Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM
ARCHAEOLOGICAL GEOLOGY AND THE ABBASSIAN, SAHARAN, AND NABTAN PLUVIALS: CHRONOLOGIC STATUS OF QUATERNARY CLIMATO-STRATIGRAPHIC UNITS IN EGYPT
A series of pluvial and interpluvial episodes have been inferred for the Pleistocene and Holocene of Egypt based on stratigraphic, sedimentologic, geomorphic, and artifactual criteria. As originally proposed, the geochronologic position of the pluvials relied principally on age-relationships of Paleolithic and Neolithic artifacts found within the stratigraphic sequences (cf. SAID 1990, Geol. of Egypt, Balkema). The Abbassian pluvial is associated with Acheulian artifacts. The miniumum age for sediments containing Acheulian artifacts is around 300 ka (thousands of years ago) (cf. HILL 2001, Geoarchaeology 16(1):65-94), which is older than previous published estimates for the Abbassian. Deposits associated with the Saharan pluvial contain Middle Paleolithic artifacts. This implies that the age range for the Saharan likely extends from before 200 ka to after 65 ka. (cf. HILL in WENDORF et al. 1993, Egypt During the Last Interglacial, Plenum, pp. 66-105). The Abbassian and Saharan are thus most likely related to a series of middle and late Pleistocene pluvial events. The youngest pluvial epsiode in Egypt has been designated the Nabtian. Based on an extensive radiocarbon inventory and the presence of Neolithic artifacts it can be assigned to the latest Pleistocene and early Holocene.
As previously proposed, the latest dates connected with pluvial conditions associated with the Abbassian were ca. 200 ka. Pluvial conditions of this age are more likely associated with the Saharan. Paleolithic and Neolithic artifacts found associated with deposits indicative of pluvial conditions and a chronologic framework based on geochronometric measurements help to refine the status of proposed Quaternary climato-stratigraphic units in Egypt.