Lithics of a cache-like feature at the high-elevation polje Hayl Al-Ajah inside the Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar of northern Oman
Keywords:prehistoric lithics, Late Pleistocene, Middle Holocene, Al-Hajar Mountains, Oman
In an attempt to circumvent the deflation problem of lithic sites in the Arabian Peninsula, the archaeo-hydrological project SIPO of the Masaryk University (Brno, Czech Republic) chose a depression type that is known for accumulating soil and water in denuded limestone environments: a polje (large karst hollow). The Hayl Al-Ajah (1012 m a.s.l) is located on a small plateau above the village of Sint, at the intermountain front of the Jabal Al-Kawr (Al-Hajar Mountains, northern Oman). During the 2018 test season, a cache-like concentration of twelve pre-cores and cores was found in situ (Feature A/Trench 1), in a sediment pocket that had survived on a rock terrace (Site 1) bordering the polje. Different from the surface scatter (flake industry), the shallow deposit in the trench contains blade and bladelet debitage. Despite the lack of absolute dating, the techno-typological analysis cautiously associates the soil-embedded lithics of Trench 1 (mostly chert) with a more sustained human presence at the polje during the Upper Palaeolithic or Epipalaeolithic period. In contrast, the lithic scatter from the surface of Site 1 (splintered pieces, small end-scrapers, micro-drills, etc., mostly of radiolarite) probably represents traces of shorter visits during the Middle Holocene.
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