One of the reasons I find the deserts here in Oman so fascinating is the amount of archaeological sites that can be found, usually helped by word of mouth from the Bedouin. Standing next to a bed of flint that has been left by its workers a few thousand years ago. Rock art that has only recently come to the attention of those interested in such things. Stone artefacts that defy any description of their purpose.
The Rub al khali (the largest sand desert in the world) along with the Ramlat al-Wahiba are so vast that no one has been able to fully explore even a small area. One of the nice things about Google Maps is the ability to sit in comfort and slowly search for unusual surface indications or as in Saudi Arabia; major stone structures.
Load-up the Landrover, usually find someone as crazy and go look!
So being able to get a copy of this book, has kept me out of mischief for days…………..
From the Back Cover:
The contemporary deserts of Arabia form some of the most dramatic arid landscapes in the world; yet, during many times in the past, the region was well-watered, containing evidence for rivers and lakes. Climatic fluctuations through time must have had a profound effect on human population that lived and passed through the region. In this book, paleoenvironmental specialists, archaeologists and geneticists are brought together to provide a comprehensive account of the evolution of human populations in Arabia. A wide range of topics are explored in this book, including environmental change and its impact on human populations, the movement and dispersal of populations through the region, and the origin and spread of food producing economies. New theories and interpretations are presented which provide new insights into the evolution of human populations in a key region of the world.
(From the Encyclopaedia Britannica.)
The Rubʿ al-Khali sand desert, covering about 250,000 square miles (650,000 square km) is the largest area of continuous sand in the world. The topography is varied. In the west the elevation is as high as 2,000 feet (610 m) and the sand is fine and soft, while in the east the elevation drops to 600 feet (183 m) with sand dunes, salt flats, and sand sheets. One of the driest regions in the world, it is virtually uninhabited and largely unexplored.