ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGES BETWEEN 9500 BP AND 4500 BP: A CONTRIBUTION FROM THE SAHARA TO UNDERSTAND EXPANDING DROUGHTS IN THE “GREAT MEDITERRANEAN”

E. A.A. Garcea, A. M. Mercuri, C. Giraudi

Abstract


The Sahara is more connected to the Mediterranean than often assumed and palynology, in particular, has provided evidence of past interrelations between the Mediterranean and the Sahara with pollen spectra from prehistoric Saharan deposits including Mediterranean taxa. In order to show human-environment relationships and populations’ strategies in response to changing environments, this paper presents a case study from the southern Sahara. This region offered a natural laboratory for the study of human/climate interaction as the range of environmental change extended from flood to drought, forcing people to cope with periodic environmental instability. When the tropical rainfall belt migrated northward, watertable outcropped in interdunal depressions and formed permanent lakes, which alternated with severe arid spells. As a case study, this paper presents the results of interdisciplinary investigations on climate changes, human adaptations and subsistence strategies at Gobero, in the southern Sahara of Niger. Gobero is a restricted archaeological area comprising 8 sites that surround the shores of a palaeolake. It was intermittently occupied between about 9500 cal years BP and 4500 BP. Due to alternating environmental conditions it could only be occupied at the beginning and at the end of the most humid periods.


Keywords


Archaeology; Gobero; Pollen; Palaeoclimate; Southern Sahara

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4462/annbotrm-10270

Annali di Botanica is published by the Department of Environmental Biology - University La Sapienza of Rome, Italy. The journal is printed by Sapienza Università di Roma - Centro Stampa Università.

ISSN: 2239-3129