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Late Pleistocene palaeolake in the interior of Oman: a potential key area for the dispersal of anatomically modern humans out-of-Africa?

Authors

  • Thomas M. Rosenberg,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Geological Sciences, University of Bern, Baltzerstrasse 1 + 3, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
    2. Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Zähringerstrasse 25, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
    • Institute of Geological Sciences, University of Bern, Baltzerstrasse 1 + 3, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.
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  • Frank Preusser,

    1. Institute of Geological Sciences, University of Bern, Baltzerstrasse 1 + 3, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden.
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  • Ingo Blechschmidt,

    1. Nagra (National Co-operative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste), Hardstrasse 73, 5430 Wettingen, Switzerland
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  • Dominik Fleitmann,

    1. Institute of Geological Sciences, University of Bern, Baltzerstrasse 1 + 3, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
    2. Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Zähringerstrasse 25, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
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  • Reto Jagher,

    1. Institute for Prehistory and Achaeological Science, University of Basel, Spalenring 145, 4055 Basel, Switzerland
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  • Albert Matter

    1. Institute of Geological Sciences, University of Bern, Baltzerstrasse 1 + 3, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
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Abstract

Relict fluvial and lacustrine deposits in the interior of Oman near Saiwan consist of waterlain breccias with pebble imbrications and current ripples, covered by algal laminites containing calcified reeds and charcoal pieces. Geomorphological evidence suggests that the palaeolake covered a maximum surface of 1400 km2 and had a maximum depth of about 25 m. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) and thermally transferred OSL dating indicate that this palaeolake existed sometime between 132 and 104 ka. The rich archaeological evidence in the area suggests substantial human occupation, possibly at the time when Palaeolake Saiwan existed. Interestingly, the lithic traditions of the archaeological material show no clear relation to coeval findings from neighbouring areas, putting a question mark on the origin of the culture found at Saiwan. This finding raises questions concerning the origin of the population inhabiting Saiwan, as the site lies along one possible route for the dispersal of anatomically modern humans out-of-Africa. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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