Researchers claim that previously undiscovered evidence of early humans living in “lablet tubes” may close gaps in historical accounts.

Researchers claim that previously undiscovered evidence of early humans living in “lablet tubes” may close gaps in historical accounts.

In and around the Umm Jirsan tunnel system in Saudi Arabia, rock drawings of cattle, sheep, goats, and maybe goats have been discovered by researchers.

In order to avoid the heat, inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula used to hide underground thousands of years ago. When they go between an oasis and a ranch, they could remain there, according to a new research, and they hide in enormous subterranean tunnels where the floes flowed millions of years ago.

Archaeologists have discovered that Neolithic shepherds, known as the tubes, entered and lived in these enormous tunnels beginning in the Stone Age. The cooler air below the surface will be a pleasant diversion from the heat and wind. Tunnels have provided refuge for people and their cattle for thousands of years. The journal Public Science Books published a study on April 17th, stating that the herders had left behind some items and had even etched some of them into the rock walls.

The longest tunnel system in the area, Umm Jirsan, is located in the Halat Haibar field, about 78 miles (125 kilometers) north of Medina in Saudi Arabia. The age of the  that produced this structure is still unknown, although a 2007 research indicated that it happened around 3 million years ago. The Umm Jisan Tunnel is 148 feet (45 meters) broad and about 1 mile (1.5 km) long. Its passageway is 39 feet (12 meters) high.

Human bones from 150 to around 6,000 years ago and animal skeletons from 400 to 4,000 years ago were recently found by Umgisan archaeologists. In addition, the study team discovered hundreds of stone tools, carved wood, and pieces of cloth—the earliest indications of human tunnel usage, which dates back at least 7,000 years.

“From earlier reports, we know that fossils are preserved at this site,” said Dr. Matthew Stewart, the study’s principal author and a researcher at Griffith University in Australia’s Australian Center for Human Evolution.

Stewart said in an email to CNN: “However, we do not expect to find evidence of human habitation in the form of rock art, stoneware, stone structures and pottery.” These tubes have been inhabited and exploited by humans for thousands of years. Even though the majority of Arab research focuses on the surface, a subterranean setting like Umm Jirsan has enormous potential to close certain data gaps.

The finding, according to archaeologist Guillom Salou of the French National Center for Scientific Research, underscores the significance of Umgilsan and other tunnels in comprehending human mobility in the area. As a whole, Shahru said, people still have very little knowledge about the climate and inhabitants of ancient northwest Arabia, “especially in the transition period between the Neolithic Age and the beginning of 2000.” Shahru was not involved in this latest research, although he did investigate several ancient sites in Saudi Arabia.

Umm Jirsan discovered the research team while doing an excavation. At the site, archaeologists discovered carved wood, stone tools, animal bones, and human remains.

The formation of these desert shelters would impact the pattern of human migration in the region for thousands of years, he stated in an email. Around this time, locals gathered around the newly developed oasis. This creative large-scale study project’s primary value, in my view, is that it shows the long-term usage of this kind of cave—which may be a transient occupation—and their enormous potential, particularly in comprehending the context of the ancient environment.

“Arabic Green””

Stewart said that he and his colleagues have been piecing together evidence of prehistoric human existence on the Arabian Peninsula for about 15 years, mostly from locations close to lake deposits. Periodic humidity has been bringing rains to the Arabian desert since around 400,000 years ago. A prior study by Stuart and colleagues in the journal Nature states that during the “Green Arab” era, there were lakes and ponds everywhere and an abundance of flora on the land, which led to waves of human migration to southwest Asia.

However, the last green Arab stage ended some 55,000 years ago, and archeological evidence was not appropriate in the arid desert climate. While stone tools may be found in well-preserved arid deserts, Stewart noted that organic items, like as bones, are rapidly destroyed by erosion and harsh temperatures, a phenomenon that is seldom explained by scientists.

“To this end, in 2019, we decided to investigate the underground environment where organic matter and sediments may be better preserved,” he said.

Thus, scientists began studying Umm Jirsan. After surveying the region, the Saudi Geological Survey published a study in 2009 describing it as a haven for foxes, wolves, birds, and snakes. In the tunnel were found pieces of human skulls, which at the time were thought to be around 4,000 years old. However, Stewart noted that until 2019, archaeologists had not thoroughly examined the tunnel system.

Umm Jirsan, the longest lamelan tube system in the area, was visited by researchers.

According to Stewart, “We were able to determine the age of animal bones and sediments, which tells us that humans began to live in this cave 7,000 years ago, or even as early as 10,000 years ago.”

The study’s authors noted that Umm Gilsan’s archeological remains are “quite scarce” in comparison to other places where humans have previously resided, suggesting that individuals only utilize the tunnel as a temporary haven rather than relocating permanently.

Carvings of animals

Researchers discovered sixteen pieces of carved rock art in another tunnel close to Umgilsan. These sculptures seem to depict grazing settings, with basic humans standing close to domestic animals including dogs, cattle, goats, and sheep while carrying tools. Some carved creatures resemble wild goats with their strikingly arched horns, but new research suggests that these horned animals could be a distinct kind of domestic goat. These sculptures’ motifs and the varnish covering them suggest that they date to the Copperstone Age, a pre-Bronze Age era that occurred in the area between 4500 and 3500 BC.

According to Stewart, “Overall, the archaeological discoveries in the ruins and surrounding landscapes depict a picture of the repeated use of Umm Gilsan’s tubes for thousands of years.” Situated along the well-constructed Bronze Age herdsmen’s migratory path, this site “may be used as a resting place, a refuge from natural disasters.”

Stewart said, “More research on Umgilsan and other tubes is expected to add more details, but this unprecedented evidence of human habitation in ancient Arabian tubes reveals how humans adapted to life in arid areas.”The potential for these locations to close certain gaps in the enduring ecological and cultural archives found in Arab archeological records is considerable.”

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