I couldn’t help it. I was listening to an interview with Dr. Jeffrey Rose, archaeologist in Southern Arabia for 18 years, and I got super excited. I had to share!

Dr. Rose was being interviewed by the Youtube channel “Sentinel Apologetics”‘s Robert Rowe in a two part interview from 2019 and 2020. Each one is over three hours long, so there’s a ton of content!

(Part 1), June 2019
(Part 2), June 2020

As I’ve discussed in a previous post during my “Image of God and Human Origins” series, I knew about Dr. Rose’s 2010 paper “New Light on Human Prehistory in the Arabo-Persian Gulf Oasis.” In it, he describes the finding that beneath the current Persian Gulf, there was a massive oasis during the last Ice Age that perfectly fits the location of the garden of Eden described in Genesis 2, mists, four rivers, and all!

Ten years later, Dr. Rose and his team have done a lot more work in the region. The current scholarship is pointing to a civilization on the southern end of Arabia (he calls it the “Southern Crescent”) similar to the Fertile Crescent that developed independently of the civilizations of the Levant. This makes a kind of civilization circle around the land of Arabia which included the Levant.

His work, along with others stationed in Southern Arabia, shows that the people group in the Southern Crescent descended from early homo sapiens sapiens migrants out of Africa headed for Australia. There were seafarers who traded with people groups that traveled all over the Pacific since at least 30,000 years ago (see, for example, Geoffrey Irwin, The Prehistoric Exploration and Colonisation of the Pacific, 1994).

The interesting thing to me in all of this is the implications for Adam, Eve, and the garden of Eden. Up until the early 2000s, it appeared that civilization and agriculture just appeared suddenly, fully formed, in the Levant, around 10,000 years ago (Steve Olsen, Mapping Human History, pp. 92-97). Olsen published this book in 2002, and since then there’s been an expansion on the understanding of how civilization arose… it’s no longer all about the Levant; the story has widened to the Persian Gulf.

From Rose’s paper, in Current Anthropology, Volume 51, Number 6, December 2010, p. 868:

There was a virtual explosion of settlement around the shoreline of the Gulf in the Middle Holocene, coinciding with the final phase of marine incursion into the basin. More than just the sheer number of sites that were established within a single millennium (n = 65), the characteristics of these sites have profound implications for social evolution in the Gulf Oasis. By the time that indigenous groups became archaeologically visible during the ‘Ubaid 3 phase around 7500 cal BP, these communities had already undergone a complete Neolithic demographic transition and were, in fact, on the cusp of the Urban Revolution. this is exemplified in the suite of features found at ‘Ubaid-related sites, including permanent stone structures, pottery, date palm cultivation, animal husbandry, fishing, extensive trade networks, and advanced boat-building.

Rose, p. 868, paragraph 3

What Rose is saying here is that the Ubaid 3 civilization that suddenly shows up on the shores of the Gulf is already similarly advanced compared to places like Jericho… but they come from “nowhere” whereas Jericho is a clear outgrowth of the Natufian culture. In other words, genetically and culturally, these people came from the South, not the North.

Furthermore, on the same page, Rose reminds his readers that “the link between flood mythology and marine incursion into the Arabo-Persian Gulf basin has already been explored by a number of authors” and then he lists several. The “Eridu genesis” account, the oldest flood myth in the region, came from the inhabitants around the Gulf. The timing of this corresponds to the inundation of the Gulf Oasis with the Indian Ocean around “8000 years ago.” (paragraph 5)

Sea levels during the last Ice Age; notice the missing Persian Gulf in the upper left corner. (NOAA, March 2020)

In 2015 and 2016, Rose and others published several papers that support this idea. In these articles, the hypothesis that the people groups in southern Arabia were local and independent from the people groups in the Levant was bolstered. These people had developed their own style in tool-making, had unique genetic mutations, and were probably there since around 13,000 years ago or earlier. [1][2][3]

There have also been some amazing work on the Paleolithic climate in the region around the Gulf Oasis that demonstrate uncanny similarities flood myths in the Middle East. In the video, Rose and Rowe discuss at length the possibility of a massive cyclone, spawned by the rapid rise in sudden global temperatures at the end of the Ice Age, making it through the Straight of Hormuz from the Indian Ocean into the depression that housed the Arabo-Persian Gulf Oasis. This is also bolstered by Bastawesy’s 2014 paper indicating a massive flood took place in the Arabian peninsula some time between 13,000 and 8,500 years ago. This would fit the description of Noah’s flood very well.

This whole line of inquiry and discovery has demonstrated incredible confirmation of the early Holocene context that birthed the oral traditions found in Genesis. In 2021, Dr. Rose will release his new book “Introduction to Human Prehistory in Arabia: The Lost World of the Southern Crescent,” and I can’t wait to pore through it.

If you’re intrigued by all this, stay tuned. Exciting things are popping up in recent archaeology that are shedding light on many questions that Christians have surrounding the Genesis accounts.

Can’t wait to share more!