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Thesis title: Quaternary climate change and landscape evolution of Southeast Arabia
Start year: 2017
Influence of climate change on early human dispersal is the subject of high academic interest. My PhD project investigates the palaeoenvironmental and hydrological change along two major Wadi systems (Wadi Dhaid and Wadi Iddayyah) in the northern United Arab Emirates (UAE). These wadis connect the well-stratified archaeological site Jebel Faya, near the Oman Mountains, which covers a period of ca. 125 ka, with archaeological sites at the Arabian Gulf. Therefore, the wadis are potentially important migration routes.
Selected stratified sedimentary sequences of alluvial, fluvial and lacustrine deposits will be identified, logged and sampled along the wadis for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and dating in the laboratory. The sedimentological and geochemical methods will include particle size analysis, x-ray fluorescence, mineral magnetic susceptibility, sediment bulk density and moisture content as well as loss on ignition. The palaeoecology will be investigated by analysing the phytolith and fossil record and by environmental DNA (eDNA) analyses. This will determine the type of vegetation and organisms present and thereby help to differentiate between short-lived precipitation events and prolonged wet phases. Moreover, hydrological models will be generated using remote sensing data (eg. ALOS, Sentinel) and ArcGIS to identify the different catchment areas feeding into both wadis and their watersheds.
Previous palaeoenvironmental work in the region recognised several episodes of lake formation during the Late Pleistocene, corresponding with phases of increased precipitation and early human occupation at Jebel Faya. My project will develop an independent chronological framework to correlate the different sections identified in the field through radiocarbon and optical stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating.
Finally, the new data will be linked and compared with the existing literature to contribute to our understand of climate change and landscape response in the low latitudes. Based on the resulting palaeoenvironmental framework, the regions long term record of human occupation will be assessed.
Palaeoenvironmental change, Wadi systems, Sedimentology, Geochemistry, GIS, OSL, Arabia, Human dispersal
Geoarchaeology, Geomorphology, Geochronology, Quaternary