Climate-Controlled Holocene Occupation in the Sahara: Motor of Africa's Evolution

  title={Climate-Controlled Holocene Occupation in the Sahara: Motor of Africa's Evolution},
  author={Rudolph Kuper and S. Kr{\"o}pelin},
  pages={803 - 807}
Radiocarbon data from 150 archaeological excavations in the now hyper-arid Eastern Sahara of Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and Chad reveal close links between climatic variations and prehistoric occupation during the past 12,000 years. Synoptic multiple-indicator views for major time slices demonstrate the transition from initial settlement after the sudden onset of humid conditions at 8500 B.C.E. to the exodus resulting from gradual desiccation since 5300 B.C.E. Southward shifting of the desert margin… Expand

Topics from this paper

Saharan legacies : a history of environmental, economic and cultural change in West Africa during the Late Holocene
In Dogon Country (Mali), recent research carried out in the framework of the international project project "Human Settlement and Paleoenvironment in West Africa" allowed defining a richExpand
New Data on Animal Exploitation from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic periods in Northern Sudan
Northern Sudan and southern Egypt are important regions for the understanding of climatic variations at the beginning of the Holocene period and of the first steps towards the adoption ofExpand
ITCZ and ENSO-like pacing of Nile delta hydro-geomorphology during the Holocene
Abstract The Nile valley accommodates the world's longest river and shaped the development of numerous complex societies, providing a reliable source of water for farming and linking populations toExpand
Holocene human adaptation in the Namib Desert: A model based on the concept of Holling's loop
Abstract Climatic amelioration during the mid-Holocene Optimum is associated with hunter-gatherer occupation of remote sites in the Namib Desert. Subsequent changes in late Holocene site distributionExpand
The demographic response to Holocene climate change in the Sahara
The timing and development of Holocene human occupation in the now hyperarid Sahara has major implications for understanding links between climate change, demography and cultural adaptation. Here weExpand
Climate-Driven Ecosystem Succession in the Sahara: The Past 6000 Years
This gradual rather than abrupt termination of the African Humid Period in the eastern Sahara suggests a relatively weak biogeophysical feedback on climate. Expand
Archaeology, societies and environments in Africa
In Dogon Country (Mali), recent research carried out in the framework of the international project project “Human Settlement and Paleoenvironment in West Africa” allowed defining a richExpand
Lakeside Cemeteries in the Sahara: 5000 Years of Holocene Population and Environmental Change
The early Holocene occupants at Gobero were largely sedentary hunter-fisher-gatherers with lakeside funerary sites that include the earliest recorded cemetery in the Sahara, and were replaced by a more gracile people with elaborated grave goods including animal bone and ivory ornaments. Expand
Geoarchaeological Perspectives on Holocene Climate Change as a Civilizing Factor in the Egyptian Sahara
Throughout prehistory, rapid hydroclimatic changes (“wet-dry”cycles) played a key role in landscape habitability and resource availability in the Egyptian Sahara. As water sources waned duringExpand
Out of the African Humid Period
  • E. Bard
  • Geography, Medicine
  • Science
  • 2013
Details of climatic changes in North Africa are reported, showing that between 21,000 and 11,500 calendar years before present (cal. yr B.P.), millennium-long periods of subtropical aridity corresponded to transient phases of intense iceberg melting into the North Atlantic. Expand


Sediment and pollen evidence for an early to mid-Holocene humid period in the eastern Sahara
A major problem in the study of Holocene palaeoenvironments of the arid and wind-deflated Sahara is the low preservation potential of sediments from which a record of past climatic change can beExpand
Wadi Howar: Paleoclimatic Evidence from an Extinct River System in the Southeastern Sahara
Field research into the climatic history and shifting of the East Saharan desert has furnished evidence that during Quaternary time the present extremely arid western part of Upper Nubia (northernExpand
Environmental change and archaeology: lake evolution and human occupation in the Eastern Sahara during the Holocene
Abstract The West Nubian Palaeolake is the most large-scale hydrographic evidence in the Eastern Sahara of the early to mid-Holocene wet phase that affected northern Africa. It is the result of aExpand
Simulation of an abrupt change in Saharan vegetation in the mid-Holocene
Climate variability during the present inter- glacial, the Holocene, has been rather smooth in compar- ison with the last glacial. Nevertheless, there were some rather abrupt climate changes. One ofExpand
Geochronology and climate change of the Pleistocene–Holocene transition in the Darb el Arba'in Desert, Eastern Sahara
More than 25 years of geoarchaeological investigations in the hyperarid regions of southwestern Egypt and northwestern Sudan, the Darb el Arba'in desert, demonstrate that Holocene pluvial conditionsExpand
Wadi Bakht revisited: Holocene climate change and prehistoric occupation in the Gilf Kebir region of the Eastern Sahara, SW Egypt
Geoarchaeological and chronological evidence from the remote Gilf Kebir Plateau in southwest Egypt suggests a new model for the influence of early and mid-Holocene precipitation regimes on land-useExpand
Recent environmental change and prehistoric human activity in Egypt and Northern Sudan.
Abstract This paper reviews the various Late Quaternary records that are available from western Egypt and northern Sudan, which includes more than 500 published radiocarbon dates and variousExpand
Holocene Settlement of the Egyptian Sahara
by Fred Wendorf and Romuald Schild The Eastern Sahara is a fascinating place to study structures. These larger, more complex sites are almost prehistory. Confronted with the stark reality of aExpand
Cultural Responses to Climate Change During the Late Holocene
Four case studies drawn from New and Old World civilizations document societal responses to prolonged drought, including population dislocations, urban abandonment, and state collapse. Expand
Early African Pastoralism: View from Dakhleh Oasis (South Central Egypt)
Abstract The late prehistoric archaeological sequence from Dakhleh Oasis, South Central Egypt, is examined for evidence on the origins and development of pastoralism in northeastern Africa, under theExpand