Institute of Archaeology


Arabian Prehistory

This project uses satellite imagery to identify Arabian prehistoric sites and deposits.

Exploring Arabian prehistory using satellite imagery

This project uses satellite imagery of Arabia to identify structures and possible palaeolake deposits that may have seen human occupation in the Acheulean, the Middle Palaeolithic, the Epipalaeolithic, and the Neolithic. After identifying targets, these are visited on the ground and excavated, if there is surface material and the sites have the potential for stratified remains. In relation to the Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic records, archaeology is integrated with adjacent rock art panels.  

Related outputs

  • Groucutt, H.S., White, T.S., Scerri, E.M.L., Andrieux, E., Clark-Wilson, R., Breeze, P.S., Armitage, S.J., Stewart, M., Drake, N., Louys, J., Price, G., Duval, M., Parton, A., Candy, I., Carleton, W.C., Shipton, C., Jennings, R.P., Zahir, M., Blinkhorn, J., Blockley, S., Al-Omari, A., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D. (2021) Multiple hominin dispersals into Southwest Asia over the last 400,000 years.  Nature 597: 376-380
  • Guagnin, M., Shipton, C., Martin, L., Kingwell-Banham, E., Breeze, P., Graham, L., Ott, F., Stewart, M., el-Dossary, S., Zahrani, B., al-Omari, A., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M. (2021) A tale of two hearth sites: an analysis of two occupation sequences from the Neolithic through to the Iron Age in the Jubbah oasis, northwestern Saudi Arabia.  Archaeological Research in Asia 26: 100278
  • Groucutt, H., Breeze, P., Guagnin, M., Stewart, M., Drake, N., Shipton, C., Zahrani, B., Alamria, A., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M. (2020) Monumental landscapes of the Holocene humid period in northern Arabia: The mustatil phenomenon. The Holocene 30: 1767-1779
  • Guagnin, M., Breeze, P., Shipton, C., Ott, F., Stewart, M., Bateman, M., el-Dossary, S., Graham, L., Kingwell-Banham, E., Martin, L., Zahrani, B., al Omari, A., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M. (2020) The Holocene Humid Period in the Nefud Desert: New Evidence for Hunting and Herding in the Jebel Oraf Palaeolake Basin, Saudi Arabia.  Journal of Arid Environments 178: 104146
  • Scerri, E., Shipton, C., Clark-Balzan, L., Frouin, M., Schwenninger, J.-L., Groucutt, H., Breeze, P., Parton, A., Drake, N., Jennings, R., Cuthbertson, P., Al Omari, A., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia M. (2018) The expansion of Late Acheulean hominins into the Arabian Peninsula.  Scientific Reports 8: 17165
  • Shipton, C., Blinkhorn, J., Breeze, P.S., Cuthbertson, P., Drake, N., Groucutt, H.S., Jennings, R.P., Parton, A., Scerri, E., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D.  (2018) Acheulean technology and landscape use at Dawadmi, central Arabia.  PLOS One 13: e0200497
  • Guagnin, M., Shipton, C., el-Dossary, S., al-Rashid, M., Moussa, F., Stewart, M., Ott, F., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D. Rock art provides new evidence on the biogeography of kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis), wild dromedary, aurochs (Bos primigenius), and wild ass (Equus africanus) in the early Holocene of northwestern Saudi Arabia. (2018) Journal of Biogeography 45: 727-740
  • Guagnin, M., Shipton, C., al-Rashid, M., Moussa, F., el-Dossary, S., Sleimah, M.B., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M. (2017) An illustrated prehistory of the Jubbah oasis: reconstructing Holocene occupation patterns in northwestern Saudi Arabia from rock art and inscriptions.  Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy 28: 138-152
  • Guagnin, M., Shipton, C., Martin, L., Petraglia, M. (2017) The Neolithic habitation site of Jebel Oraf, northern Saudi Arabia: first report of a directly dated site with preserved faunal remains.  Archaeological Research in Asia 9: 63-67
  • Groucutt, H.S., Scerri, E.M.L., Amor, K., Shipton, C., Jennings, R.P., Parton, A., Clark-Balzan, L., Alsharekh, A., Petraglia, M.D. (2017) Middle Palaeolithic raw material procurement and early stage reduction at the Jubbah Oasis, Saudi Arabia.  Archaeological Research in Asia 9: 44-62


  • Royal Commission for Al Ula
  • Max Planck Society
  • Saudi Ministry of Heritage