Skip to main content Accesibility Help
×
×
Home

Paleoclimatic and archeological implications of Pleistocene and Holocene environments in Azraq, Jordan

  • Matthew D. Jones (a1) and Tobias Richter (a2)
Abstract

Wetlands are a key archive for paleoclimatic and archeological work, particularly in arid regions, as they provide a focus for human occupation and preserve environmental information. The sedimentary record from 'Ayn Qasiyya, a spring site on the edge of the Azraq Qa, provides a well-dated sequence through the last glacial–interglacial transition (LGIT) allowing environmental changes in the present-day Jordanian desert to be investigated robustly through this time period for the first time. Results show that the wettest period at the site preceded the last glacial maximum, which itself was characterised by marsh formation and a significant Early Epipaleolithic occupation. A sedimentary hiatus between 16 and 10.5 ka suggests a period of drought in the region although seasonal rains and surface waters still allowed seasonal occupation of the Azraq region. Archeological evidence suggests that conditions had improved by the Late Epipaleolithic, about the time of the North Atlantic Younger Dryas. The changes between wet and dry conditions at the site show similarities to patterns in the eastern Mediterranean and in Arabia suggesting the Jordan interior was influenced by changes in both these regions through the LGIT climatic transition.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Corresponding author. E-mail address: matthew.jones@nottingham.ac.uk (M. D. Jones).
References
Hide All
Abdulla, F.A., Al-Khatib, M.A., and Al-Ghazzawi, Z.D. Development of groundwater modeling for the Azraq Basin, Jordan. Environmental Geology 40, (2000). 1118.
Abed, A.M., Yasin, S., Sadaqa, R., and Al-Hawari, Z. The paleoclimate of the eastern desert of Jordan during marine isotope stage 9. Quaternary Research 69, (2008). 458468.
Adamiec, G., and Aitken, M.J. Dose-rate conversion factors update. Ancient TL 16, (1998). 3750.
Aitken, M.J. An Introduction to Optical Dating: The Dating of Quaternary sediments by the Use of Photo Stimulated Luminescence. (1998). Oxford Science Publications, Oxford.
Al-Kharabsheh, A. Ground-water modelling and long-term management of the Azraq basin as an example of arid area conditions (Jordan). Journal of Arid Environments 44, (2000). 143153.
Bajjali, W., and Abu-Jaber, N. Climatological signals of the paleogroundwater in Jordan. Journal of Hydrology 243, (2001). 133147.
Bajjali, W., and Al-Hadidi, K. Hydrochemical evaluation of groundwater in Azraq Basin, Jordan using environmental isotopes and GIS techniques. 25th Annual ESRI International User Conference, San Diego. (2005).
Bar-Matthews, M., Ayalon, A., Gilmour, M., Matthews, A., and Hawkesworth, C.J. Sea–land oxygen isotopic relationships from planktonic foraminifera and speleothems in the Eastern Mediterranean region and their implication for paleorainfall during interglacial intervals. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 67, (2003). 31813199.
Bar-Yosef, O. The impact of late Pleistocene–early Holocene climatic changes on humans in southwest Asia. Straus, L.G., Eriksen, B.V., Erlandson, J.M., and Yesner, D.R. Humans at the end of the Ice Age: The archeology of the Pleistocene–Holocene transition. (1996). Plenum, New York. 6176.
Bateman, M.D., and Catt, J.A. An absolute chronology for the raised beach deposits at Sewerby, E. Yorkshire, UK. Journal of Quaternary Science 11, (1996). 389395.
Bender, F. Geology of Jordan. (1974). Gebruder Borntrager, Berlin.
Betts, A.V.G., (1991). The late Epipalaeolithic in the Black Desert, eastern Jordan. In: Bar-Yosef, O., Valla, F.R. (Eds.), The Natufian Culture in the Levant. International Monographs in Prehistory, Ann Arbor. pp. 217234.
Blockley, S.P.E., and Pinhasi, R. A revised chronology for the adoption of agriculture in the Southern Levant and the role of Lateglacial climatic change. Quaternary Science Reviews 30, (2011). 98108.
Cauvin, M.-C., and Couqueugniot, E. L'oasis d'el Kowm et le Kebarien Geometrique. Paléorient 14, (1988). 270282.
Cordova, C.E., Rollefson, G.O., Kalchgruber, R., Wilke, P., and Quintero, L. Natural and cultural stratigraphy of 'Ayn as-Sawda, Azraq Wetland reserve. 2007 Excavation report and discussion of finds. Annual of the Departement of Antiquities of Jordan 52, (2008). 417425.
Davies, C.P. Quaternary paleoenvironments and potential for human exploitation of the Jordan Plateau desert interior. Geoarcheology 20, (2005). 379400.
Dean, W.E. Determination of carbonate and organic matter in calcareous sediments and sedimentary rocks by loss on ignition: comparison with other methods. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 44, (1974). 242248.
Edwards, P.C. By the shores of Lake Lisan: the Epipaleolithic in the east Jordan Valley between 20,000 and 11,000 years ago. Studies in the History and Archeology of Jordan VII Department of Antiquities of Jordan, Amman. (2001). 8593.
El-Naqa, A., Al-Momani, M., Kilani, S., and Hammouri, N. Groundwater deterioration of shallow groundwater aquifers due to overexploitation in Northeast Jordan. CLEAN — Soil, Air, Water 35, (2007). 156166.
Enzel, Y., Amit, R., Dayan, U., Crouvi, O., Kahana, R., Ziv, B., and Sharon, D. The climatic and physiographic controls of the eastern Mediterranean over the late Pleistocene climates in the southern Levant and its neighboring deserts. Global and Planetary Change 60, (2008). 165192.
Field, H. North Arabian desert archeological survey, 1925–1950. Papers of the Peabody Museum 45, Harvard, Cambridge. (1960).
Galbraith, R.F., and Green, P.F. Estimating the component ages in a finite mixture. Radiation Measurements 17, (1990). 197206.
Garrard, A.N. Environment and cultural adaptations in the Azraq Basin: 24,000–7,000 B.P.. Henry, D.O. The Prehistory of Jordan. British Archeological Reports International Series 705, Oxford (1998). 139148.
Garrard, A.N., and Byrd, B.F. New Dimensions to the Epipaleolithic of the Wadi el-Jilat in central Jordan. Paléorient 18, (1992). 4762.
Garrard, A.N., Baird, D., Colledge, S., Martin, L., and Wright, K. Prehistoric environment and settlement in the Azraq Basin: an interim report on the 1987 and 1988 Excavation Season. Levant 26, (1994). 73109.
Goring-Morris, A., Hovers, E., and Belfer-Cohen, A. The dynamics of Pleistocene and Early Holocene settlement patterns and human adaptations in the levant — an overview. Shea, J., and Lieberman, D. Transitions in Prehistory: Essays in honour of Ofer Bar-Yosef. (2009). Oxbow Books, Oxford. 185252.
Hull, K.L. Identification of cultural site formation processes through microdebitage analysis. American Antiquity 52, (1987). 772783.
Hunt, C.O., and Garrard, A.N. The 1985 excavations at C-Spring. Copeland, L., and Hours, F. The Hammer on the Rock. (1989). B.A.R. International Series, Oxford. 319323.
Hunt, C.O., Gilbertson, D.D., and El-Rishi, H.A. An 8000-year history of landscape, climate, and copper exploitation in the Middle East: the Wadi Faynan and the Wadi Dana National Reserve in southern Jordan. Journal of Archeological Science 34, (2007). 13061338.
Jones, M.D., Roberts, C.N., and Leng, M.J. Quantifying climatic change through the last glacial–interglacial transition based on lake isotope paleohydrology from central Turkey. Quaternary Research 67, (2007). 463473.
Landmann, G., Reimer, A., and Kempe, S. Climatically induced lake level changes at Lake Van, Turkey, during the Pleistocene/Holocene transition. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 10, (1996). 797808.
Macumber, P.G. Evolving landscape and environment in Jordan. MacDonald, B., Adams, R., and Bienkowski, P. The Archeology of Jordan. (2001). Sheffield Academic Press, Sheffield. 130.
Maher, L.A., Banning, E.B., and Chazan, M. Oasis or mirage? Assessing the role of abrupt climate in the prehistory of the Southern Levant. Cambridge Archeological Journal 21, (2011). 129.
Marsh, R.E., Prestwich, W.V., Rink, W.J., and Brennan, B.J. Monte Carlo determinations of the beta dose rate to tooth enamel. Radiation Measurements 32, (2002). 609616.
Moumani, K., Alexander, J., and Bateman, M.D. Sedimentology of the Late Quaternary Wadi Hasa Marl Formation of Central Jordan: a record of climate variability. Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology 191, (2003). 221242.
Muheisen, M., (1988). The Epipalaeolithic Phases of Kharaneh IV. In: A.N., , Garrard, H.G.G., (Eds.), The prehistory of Jordan. The state of research in 1986. British Archaeological Reports International Series 396, Oxford. pp. 353367.
Murray, A.S., and Wintle, A.G. Luminescence dating of quartz using an improved single-aliqout regenerative-dose protocol. Radiation Measurements 32, (2000). 5773.
Nelson, J.B. Azraq : desert oasis. (1973). Allen Lane the Penguin Press, London.
Nicholas, G.P. Wetlands and hunter-Gatherers: a global perspective. Current Anthropology 39, (1998). 720731.
Parker, A.G., Goudie, A.S., Stokes, S., White, K., Hodson, M.J., Manning, M., and Kennet, D. A record of Holocene climate change from lake geochemical analyses in southeastern Arabia. Quaternary Research 66, (2006). 465476.
Prescott, J.R., and Hutton, J.T. Cosmic ray contributions to dose rates for luminescence and ESR dating: large depths and long-term time variations. Radiation Measurements 2, 3 (1994). 297500.
Quade, J., and Broecker, W.S. Dryland hydrology in a warmer world: Lessons from the Last Glacial period. The European Physical Journal — Special Topics 176, (2009). 2136.
Reimer, P.J., Baillie, M.G.L., Bard, E., Bayliss, A., Beck, J.W., Blackwell, P.G., Ramsey, C.B., Buck, C.E., Burr, G.S., Edwards, R.L., Friedrich, M., Grootes, P.M., Guilderson, T.P., Hajdas, I., Heaton, T.J., Hogg, A.G., Hughen, K.A., Kaiser, K.F., Kromer, B., McCormac, F.G., Manning, S.W., Reimer, R.W., Richards, D.A., Southon, J.R., Talamo, S., Turney, C.S.M., van der Plicht, J., and Weyhenmeyer, C.E. IntCal09 and Marine09 radiocarbon age calibration curves, 0–50,000 years cal BP. Radiocarbon 51, (2009). 11111150.
Richter, T. Marginal landscapes? The Azraq Oasis and the cultural landscapes of the final Pleistocene Levant. (2009). University College London, Institute of Archeology, London. http://eprints.ucl.ac.uk/18727/
Richter, T., Maher, L., in press. The Natufian of the Azraq Basin: An Appraisal. In: Bar-Yosef, O., Valla, F. (Eds.) The Natufian Culture in the Levant II. Monographs in Prehistory, Ann Arbor.
Richter, T., Colledge, S., Luddy, S., Jones, D., Jones, M., Maher, L., and Kelly, R. Preliminary report on the 2006 season at Epipaleolithic 'Ayn Qassiya, Azraq Ash- Shishān. Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 51, (2007). 313328.
Richter, T., Allcock, S., Jones, M.D., Maher, L., Martin, L., Stock, J., and Thorne, B. New light on final pleistocene settlement diversity in the Azraq Basin (Jordan): recent excavations at 'Ayn Qasiyya. Paleorient 35, (2010). 4968.
Richter, T., Stock, J.T., Maher, L., and Hebron, C. An early Epipaleolithic sitting burial from the Azraq Oasis, Jordan. Antiquity 84, (2010). 321334.
Richter, T., Garrard, A.N., Allcock, S., and Maher, L.A. Interaction before Agriculture: exchanging material and sharing knowledge in the Final Pleistocene Levant. Cambridge Archeological Journal 21, (2011). 95114.
Roberts, N. Age, paleoenvironments, and climatic significance of Late Pleistocene Konya Lake, Turkey. Quaternary Research 19, (1983). 154171.
Roberts, N., Wright, H.E. Jr. Vegetational, lake-level, and climate history of the Near East and southwest Asia. Wright, H.E. Jr., Kutzbach, J.E., Webb, T. III, Ruddiman, W.F., Street-Perrott, F.A., and Bartlein, P.J. Global climates since the Last Glacial Maximum. (1993). University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis. 194220.
Roberts, N., Jones, M.D., Benkaddour, A., Eastwood, W.J., Filippi, M.L., Frogley, M.R., Lamb, H.F., Leng, M.J., Reed, J.M., Stein, M., Stevens, L., Valero-Garces, B., and Zanchetta, G. Stable isotope records of Late Quaternary climate and hydrology from Mediterranean lakes: the ISOMED synthesis. Quaternary Science Reviews 27, (2008). 24262441.
Robinson, S.A., Black, S., Sellwood, B.W., and Valdes, P.J. A review of paleoclimates and paleoenvironments in the Levant and Eastern Mediterranean from 25,000 to 5000 years BP: setting the environmental background for the evolution of human civilisation. Quaternary Science Reviews 25, (2006). 15171541.
Rollefson, G.O. Preliminary report on the 1980 excavations at Ain El-Assad. Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 26, (1982). 535.
Rollefson, G., Schnurrenberger, D., Quintero, L., Watson, R.P., and Low, R. Ain Soda and 'Ayn Qasiya: New late pleistocene and early Holocene sites in the Azraq Shishan area, eastern Jordan. Gebel, H.G.K., Kafafi, Z., and Rollefson, G.O. The prehistory of Jordan II. Perspectives from 1997. (1997). Ex Oriente, Berlin. 4558.
Rollefson, G., Quintero, L., and Wilke, P. Bawwab al-Ghazal: preliminary report on the testing season 1998. Neo-Lithics 9, (1999). 24.
Rollefson, G., Quintero, L., and Wilke, P. Azraq Wetlands Survey 2000. Preliminary report. Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 45, (2001). 7182.
Sanlaville, P. Changements climatiques dans la peninsula arabique Durant le Pleistocene superieur et L'Holocene. Paleorient 18, (1992). 526.
Schick, K. Experimentally derived criteria for assessing hydrologic disturbance of archeological sites. Nash, D.T., and Petraglia, M.D. Natural Formation Processes and the archeological record. (1987). British Archeological Reports International Series, Oxford. 86107.
Schuldenrein, J., and Clark, G.A. Landscape and prehistoric chronology of west-central Jordan. Geoarcheology 9, (1994). 3155.
Stein, M., Torfstein, A., Gavrieli, I., and Yechieli, Y. Abrupt aridities and salt deposition in the post-glacial Dead Sea and their North Atlantic connection. Quaternary Science Reviews 29, (2010). 567575.
Stuiver, M., and Reimer, P.J. Extended 14 C database and revised CALIB radiocarbon calibration program. Radiocarbon 35, (1993). 215230.
Tensorer, J.-M.L., Jagher, R., Rentzel, P., Hauck, T., Ismail-Meyer, K., Pümpin, C., and Wojtczak, D. Long-term site formation processes at the natural springs Nadaouiyeh and Hummal in the El Kowm Oasis, Central Syria. Geoarcheology 22, (2007). 621640.
Tsatskin, A., and Nadel, D. Formation processes at the Ohalo II submerged prehistoric campsite, Israel, inferred from soil micromorphology and magnetic susceptibility studies. Geoarcheology 18, (2003). 409432.
Waechter, J., Seton-Williams, V., Bate, D.M., and Picard, L. The excavations at Wadi Dhobai 1937–1938 and the Dhobaian industry. Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society 18, (1938). 172186.
Zeuner, F., Kirkbride, D., and Park, B. Stone Age exploitation in Jordan 1. Palestine Exploration Quarterly 89, (1957). 1744.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed