The environmental context of Paleolithic settlement at Jebel Faya, Emirate Sharjah, UAE.

Knut Bretzke, Simon Armitage, Adrian G. Parker, Helen Walkington, Hans-Peter Uerpmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Key to the understanding of Pleistocene human dispersals and settlement dynamics is knowledge about
the distribution of human habitats in space and time. To add information about the characteristics of
inhabited environments along the South Arabian dispersal route, this paper presents paleo-environmental
data from deposits excavated at Jebel Faya (FAY-NE1) in the Emirate of Sharjah, UAE. The sedimentary
sequence at FAY-NE1 spans a period of about 125,000 years, including the last interglacial and the Holocene.
Particle size and phytolith content of samples from two sediment columns were analyzed,
including both archaeology bearing layers and archaeologically sterile layers. The results demonstrate that
human occupation of the site is related to pluvial periods. Assemblage C, dated to about 127e123 ka, was
deposited during a wet phase with an environment characterized by an increased proportion of C3 grasses.
Grassland with sedges but lacking tree cover characterize ecological conditions during the youngest of the
Paleolithic occupation periods, Assemblage A, dated to about 45e40 ka. Environmental conditions during
periods lacking archaeological remains are characterized by the absence of vegetation cover during phases
of desiccation. There is no evidence for human presence at the site between 38 and 11 ka.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-93
JournalQuaternary International
Early online date5 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2013

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