One new site is the study’s subject, Shi’bat Dihya, located along the Wadi Sudud (see map below). Excavating down to a level dating to perhaps 63,000 years ago, when the region was quite arid, the team found some “5,488 artifacts” — Stone Age blades, pointed blades and pointed flakes, nearly an inch long or longer, as well as the bones of 97 animals, mostly cows, horses, pigs and porcupines.
Finding tool-makers so far inland, nearly 75 miles from the coast, surprised the study team, as most models of human expansion picture our ancestors migrating along the coasts on their way to Europe and Asia. “The adaptation of the occupants of Wadi Sudud to an arid environment significantly nuances the environmental determinism inherent in nearly all models concerning the peopling of southern Arabia,” says the study.
Story: Dan Vergano, USA Today | Photo: JHE Esevier