Arabian Late Pleistocene lithic variability and its implications for hominin behavior and demography

Author(s): Huw Groucutt

Year: 2016


The last five years have seen a rapid acceleration in research on Late Pleistocene Arabia. A growing number of Late Pleistocene archaeological sites have now been identified. While Pleistocene hominin fossil remains are currently unknown in Arabia, a fast expanding corpus of faunal remains and paleoenvironmental archives provide important contextual information for hominin occupations. Claims have been made for close similarities between Arabian and broadly contemporary East and Northeast African lithic assemblages. Such analyses have, however, lacked chronological resolution and little consideration has been given to the different environmental and landscape contexts of sites. In this paper I focus on lithic assemblages from open air sites in Arabia, as both surface scatters and excavated material, and seek to differentiate the various sources of variability influencing the morphological and technological features of the assemblages. Identified sites fall into two major types: raw material procurement localities and scatters associated with paleohydrological features (particularly lakes). While the emerging picture suggests significant roles for autochthonous Arabian developments and ‘pragmatic’ influences such as differential reduction intensity, it also seems clear that several dispersals into Arabia occurred. Understanding the sources and routes of these dispersals is proving an exciting, but challenging area of research.

Cite this Record

Arabian Late Pleistocene lithic variability and its implications for hominin behavior and demography. Huw Groucutt. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404095)


Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;