Mysterious Settlement Beneath Persian Gulf
A study detailed in Decembers issue of the journal Current Anthropology has broad implications for aspects of human history. The possibilities that a lost civilization may have existed beneath the Persian Gulf. Veiled beneath the waters of the Persian Gulf, a once-fertile landmass may have supported some of the earliest human settlements outside of Africa 75,000 to 100,000 years ago. At its pinnacle, this landmass which is now below the Gulf would have been about the size of the British Isle and then as the Persian Gulf expanded the land mass began to shrink. Then around 8,000 years ago the land would have been swallowed up by the Indian Ocean. Chief researcher of the study Jeffery Rose a archaeologist at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. states that scientist have debated over when early modern humans migrated from Africa with dates as early as 125,000 to as recently as 60,000 years ago 9 the recent date is currently accepted paradigm).
Robert Carter of Oxford Brookes University in the U. K. noted " It would completely rewrite our understanding of the out of Africa migration. I think Jeff's theory will shake things up,it is far from proven, but Jeff and others will be developing research programs to test the theory". Viktor Cerny of the Archaeogenetics Laboratory the Institute of Archaeology in Prague called Roses findings an "excellent theory", though he also points out the need for more research to confirm it. Roses findings have sparked discussion among researchers including Carter and Cerny who were allowed to provide a critique with in the research paper about who exactly the humans were who occupied the Gulf basin.
Within the study Rose suggest that " Given the presence of Neanderthal communities in the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers as well as in the eastern Mediterranean region, this may very well have been the contact zone between Neanderthals and moderns". In fact, recent evidence from the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome suggest interbreeding, meaning we are part caveman. This Gulf Oasis would have been a shallow inland valley like bowl which was exposed from about 75,000 years ago until 8,000 years ago, and this formed the southern tip of the fertile crescent according to the geological sea-level records. This area would have been an ideal refuge from the harsh desert encircling it. The Tigris, Euphrates, Karun, and Wadi Baton rivers supplied fresh water to this area and this was backed up by bubbling spring aquifers Rose said. So during the last ice age when conditions beyond this area were at its driest this area would have been at it largest. Factually speaking the past years archaeologist have excavated evidence of a series of human settlements along the shores of the Gulf dating to about 7,500 years ago. In the study Rose noted " Where before there had been a handful of scattered hunting camps suddenly over 60 new archaeological sites appear virtually over night." 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 has postulated rather than quickly evolving settlements, precursor populations did exist but have remained hidden beneath the Gulf ." 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". "These new colonist 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" Rose said.
But one question must be asked, can a ironclad case be presented with the evidence available? Well as our favorite archaeologist Prof. Henry Jones Jr. says " Archaeology is the search for facts not truths" and here are the facts. A new archaeological site called Jebel Faya 1 was discovered four years ago with in the gulf basin. On this site Hans-Peter Uerpmann of the University of Tubingen in Germany found three different Paleolithic settlements occurring from about 125,000 to 25,000 years ago. These settlements and other archaeological sites Rose said indicates that early early human groups were living around the Gulf basin throughout the late Pleistocene ". While locating, mapping, and verifying these sites within the basin is all well and good to make the case for such human occupation during the Paleolithic or early stone age, of the now submerged landmass, Rose said
"Scientist would need to find any evidence of stone tools scattered under the Gulf. As for the Neolithic it would be wonderful to find some evidence for human built structures, dated to that time period in the Gulf".
Carter said in order to make a solid case " we would need to find a submerged site, and excavate it underwater. This would likely only happen as the culmination of years of survey in carefully selected areas". Cerny said a sealed tight case could be made with" some fossils of the anatomically modern humans some 100,000 years old found in South Arabia." Edmund Spencer once stated " all myths have a basis in facts" and that is present here too, Rose pointed out" Nearly every civilization living in Southern Mesopotamia has told some form of the flood myth". While the names might change, the content and structure are consistent from 2,500 B.C. with the Epic of Gilgamesh to the Genesis account of the Noah story to the Qur amic version". Perhaps evidence beneath the Gulf will be found but with what we have as available evidence Rose summed it up this way " If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family Anatidae on our hands". to quote Douglas Adams.