|1/3. View of area being surveyed for archaeological sites in the western part of the Nefud desert. (credit: Eleanor Scerri/Palaeodeserts Project)|
... In a research report published online in the journal Quaternary International, Scerri and colleagues detail their discovery of 13 sites dated to Lower (2.5 m to 300,000 years ago) and Middle (300,000 to 30,000 years ago) Palaeolithic times that are associated with palaeolake basins. "One of the sites, T'is al Ghadah, may feature the earliest Middle Palaeolithic assemblage of Arabia," writes Scerri, et al.*. The sites were discovered during a regional survey conducted under the auspices of the Palaeodeserts Project.
"Preliminary analyses show that the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic sites discovered display diverse technological characteristics, indicating that the Nefud was important for population turnovers and exchanges throughout the Pleistocene. Periodic environmental amelioration [improvement, or wet periods] appears to have attracted hominin [early human] incursions into the region, and subsequent ephemeral (short-term) occupations structured around lakes and, to a lesser extent, raw material sources." [...] popular-archaeology.com