Reconstructing paleolandscapes and prehistoric occupation of Wadi Ziqlab, northern Jordan



Geoarchaeological survey conducted in Wadi Ziqlab focused on reconstructing landscape change in the river valley and relating these changes to shifts in prehistoric settlement. Micromorphology was used to identify a Late Pleistocene paleosol that once comprised a relatively continuous soil cover throughout the main valley and allowed stratigraphic correlations between examined sections. Warmer and wetter conditions during the Late Pleistocene supported substantial occupation of the wadi during this time at the Epipaleolithic site of 'Uyun al-Hammam, and other contemporary sites in the wadi. The complete lack of late EP and early Neolithic sites throughout the wadi result from large-scale erosion during the Younger Dryas, which removed any traces of these sites. Later Neolithic and subsequent occupation of the valley occurred within a notably different climatic regime. The pattern of prehistoric occupation and differential preservation of the archaeological record emphasizes the importance of local geoarchaeological investigations as the depositional sequence found in any one wadi is not necessarily traceable to other wadis. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.