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Gobi Desert was Wet

30 January 2017

The Gobi desert is nowadays the second largest desert in the world and suffers from a drastic lack of rainfall. It wasn't always so. Go to http://scienceinpoland.pap.pl/en/news/news,410066,archaeologist-many-tho… … Polish archaeologists are getting like Polish plumbers as they are popping up all over the world. Are they doing archaeology at a reduced rate? On this occasion they have been delving into a settlement in the Gobi desert in central Asia and they have produced some wonderful results – but possibly not so wonderful from a mainstream perspective.

What is clear is that over the last couple of Ice Ages the Gobi desert has been green and wet (but not necessarily all the time or even for most of the time). It also indicates a lot of people were living in the region up until 40,000 years ago – but what happened after that we do not know. However, if central Asia was verdant, as appears likely, might this not indicate the earth sat differently on its axis of rotation (or we may even think in terms of displacement of the poles). There is a lot of evidence to show Europe was a cold and unwelcome place during the Late Glacial Maximum (for example) – but if that marks the former position of the North Pole (over NE N America and NW Europe) one would suppose climate was quite nice in central Asia – and we already know a savannah or steppe/Praire belt ran across southern and eastern Europe as far west as NE Siberia and Alaska, which would imply temperate conditions south of this also. We also know that Neanderthals and Denisovans disappeared around 40,000 years ago and modern humans migrated into Europe shortly thereafter. Is the Out of Africa theory clouding the facts, forcing prejudice per the consensus position as opposed to alternative scenarios?

Having digested that little piece of sceptic thought in regard to the mainstream position on human dispersal patterns we find the link provides us with the information that in the Middle Palaeolithic period (Neanderthals and Denisovans) the Gobi desert was laced with lots of camps of hunter gatherers situated on the shores of ancient lakes etc. The Gobi was clearly nothing like it is now. It was wet. Lots of big stone tools have been found and the lithic material associated with making them – cores and flakes etc. The sites were repeatedly inhabited over a very long period of time (possibly periods of time) – between 200,000 and 40,000 years ago. The Gobi continued to be lived in right down to the most recent stone age, the Neolithic period where millstones, stone grinders and pottery shards have been found. The Silk Road even more recently crossed a section of the Gobi. Should we think in terms of rigid poles (unmoving) and a wetter climatic episode (although the Gobi is far removed from the ocean circulation system it must still be affected by the atmospheric circulation). Obviously, a lot more information is going to be dug up in central Asia in future years and Polish archaeologists are at the forefront of archaeology in many countries. 

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