Lucas Proctor

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Goethe U.

Grant number

Gr. 10662

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Proctor, Lucas (Goethe U.) "Human Environmental Resilience and Desert Subsistence in Neolithic Oman"

Globally, humans have successfully adapted to and thrived within desert environments for thousands of years. Following a long period of increased humidity and vegetation abundance during the “Holocene Humid Period,” the climate of southeastern Arabia shifted to greater aridity between 5000–3000 BCE. Scholars have noted a relative lack of Neolithic sites in the interior of Oman during this period and have hypothesized that local populations retreated to the coasts in the face of this climate deterioration. However, we will investigate whether mobile hunter-herder communities of the Neolithic instead had the capacity to adapt to Holocene climate deterioration through existing mechanisms of mobility, seasonality, and flexibility between hunting and herding, and that a bias in the identification of the inland Neolithic has underestimated the resilience of Neolithic populations. We will accomplish this through the excavation and multidisciplinary analysis of the site of KHS-A, located 4 km east of the village of Al-Khashbah, Oman. This project will reshape narratives about desert dwelling Neolithic populations of Arabia and how archaeologists conceptualize notions of resilience by viewing KHS-A as a persistent place repeatedly occupied by mobile populations over at least 1000 years and reconstructing the subsistence practices of its inhabitants across these occupations.