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

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

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.

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Corresponding author. E-mail address: (M. D. Jones).
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