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The Neolithic Archaeology of the South west of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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Disciplines
  • Archaeology
  • Design
  • Ecology
  • Geography

Abstract

Although the archaeology of Saudi Arabia forms the basic chronological and geographical framework for the archaeology of the Arabian Peninsula as a whole, its later prehistoric sequence is still not well-defined. The aim of this thesis is to start defining this sequence in the southwest of the country by assessing the characteristics of some newly discovered sites, and surveying and sampling them. This research will attempt to designate a function to the sites, date their material culture, and define their relationship with other prehistoric sites in Arabia. The objectives of this thesis are firstly to define the term ‘Neolithic’, to consider the characteristics of its earliest affiliated sites in the Near East, and to outline the research aims, objectives and methodology; secondly, to survey the geographical and environmental background of the Near East and Saudi Arabia; thirdly to summarize the history of archaeology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Additional objectives are to define the Neolithic sequences, to discuss the climate change and sea level and the results on archaeological survey in the region. The core of the thesis presents the results of the archaeological survey and excavation in the Farasan Islands, the coastal plain and interior area and discusses the characteristics of its freshly recovered material culture, its date, and how it supports or refutes models for the spread of the Neolithic in the Near East as a whole. Archaeological survey is also used to introduce the archaeology of the Tihama mountains and the study and analysis of the rock art and to study the interior area with regard to the chronology of the south west of Saudi Arabia. The results demonstrate the significance of the shell middens of the Red Sea islands and coastal plain, and provide evidence for one of the earliest Neolithic sites in Saudi Arabia: Al-Majama.

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