Out with a Whimper or a Bang? Hunter-Gatherer Response to the End of the African Humid Period in Northern Malawi
The modern climate of the southernmost African Rift Valley is characterized by a single warm-wet season, which receives almost all annual precipitation. The other six months are arid, and surface water is confined to major river and lake features. In the northern basin of Lake Malawi, at the southern extent of the modern ITCZ, core records show a rapid increase in water surface temperatures peaking at ~5.5 ka, followed by a major expansion of grasslands. This coincides with the end of the African Humid Period (AHP) further north, but it is unknown what impact this change had on parts of the landscape away from the Lake. The Kasitu and Luwelezi Rivers in the Mzimba District of northern Malawi offer perennial water in the incised Kasitu Valley, with paleosols and terrace sequences that show past changes in precipitation regimes. We report new results from three rock shelter sites from the Valley, which contain archaeological and paleoenvironmental archives of precipitation, vegetation, and human response to resource availability before and after the AHP. We pair these results with data from a new Sr isoscape, to further resolve how hunter-gatherer mobility and social relationships were impacted by resource distributions, prey availability, and precipitation.
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Out with a Whimper or a Bang? Hunter-Gatherer Response to the End of the African Humid Period in Northern Malawi. Jessica Thompson, Andrew Zipkin, David Wright, Stanley Ambrose, Flora Schilt. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444681)
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min long: 9.58; min lat: -35.461 ; max long: 57.041; max lat: 4.565 ;
Abstract Id(s): 20121