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Palaeoenvironmental change at Tayma (NW Saudi Arabia) as inferred from sabkha infill

TitlePalaeoenvironmental change at Tayma (NW Saudi Arabia) as inferred from sabkha infill
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsEngel, M, Klasen, N, Ginau, A, Patzke, M, Pint, A, Frenzel, P, Brückner, H
Book TitleTaym{\={a}}ʾ I: Archaeological Exploration, Palaeoenvironment, Cultural Contacts
Series TitleTaym{\={a}}ʾ: Multidisciplinary Series on the Results of the Saudi-German Archaeological Project

To date, geological evidence of palaeoenvironmental change in northwestern Saudi Arabia is scarce. At Taym{\={a}}ʾ, the stratigraphy of a sabkha (salt flat) provides evidence for Holocene climatic and landscape change. Preliminary interpretation of multi-proxy analysis and palaeontological findings indicates that a large perennial lake existed in the sabkha basin during the early Holocene. Aridisation during mid-Holocene times resulted in contraction of the lake and the evolution of wetlands before a sabkha formed in the last millennium. Even though the first settlers at the oasis of Taym{\={a}}ʾ probably did not witness stable lake conditions, the salt marsh may have served defensive purposes after the end of the 3rd mill. BCE since the ancient city wall enclosing the oasis is interrupted by the sabkha.

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