Oxford and Cambridge collaboration

Palaeodeserts team members from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, along with other collaborators, are currently analysing early stone tools and their landscape settings from the Dawadmi area of central Saudi Arabia.

Oxford collaboration - crop

Huw Groucutt with a large flake found by the team in the Dawadmi area of Saudi Arabia. The flake was made hundreds of thousands of years ago by early humans

Recent fieldwork identified a huge number of sites dating to the Acheulean (Lower Palaeolithic). These include the only excavated site for this period in Arabia, for which we are currently finalising the age results using optically stimulated luminescence dating.

These are fascinating archaeological sites where early humans produced extremely large flakes (see picture), which were then shaped into handaxes that could be used for a variety of tasks. The density of Acheulean sites in this part of Saudi Arabia makes it one of the most important areas anywhere in the world for understanding this period.