Saudi Arabia uncovers 350,000-year-old Acheulean site in Hail region

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Desk Reporter
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Hail Region
Hail region in the Saudi Arabia

One of the world’s oldest Acheulean sites was discovered in Saudi Arabia’s northern region of Hail.

The discovery of the oldest human habitation in the Arabian Peninsula was revealed in an article in “Nature Scientific Report,” as per the media reports.

The site, Al Nasim, contains paleo-environmental evidence for freshwater lakes and rivers, as well as geomorphological features associated with Middle Pleistocene materials.

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage began the Green Arabian Project’s paleo-environmental and archaeological surveys more than ten years ago in collaboration with the German Max Planck Society, the University of Oxford, the Saudi Geological Survey, and King Abdullah University in Riyadh.

According to the survey, the Arabian Peninsula had wetter conditions and a rainy climate in the central region. This resulted in the formation of lakes, rivers, valleys, and vegetation, which improved human living conditions and altered the spatial distribution of hominins within and between continents.

GCC Business News Artefacts Image
Artefacts found in Hail region, Saudi Arabia

Archaeological studies also indicate that the earliest living man lived in South-West Asia and that the Acheulean civilization had one of the most enduring tool-making traditions. The artefacts found included hand axes and stone tools, providing an insight into the inhabitants’ way of living.

“Al Nasim represents one of the oldest documented Acheulean sites in Saudi Arabia, revealing regionally diverse stone tool assemblages used by Middle Pleistocene man, which further indicates a pattern of repeated entry of inhabitants into the peninsula during the wet ‘Green Arabia’ phase,” according to the reports.

The site consists of a deep, narrow basin where several Palaeolithic artefacts were recovered, which are similar to those discovered at the Acheulean sites in the Nefud Desert. The similarities between the Acheulean discoveries in Al Nasim and those in the Nefud Desert suggest that this region’s paleolakes served as an important corridor for humans to travel and meet others.

Last year, the Heritage Commission discovered traces of humans, elephants, and camels, among other animals, at a dry paleolake in Tabuk that dates back more than 120,000 years. It was the first discovery of scientific evidence of the oldest human and animal footprints in the Arabian Peninsula.

Related: These ancient stone structures in Saudi Arabia are older than the pyramids