Crossing the Sahara: The Role of Climate in the early Human Occupation of North Africa

Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group
Hazel Reade (PhD Candidate Department of Archaeology)
Entertaining Room, Darwin College
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - 14:10 to 15:00

Archaeological evidence indicates that the first modern humans arrived in North Africa around 100,000 years ago, and that the region has been populated to some
extent ever since. Today, the Sahara Desert dominates the landscape, and hyper-arid conditions place much of the area at the very limit of human environmental tolerances. But was this the case in the past? Why did people first come to this region and what was the role of climate in this decision? Did subsequent climatic
change affect these people, and if so, how? In this presentation I will review what is currently known about the relationship between humans and climate in
North Africa. Using examples from my PhD research I will also discuss how we can expand our knowledge on this topic, particularly through the use of isotopic
analysis.

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