Lost civilization under Persian Gulf?Quote
In recent years, archaeologists have turned up evidence of a wave of human settlements along the shores of the Gulf dating to about 7,500 years ago. 'Where before there had been but a handful of scattered hunting camps, suddenly, over 60 new archaeological sites appear virtually overnight.' Rose said. '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.'....
'Perhaps it is no coincidence that the founding of such remarkably well developed communities along the shoreline corresponds with the flooding of the Persian Gulf basin around 8,000 years ago,' Rose said. '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.'
New Light on Human Prehistory in the Persian Gulf Oasis.
Of particular note is that the cultural that suddenly appears along the Gulf shores are distinctly Ubaid which I have talked about often as the civilization that directly preceding the Sumerians.
There is a noticeable spike in settlement activity around the shoreline of the Gulf between 8,500 and 6,000 years ago,
depicted in Stage IV of figure 5. In particular, the millennium lasting from 7500 to 6500 cal BP witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of archaeological sites around the basin from approximately 10 to more than 60 (Beech and Shepherd 2001; Beech et al. 2005; Biagi 2006; Carter 2006; Diedrich 2006; Haerinck 2007; Howard Carter 1972; Inizan 1978,
1980; Masry 1997; McClure and Al-Shaikh 1993; Uerpmann and Uerpmann 1996). Although part of that jump in settlement may be a shift from ephemeral hunting camps to more sedentary occupations with permanent architectural structures, thus, greater archaeological visibility, other indications in the material record suggest that the inhabitants of the region underwent a fundamental demographic transformation.
Middle Holocene sites around the Gulf are distinguished by the appearance of Mesopotamian-style plain and painted pottery called '"Ubaid ware." Stylistically, ceramics from these sites fall within the 'Ubaid 3 to 'Ubaid 5 archaeological phases
(Oates 1983). A recent appraisal of 'Ubaid ceramics around the Gulf places almost all of these assemblages within the
'Ubaid 3 period; 10 only a few sites possess a subsequent 'Ubaid 4 element, and just two findspots in Qatar and Bahrain have a final 'Ubaid 5 component (Carter, forthcoming). Carter's reinterpretation of the material record is significant, suggesting that the introduction of 'Ubaid-related sites in eastern Arabia falls within a single millennium. Even more critical to the thesis of this paper, there is only one stratified 'Ubaid-related site in eastern Arabia, Ain Qannas, that has an underlying archaeological horizon (Masry 1997), implying that all other 'Ubaid-related sites were established on previously unsettled land. This is corroborated by the associated lithic assemblages, in which 'Ubaid ceramics are consistently found with ABT lithic artifacts but never in conjunction with the earlier Fasad facies.
Long-distance trade is another primary feature of 'Ubaid-related settlements. The presence of 'Ubaid pottery exported
from southern Mesopotamia as far as the Strait of Hormuz demonstrates the existence of trade networks operating across
more than 1,000 km. In exchange for Mesopotamian pottery,Carter (2006) proposes a variety of eastern Arabian exports
including pearls, shell beads, chert, livestock, and fish. The author argues that the widespread distribution of 'Ubaid pottery at both larger settlements and more peripheral encampments, as well as ceramic vessels exported from several
manufacturing locations in southern Mesopotamia, suggests that "this was more than an aggregate of opportunistic exchanges, but was a mature, stable and structured system that persisted for many generations" (Carter, forthcoming). The Gulf Oasis hypothesis supplies a parsimonious explanation for the introduction of an already developed trade network in the Middle Holocene, allowing for an incipient interaction sphere that had begun to form around Terminal Pleistocene-Early Holocene waterways within the basin.
Trade was conducted up and down the Gulf via reed-bundle boats. Direct evidence for boat-building was discovered at the sometimes referred to in the literature as 'Ubaid 2/3 or early 'Ubaid 'Ubaid 3 period site of H3 in Kuwait, dated to 7500-7000 cal BP. Excavators report finding bitumen fragments with reed impressions and barnacles, a small clay replica of a reed-bundle boat, and a painted clay disc depicting a boat with masts (Carter 2006). Although there is indirect evidence for maritime exchange networks as early as 12,000 years ago in the Aegean (e.g., Broodbank 2006), the bitumen fragments at H3 represent the oldest physical remains from a seafaring vessel; moreover, the masts shown on the painted clay disc are the earliest indication for the use of the sail. Indirect evidence for seafaring was discovered at the site of Marawah off the coast of Abu Dhabi. Domesticated faunal remains were discovered on the island that could only have been transported there via boat (Beech et al. 2005). This unique development of advanced nautical technology around the Gulf is yet further evidence as to the level of complexity 'Ubaid-related groups had already achieved before becoming archaeologically visible along the newly configured Middle Holocene shoreline during the 'Ubaid 3 phase.
Perhaps the most revolutionary characteristic of these new Middle Holocene settlements is the shift in food procurement.
Domesticated sheep, goat, and cattle first appear in the archaeological record at this time, along with date stones, fish, and shellfish remains and plant processing equipment. Together, these data signal a fundamental transition from hunting and gathering to fishing, cultivating, and animal husbandry. While it is unclear whether these were wild or
domesticated date palms, a survey of the earliest date stones in the archaeological record points to an area of initial cultivation around lower Mesopotamia "in some oases in the southern fringe of the Near Eastern arc" (Beech and Shepherd
2001:86). It is relevant that the words for date and date palm tree in Sumerian (the earliest written language in southern Mesopotamia) belong to a linguistic class thought to be carried over from an indigenous, pre-Sumerian language dubbed "Proto-Euphratic" (Landsberger 1974; Rubio 1999). "
Taking into account the suite of innovative features appearing around the shoreline of the Gulf some 7,500 years
ago, there can be little doubt that the Neolithic demographic transition had swept across eastern Arabia by this time. The process of Neolithization, however, remains an enigma. To say that the material culture of Early Holocene hunter-
gatherers versus that of Middle Holocene fisher-herder-cultivators is incongruous would be an understatement. This
proposed version of the oasis hypothesis predicts that the missing pieces of the archaeological puzzle evidencing the
process of Neolithization will be found in the depths beneath the Arabo-Persian Gulf.
Other "Proto-Euphratic" words appearing in Sumerian include reed weaver, cobbler, potter, launderer, plowman, fattener of oxen, carpenter, herald, foreman, cook, gardener, smith, shepherd, land registrar, mason, fisherman, craftsman, supervisor, furrow, plow, and beer.
Regarding the origins of the Ubaid, it is unknown exactly where they came from though the oldest settlements found in Southern Mesopotamia date to c. 6,500BC and c. 5,500BC to the north comprising a vast area from Anatolia to the Straight of Hormuz. There are also clear indications the Ubaid had relations with the Vinca Culture of Eastern Europe c. 5500-3500BC near their earliest period as well.
It is known that waves of migrations from the Black Sea region to the south and south east occurred around c.6000-5500BC which has been suggested by some was the result of catastrophic flooding of the Black Sea during this period. Also at this time, one of many catastrophic flooding events around the greater Mediterranean c. 6,000BC I have noted in previous threads, is the flooding of the Persian Gulf as quoted above. Given the occupational patterns of the Ubaid in the south, including the sudden appearance of a fully developed Ubaid related civilization on the shores of the Persian Gulf, it would appear the origin of the Ubaid lies to the south as well, forced to the shores of Mesopotamia by the very Flood of which they spoke.