Human occupation of the Arabian Empty Quarter more than 80,000 years ago

MDF - lithic

Dr Ceri Shipton with stone tool excavated from Mundafan

mdf lithic

Two stone tools excavated from Mundafan

Recent excavations by the Palaeodeserts team in the Arabian Empty Quarter, the largest sandy desert in the world, have provided the first evidence of human occupation going back more than 80,000 years. Using a range of luminescence dating techniques, the Middle Palaeolithic artefacts recovered from the stratified sediments at the site of Mundafan Al-Buhayrah, have been dated to between 100,000 and 80,000 years old.

The discovery of securely-dated archaeological material in the Empty Quarter, including stone tools, has important implications for hypotheses concerning the timing and routes of the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa into Eurasia.

Read more in Human occupation of the Arabian Empty Quarter during MIS 5: evidence from Mundafan Al-Buhayrah, Saudi Arabia.