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Investigating the Palaeoshorelines and Coastal Archaeology of the Southern Red Sea

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Title of host publicationGeological Setting, Palaeoenvironment and Archaeology of the Red Sea
DateSubmitted - 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 15 Feb 2018
DatePublished (current) - 6 Jan 2019
Pages553-581
Number of pages29
PublisherSpringer
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
EditorsNajeeb Rasul, Ian Stewart
Original languageEnglish
ISBN (Electronic)9783319994086
ISBN (Print)9783319994079

Abstract

Numerous palaeoshoreline features including coral platforms, beachrock and wave-cut notches are present on the Red Sea coastline of SW Saudi Arabia and on the Farasan Islands. Some are associated with prehistoric archaeological material, which has been the focus of ongoing archaeological investigations over the past decade. Dating and interpretation of these features are therefore of considerable interest and relevance to the deep history of human coastal adaptation and colonization in a key zone for the understanding of early human expansion out of Africa, as well as to the study of relative sea-level changes and tectonic movements. This chapter provides details of a field survey carried out in 2014 and presents new information on the location, geological setting, geochronological sampling and archaeological associations of these palaeoshoreline features. The results of dating are still awaited, so that some of our interpretations are still hypotheses in need of further testing. At this stage, it is clear that the most prominent shoreline features on the mainland coast are at elevations similar to those dated elsewhere in the Red Sea as belonging to MIS 5e, and that in at least one exposure Middle Stone Age artefacts can be stratigraphically linked with this period of high sea level. On the Farasan Islands, coral platforms have undergone more variable and localised rates of movement associated with salt tectonics. We set out the field data in support of these interpretations and consider their wider archaeological and tectonic implications.

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