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Hunter-gatherer technological organization and responses to Holocene climate change in coastal, lakeshore, and grassland ecologies of eastern Africa

Goldstein, Steven T; Shipton, Ceri; Miller, Jennifer M; Ndiema, Emmanuel; Boivin, Nicole; Petraglia, Michael; (2022) Hunter-gatherer technological organization and responses to Holocene climate change in coastal, lakeshore, and grassland ecologies of eastern Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews , 280 , Article 107390. 10.1016/j.quascirev.2022.107390.

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Abstract

The Holocene of eastern Africa saw extreme climatic fluctuations between hyper-humid and arid conditions, which manifested differently across the region's lake basins, coastal ecotones, and terrestrial biomes. Changes to resource availability, distribution, and predictability presented different constraints and opportunities to diverse hunter-gatherer communities. Major ongoing questions concern how humans reconfigured economic, social, and technological strategies in different regional settings. The role of more stable coastal environments in these processes remains especially under-studied. Here, we examine and compare relationships between environmental change and the organization of stone tool technology at the site of Panga ya Saidi Cave, eastern Kenya, in strata dating from c. 15-0.2 ka. Located near the Indian Ocean coast, this dataset provides the first insights into Holocene human-environmental relationships in a coastal forest zone of eastern Africa. Integrating the new Panga ya Saidi environmental and archaeological records with other high-resolution records from nearby terrestrial and lacustrine zones, we take a comparative approach to address how climatic fluctuations shaped trajectories of hunter-gatherer adaptations through the Holocene. We argue that lithic technologies deployed within lake basins and coastal zones reflect more stable land-use strategies with less residential mobility compared to those associated with terrestrial foraging. All regions exhibit technological reconfigurations with the arrival of pastoralism, except for the coastal forest which appear largely consistent across the study period. Results inform ongoing debates into the resilience of recent eastern African hunter-gatherers and food-producers and provide an analogical framework for examining human-environmental dynamics deeper in time.

Type: Article
Title: Hunter-gatherer technological organization and responses to Holocene climate change in coastal, lakeshore, and grassland ecologies of eastern Africa
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2022.107390
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2022.107390
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Archaeology, Africa, Lithic technology, Hunter-gatherers, Climate change, Resilience
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10147319
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