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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2018 / Palaeoenvironmental change at Tayma (NW Saudi Arabia) as inferred from sabkha infill

Max Engel, Nicole Klasen, Andreas Ginau, Martin Patzke, Anna Pint, Peter Frenzel and Helmut Brückner (2018)

Palaeoenvironmental change at Tayma (NW Saudi Arabia) as inferred from sabkha infill

In: Taymāʾ I: Archaeological Exploration, Palaeoenvironment, Cultural Contacts, ed. by Hausleiter, A., Eichmann, R., al-Najem, M.. Archaeopress, Oxford, vol. I, chap. 2, pp. 61-84. Taymāʾ: Multidisciplinary Series on the Results of the Saudi-German Archaeological Project.

To date, geological evidence of palaeoenvironmental change in northwestern Saudi Arabia is scarce. At Taymāʾ, the stratigraphy of a sabkha (salt flat) provides evidence for Holocene climatic and landscape change. Preliminary interpretation of multi-proxy analysis and palaeontological findings indicates that a large perennial lake existed in the sabkha basin during the early Holocene. Aridisation during mid-Holocene times resulted in contraction of the lake and the evolution of wetlands before a sabkha formed in the last millennium. Even though the first settlers at the oasis of Taymāʾ probably did not witness stable lake conditions, the salt marsh may have served defensive purposes after the end of the 3rd mill. BCE since the ancient city wall enclosing the oasis is interrupted by the sabkha.
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