Emily Sohn reports on a drilling project that is bringing to light ancient drying episodes in the Dead Sea basin: "A dry Dead Sea before biblical times".
At a level corresponding with 120,000 years ago, during a warm period between ice ages, the researchers found a layer of small round pebbles sitting on top of 45 meters (nearly 150 feet) of thick salt deposits. Those pebbles, they announced this week at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, look just like the rocks that normally appear on the lake's beaches -- suggesting that one of the deepest parts of the lake was once dry.
Information about human occupation of the Levant and Arabian peninsula is getting crowded between 120,000 and 100,000 years ago. A total drying of the Jordan basin around the last interglacial would make things very interesting. Imagine the ancient artifacts on those beaches encased in meters of salt under the brine.