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The Arabian Corridor Migration Model: archaeological evidence for hominin dispersals into Oman during the Middle and Upper Pleistocene

Jeffrey Rose
Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies
Vol. 37, Papers from the fortieth meeting of the Seminar for Arabian Studies held in London, 27-29 July 2006 (2007), pp. 219-237
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41224068
Page Count: 19
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The Arabian Corridor Migration Model: archaeological evidence for hominin dispersals into Oman during the Middle and Upper Pleistocene
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Abstract

Studies of mitochondrial DNA haplogroup M suggest the Eurasian lineage of modern humans branched from an ancestral African population sometime between c. 70,000 and 40,000 years ago. The primary route of migration out of Africa was across the Bab al-Mandeb Strait at the southern end of the Red Sea. Until now, Palaeolithic archaeology in South Arabia has been terra incognita, and therefore these genetic data cannot be verified. Fieldwork conducted by the Central Oman Pleistocene Research programme between 2002 and 2006 has documented and sampled several new Palaeolithic sites. Lithic assemblages from these find spots show techno-typological affinities to industries in the Horn of Africa, the Levant, and India, underscoring Arabia's role as a nexus between continents. Archaeological material from Oman suggests there were a series of hunter-gatherer range expansions into southern Arabia from all three réfugia over the last quarter of a million years. Some of these assemblages may correlate with the predicted divergence of haplogroup M; however, the technology and distribution of these sites imply the M0 founder population came from somewhere east of the Arabian Peninsula, contrary to the traditional out-of-Africa model. Given the palaeo-environmental and genetic data, early humans with the mtDNA haplogroup M marker may have originated in the Arabo-Persian Gulf basin or Indian subcontinent.

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