The environmental context of the Middle Pleistocene occupation at the Shishan Marsh, Azraq, Jordan


The Greater Azraq Oasis Area occupies a hyper-arid area of the Syro-Arabian Desert. Geomorphological and paleoecological evidence suggests that at times during the Pleistocene the region experienced moister conditions than at present. This particular study centers on the environment surrounding the Middle Pleistocene hominin occupation dated approximately 250,000 BP. Archaeological and archaeozoological remains from this occupation have provided significant information about the wide range of faunal groups and butchering strategies. Geoarchaeological and paleoecological (mainly plant microfossil remains) research provide an environmental context to this occupation, which existed in association with a fan-delta on the northeast shores of paleolake Azraq. The lake-delta dynamics provided a rich wetland environment. A local fault influenced the flow of water from springs and stream channels into the delta. The up-thrown block of the fault created an outcrop where the local Umm Rijamm Chert could be utilized. The sedimentary data and geomorphic evidence elsewhere in the basin suggests that conditions deteriorated towards the end of the occupation, as the lake receded and dried out and the fluvial systems ceased to flow into the occupation area. Eolian activity suggests the aridization that forced fauna and hominins out of this area.

Cite this Record

The environmental context of the Middle Pleistocene occupation at the Shishan Marsh, Azraq, Jordan. Carlos Cordova, April Nowell, Christopher Ames, James Pokines, Amer Al-Suliman. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430847)


Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14955