Rose has plotted some 60 new archaeological sites that appear on the shores of the Gulf after this event, where previously there had only been a handful of scattered hunting camps. ‘These settlements boast well-built, permanent stone houses, long-distance trade networks, elaborately decorated pottery, domesticated animals, and even evidence for one of the oldest boats in the world,’ Rose says, before asking: ‘how could such highly developed settlements pop up so quickly, with no precursor populations to be found in the archaeological record? These new colonists may have come from the heart of the Gulf, displaced by rising water levels that plunged the once fertile landscape beneath the waters of the Indian Ocean.’
Sea level data show that, prior to the flood, the Gulf basin would have been an ideal refuge from the harsh deserts surrounding it, with fresh water supplied by the Tigris, Euphrates, Karun, and Wadi Baton Rivers, as well as by underground springs. This well-watered and fertile landmass may well have been host to early migrants out of Africa, and would have provided ‘a sanctuary throughout the Ice Ages when much of the region was rendered uninhabitable due to hyperaridity’, Rose said.
This article is an extract from the full article published in World Archaeology Issue 45. Click here to subscribe