Feeds

Lost ancient civilisation's ruins lie beneath Gulf, says boffin

'Oldest boat' perhaps used by Garden of Eden refugees

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Refugees from a lost civilisation whose ruins and relics lie submerged on the seabed deep beneath the Persian Gulf may have founded ancient, advanced Middle Eastern societies thousands of years ago in the time before the Pharaohs.

According to Jeffrey Rose, a Birmingham uni archaeologist, recent excavations and discoveries indicate that a large number of substantial and relatively sophisticated settlements sprang up around the shores of the Persian Gulf quite suddenly perhaps 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,” says Rose. “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.”

That was all big stuff back then: even the ancient Egyptians, living along the unfeasibly fertile Nile delta and so not required to scuffle for a living as much as most prehistoric people, had yet to really get their act together back then. Rose believes that the suddenly-appearing Gulf shore settlements may have been established by refugees from a highly developed society living mainly on what is now the bottom of the sea – the Gulf having only flooded about 8,000 years ago.

Before the Indian Ocean extended and swallowed them up, Rose contends, the lands now under water would have been a "Persian Gulf Oasis" - a rich and fertile region perhaps home to humans for as much as 100,000 years before it was submerged. Unlike the hostile deserts surrounding it, the Oasis would have been verdant and well supplied with fresh water from the ancient Tigris, Euphrates, Karun, and Wadi Baton Rivers – not to mention underground springs.

Parts of the region would still have been flooded, but at the driest stage there would have been fertile Oasis islands equivalent in land area to the British Isles in the Gulf area, Rose believes.

The theory might accord well with the myths and thousands-of-years-old records mentioning a place or land known as "Dilmun", known to the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians of the Middle East. Its location remains uncertain, but some theories suggest that Dilmun was located on the Gulf coast or an island in the Gulf - Bahrain is often suggested as a possibility. If Rose is correct, the Sumerians may in fact have been talking about a place now under water.

Some theories suggest that Dilmun, wherever it actually was, may also have been the inspiration for the Garden of Eden in the Bible, as it played a not dissimilar role in Sumerian religion and the general location information given in the Bible is loosely consistent with the idea (the Tigris and Euphrates rivers are both mentioned).

Rose believes, regardless of such deep waters (cough), that the evidence is strong for much earlier and more numerous human habitation in the Arabian region than had been thought. Apart from the finds suggesting a departure from the Oasis/Dilmun floods 8,000 years ago, he also points to recent discoveries of stone tools in Yemen and Oman, of a different style to the East African sort. These could suggest that people were in the area 30 to 50,000 years earlier than is generally thought.

Rose's theories are laid out in a paper published in the journal Current Anthropology. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.