Review of Green Arabia: Human Prehistory at the Crossroads of Continents

Joe Roe
Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 24(1):


‘Green Arabia’ was a lively and smoothly run conference held at St John’s College, University of Oxford between the 2nd and 4th of April 2014. The facilities and organisation were excellent, and an opening address from HRH Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdul-aziz Al-Saud set the stage for a densely packed programme of world class research in Arabian archaeology. Papers arising from the organisers’ ongoing ERC-funded Palaeodeserts Project formed the backbone of four sessions on the environment and human landscape of early prehistoric Arabia. Michael Petraglia introduced this project in his keynote. The project targets an area largely neglected since systematic archaeological research began in Saudi Arabia in the 1970s, but which, as highlighted by Abdullah Alsharekh and Ali bin Ibrahim Al Ghabban, has recently been thrust onto the international research agenda. The central message that emerged over the two days was neatly summed up by Huw Groucutt: we can no longer ‘draw lines through Arabia’ when considering the dispersal of modern humans. The peninsula, linking Africa to Europe and Asia, was a critical nexus in early prehistory and demands the close attention of archaeologists in years to come.

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