology for human occupation and environmental change in Libya (North Africa) and southern Arabia using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating.
This study comprises three main components. The first component explores methodological aspects of OSL dating. In this component, the differences between equivalent doses produced using single-grain, pseudo single-grain and small aliquot are explored using material from Libya. Subsequently, the effects of using different curve fitting functions and data rejection criteria are explored using data from both the North African and Arabian sites.
The second component centres on constructing a robust chronology for the timing of human occupation and environmental change in the landscape surrounding the Haua Fteah cave in northern Libya. This chronology is then used to investigate the relationship between human activity and environmental change in North Africa. In particular, consideration is given to the timing and availability of fresh water in the region, and to how the area may have acted as a refuge during periods of climatic deterioration.
The final component focuses on enhancing the current age model of human occupation and environmental change at the Jebel Faya rock shelter in Arabia. In this component, the importance of Arabia as a potential dispersal route out of sub-Saharan Africa is considered, and the relationship between human activity and climate change in the region is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Armitage, Simon, Supervisor
Award date1 Jun 2014
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


  • OSL
  • North Africa
  • Arabia
  • Archaeology
  • luminescence dating

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