The African Humid Period: Paleolimnological and Paleoecological Evidence

Author(s): Henry Lamb

Year: 2018


From about 15,000 to 5,000 years ago, lakes and rivers existed across now arid areas of northern Africa, accompanied by extended ranges of vegetation, animals and human settlement. In eastern Africa, lake levels were very much higher than present, with now-closed lakes overflowing into the Nile and tributary rivers. While it is widely recognised that this African Humid Period resulted from an intensified African summer monsoon linked to the early Holocene precessional increase in summer insolation, its precise timing and geographical extent, especially its onset and termination, are widely debated. Vegetation feedback factors may account for differences in the rate of changes between insolation drivers and climatic response. Local factors, especially lake hydrology and morphology, undoubtedly account for differences in the timing of changes between sites. In this contribution, I will review some of the evidence for the African Humid Period, demonstrate these apparent anomalies, and attempt to clarify its temporal and geographical boundaries.

Cite this Record

The African Humid Period: Paleolimnological and Paleoecological Evidence. Henry Lamb. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444682)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20888