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Africa-Arabia Connections and Geo-Archaeological Exploration in the Southern Red Sea: Preliminary Results and Wider Significance
chapterposted on 08.12.2020, 03:28 by Geoff Bailey, Dimitris Sakellariou, Abdullah Alsharekh, Salem Al Nomani, Maud Deves, Panos Georgiou, Manolis Kallergis, Stefanos Kalogirou, Leonidas Manousakis, Prokopis Mantopoulos, Matthew Meredith-Williams, Garry Momber, Ioannis Morfis, Ioannis Pampidis, Ioannis Panagiotopoulos, Panagiotis Renieris, Grigoris Rousakis, Vasilis Stasinos, Spyros Stavrakakis
© Springer International Publishing AG 2017.
We report on a preliminary exploration of the submerged landscapes in the Saudi Arabian sector of the southern Red Sea aboard the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) Research Vessel, AEGAEO, in May–June 2013. The survey sampled areas of the continental shelf down to the shelf margin at ~130 m depth in the vicinity of the Farasan Islands and combined high resolution acoustic techniques with sediment coring to reconstruct features of the now-submerged landscape of potential archaeological significance, including geological structure, topography, palaeoenvironment, and sea-level change. The region is currently of wide interest and significance: to archaeologists because it is currently regarded as one of the primary pathways of dispersal for early human populations expanding out of Africa during the Pleistocene, in which the extensive but now-submerged shelf region may have played a key role; and to marine geoscientists because the Red Sea offers unusual opportunities as a ‘laboratory’ for investigating Pleistocene sea-level change. Preliminary results indicate that the submerged landscape was characterised by a complex topography with fault-bounded valleys and deep basins, some of which may have hosted, at least intermittently, fresh water during periods of lowered sea level.