Showing posts with label arabian gulf. Show all posts
Showing posts with label arabian gulf. Show all posts

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tools Indicate Earlier Migration from Africa to Arabia

Jebel Faya, where the stone tools were found.

Ancient stone tools unearthed from a once-fertile area near the Persian Gulf indicate early humans migrated from Africa much earlier than previously thought. The artifacts from Jebel Faya and dated to 120,000 years ago, were created with several techniques, including “bifacial reduction” ~ removing material from two rock faces ~ that was abundant in Africa, but has never before been found in the Arabian Peninsula.

“When I looked at this material, none of it looked Near Eastern,” said Anthony Marks, an archaeologist with Southern Methodist University who analyzed the tools. “The more I looked at the material, the more it became clear that it had a connection with the kind of tools of East Africa.”

According to PBS:
Tools like this were believed to be used to kill and butcher animals, scrape fat from hides, make clothes from animal skin and create other, possibly wooden, tools. Scientists dated the artifacts with a technique called optically stimulated luminescence data.
“In essence, this is a technique which allows us to determine the time which has elapsed since sand grains were last exposed to sunlight,” said Simon Armitage, a professor of geography with Royal Holloway, University of London, and co-author on the study.
Additional evidence supports the theory that these tools belonged to a group of people that migrated from Africa to Arabia, scientists say. The standard model, which relies on data from mitochondrial DNA, says the first humans left Africa about 60,000 years ago, traveled to Arabia and eventually, about 50,000 years ago, arrived in Australia.
Marks says he’s skeptical that the migration occurred so quickly. “The earlier movement out of Africa makes a lot more sense to me.” Plus, 120,000 years ago, the now-aird area had been transformed by monsoon rains into lush grasslands with lakes and acacia trees. Briefly, sea levels were low and the Red Sea was relatively easy to cross.

Click here for the PBS article.
Click here for the BBC article.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Arabic Island Site Reveals Early Christianity

Portion of the island's Christian-settlement dig site.

Remains of a Christian monastery and church on Sir Bani Yas Island in the Arabian Gulf, believed to have been settled around 600 AD by a community of 40 monks, is now open to the public. Unearthed in the early 1990s, the site has valuable historical and religious significance.

"Twenty years ago, we had no idea that Christians came this far south and east in the Arabian Gulf," Dr Joseph Elders, the project's archaeological director, who began excavating the site nearly two decades ago, told The National. "This shows that Christianity had penetrated far further than we thought before. We don't have many monasteries from this period."

The monastery complex, a multi-building compound located on the eastern side of the 87-square-kilometre island, is the only pre-Islamic Christian site known in the UAE. Discovered in 1992 during an archaeological survey, the monastery is believed to have been an important destination for pilgrims travelling along a trade route to India.

"We think quite a lot of visitors came to the monastery," said Dr Elders. "These people wanted to be visited."

Christianity spread throughout the Gulf between the years 50 and 350, following the trade routes. The inhabitants of the 7th-century settlement probably belonged to the Nestorian Church, or Church of the East. Researchers believe the wealthy community was made up of a mixture of people from along the Gulf, and local residents who spoke Syriac and Arabic.

Click here for the complete article.