Exhibition Opening: Palaeolithic Landscapes of Wadi Dabsa, Saudi Arabia

Thursday 3 May 2018, 5.00PM to 1 September

In 2015, a Saudi-UK team of archaeologists observed basalt stone tools lying on the surface of a massive expanse of tufa in a basin upstream of Wadi Dabsa, Asir Province, southwestern Saudi Arabia. Formed by the flowing and ponding of water during a period in the past, the tufa surface yielded over 1,000 artefacts. Further investigations, supported by a grant from the British Foundation for the Study of Arabia in 2017, increased the assemblage to almost 3,000 artefacts, both Lower (1.8 million to 300,000 years ago) and Middle Palaeolithic (300–40,000 years ago) in character, making it one of the richest localities recorded to date in the region, and offering an unprecedented opportunity to examine hominin activity in its environmental setting.

This series of images are from the investigations at Wadi Dabsa, where UK and Saudi archaeologists are piecing together the changing landscape of the basin, the place of the artefacts within it, and its implications for hominin behaviour and the first dispersals from Africa. The photographs have gone on display in the Common Room at the King’s Manor, University of York, until September 2018.

The exhibition, funded by the British Foundation for the Study of Arabia, illustrates the approaches taken to unravelling the history of landscape change in the Wadi Dabsa basin, and the history of hominin activity that deposited almost 3,000 artefacts at the site.

The Common Room is open to the public 9am-5pm Mondays-Saturdays. If you can’t make it to York to see it in person, you can view the images online here. There will be a wine reception and a brief discussion of the SURFACE project.

More about the team's work in Saudi Arabia can be found at:  https://surfaceproject.wordpress.com/

Location: King's Manor Common Room

Admission: FREE