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The demographic response to Holocene climate change in the Sahara

Manning, K; Timpson, A; (2014) The demographic response to Holocene climate change in the Sahara. Quaternary Science Reviews , 101 , Article C. 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.07.003. Green open access

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Abstract

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 we use summed probability distributions from 3287 calibrated 14C dates from 1011 archaeological sites to demonstrate a major and rapid demographic shift between 10,500 and 5500 years BP. This event corresponds with the African Humid Period (AHP) and is sub-continental in scale, indicating climate as the prime factor driving broad-scale population dynamics in northern Africa. Furthermore, by providing a high temporal resolution proxy for effective carrying capacity our population curve offers an independent estimate of environmental change in northern Africa, indicating a temporal delay in the terrestrial response to atmospheric climate change. These results highlight the degree to which human demography is a function of environment at the appropriate scale of observation in both time and space and sheds important new light on the social response to global environmental change.

Type: Article
Title: The demographic response to Holocene climate change in the Sahara
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.07.003
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.07.003
Language: English
Additional information: © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1450029
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