Archeologists in Saudi Arabia recently found evidence of early human migrations from Africa to Arabia beginning about 400,000 years ago after finding the remains of stone tools and fossilized animal bones within layers of dry lakes in the al-Nufud desert northwest of the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia’s Heritage Commission revealed the migrations were repeated over multiple time periods dating back 300,000, 200,000, 130,000-75,000 and 55,000 years, representing the longest record of early human presence in Arabia.
The discoveries were the result of efforts by a Saudi international mission in partnership with specialists from the Heritage Commission, the Max Planck Institute of Germany, King Saud University, and several distinguished international universities and research centers.
At the site of Khall Umayshan, on the outskirts of Tabuk region, artifacts dating back around 400,000 years were found, including Acheulean axes, which are considered the oldest dated archaeological remains in Arabia.
Eminent scientific journal Nature published a study that examined the history of several layers of sediment from the ancient lakes at the sites of Jubbah and Khall Umayshan in the al-Nufud desert, representing rainy periods experienced by Arabia. The study revealed the various stages of human presence in the area, and the characteristic differences among the inhabitants as evidenced by the archaeological remains of each period, including the emergence of new stone industries.
“The site of the al-Nufud desert's Khall Umayshan, on the outskirts of Tabuk region, is considered a unique archaeological site of Arabia owing to its multiple archaeological layers containing environmental information from different periods. A study of the deepest layer at the site, which dates back around 400,000 years, revealed Acheulean axes, which are the oldest dated archaeological remains in Arabia. The layer above it contained small stone axes dating about 300,000 years,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Above this layer, stone tools as well as the first indications of the manufacturing technique known as Levallois, which was dated back to 200,000 years ago were found. The following two layers, dated at 125,000-75,000 and 55,000 years were distinguished by a distinctive Levalloisian technique.