The Evolution of Human Populations in Arabia: Paleoenvironments, Prehistory and Genetics

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Michael D. Petraglia, Jeffrey I. Rose
Springer Science & Business Media, Nov 27, 2009 - Science - 312 pages
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The romantic landscapes and exotic cultures of Arabia have long captured the int- ests of both academics and the general public alike. The wide array and incredible variety of environments found across the Arabian peninsula are truly dramatic; tro- cal coastal plains are found bordering up against barren sandy deserts, high mountain plateaus are deeply incised by ancient river courses. As the birthplace of Islam, the recent history of the region is well documented and thoroughly studied. However, legendary explorers such as T.E. Lawrence, Wilfred Thesiger, and St. John Philby discovered hints of a much deeper past during their travels across the subcontinent. Drawn to Arabia by the magnifcent solitude of its vast sand seas, these intrepid adventurers learned from the Bedouin how to penetrate its deserts and returned with stirring accounts of lost civilizations among the wind-swept dunes. We now know that, prior to recorded history, Arabia housed countless peoples living a variety of lifestyles, including some of the world’s earliest pastoralists, c- munities of incipient farmers, fshermen dubbed the “Ichthyophagi” by ancient Greek geographers, and Paleolithic big-game hunters who were among the frst humans to depart their ancestral homeland in Africa. In fact, some archaeological investigations indicate that Arabia was inhabited by early hominins extending far back into the Early Pleistocene, perhaps even into the Late Pliocene.
 

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Contents

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About the author (2009)

Michael D. Petraglia was born in New York in 1960. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge. Over the past 25 years, he has conducted archaeological research in India, Arabia, Europe and North America. He is co-editor of the book, The Evolution and History of Human Populations in South Asia (Springer).

Jeffrey Ian Rose was born in Princeton, New Jersey in 1975. Over the past 20 years, he has conducted fieldwork in prehistoric archaeology throughout North America, Europe, and Arabia. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and Geography at Oxford Brookes University and runs an ongoing archaeological research project in the Sultanate of Oman.