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Ancient Civilizations Hidden in The Persian Gulf?

I found this first thing this morning on AOL Science News

Theory Points to Civilization Under Persian Gulf

Hugh Collins

(Dec. 11) — The waters of the Persian Gulf may be hiding a lost civilization that could change our understanding of human history, according to new research.

This huge fertile stretch of land may have been home to humans from about 74,000 years ago until about 8,000 years ago, according to Discovery News.

When the waters around them began to rise, these early humans may have migrated to what is now the gulf shoreline, founding new settlements there, according to a paper published in the December issue of Current Anthropology.

New research suggests the waters of the Persian Gulf, depicted here in an historical map of the region, may be hiding a lost civilization that could change our understanding of human history.

Over the past several years, archaeologists have uncovered new evidence of those shoreline settlements.

“Where before there had been but a handful of scattered hunting camps, suddenly, over 60 new archaeological sites appear virtually overnight,” Jeffrey Rose of the University of Birmingham said, according to LiveScience.

“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 said.

Rose says such sophisticated settlements couldn’t have developed so quickly, which is why he believes even older settlements lie beneath gulf waters. If true, Rose’s hypothesis could offer a clue as to how and when human beings first departed Africa and settled in the Middle East.

This has long been a topic for debate, with some scientists saying that humans made the migration 125,000 years ago, while others put it closer to 60,000 years ago, LiveScience said.

The now-submerged slice of land would have been about the size of Great Britain, Rose said.

Since it would have received water from the rivers Tigris, Euphrates, Karun and Wadi Baton, it would have offered a fertile refuge from the nearby harsh deserts.

“I think Jeff’s theory is bold and imaginative, and hopefully will shake things up,” Oxford Brookes University’s Robert Carter told LiveScience.

“It would completely rewrite our understanding of the out-of-Africa migration. It is far from proven, but Jeff and others will be developing research programs to test the theory,” Carter said.

Rose admits that much work remains be done. So far, he has focused on archaeological sites on dry land and studies of geological history.

Finding some physical evidence beneath the waves of the ocean would be a major advance in proving that his theory is correct.

“We would need to find a submerged site, and excavate it underwater,” Rose said, according to LiveScience. “This would likely only happen as the culmination of years of survey in carefully selected areas.”

The waters of the Persian Gulf rose 8,000 years ago, perhaps because of the collapse of a huge glacial dam in Canada, according to Postmedia News.

This event caused water levels to rise across the world. This catastrophic event may have forced humans out of the Gulf basin and given rise to ancient stories such as that of Noah’s Ark.

“Certainly, I think there is compelling evidence to suggest that both the flood and Eden myths may be rooted in these events around the Gulf basin,” Rose said, according to Discovery News.

December 12, 2010 Posted by | Gardens, Geography / Maps, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Middle East | , , | 8 Comments