Newsletter of the Association for the Study of Language In Prehistory

Issue 26 · Spring 1996

Africa's Very Dry Spells

Another valuable communication from Alison Brooks, reinforced by several books, is that there appears to be a reason for the dearth or seeming dearth of African sites with evidence of evolving modern people of any sort. In a word or two -- bone dry. During the long period from 60,000 to 20,000 BP there were very arid conditions prevailing over much of Africa -- in the Sahara, 5000km south in the Kalahari, and even in the cool highlands of East Africa. These arid periods were long and extreme, even though some small periods of moisture occurred too. That they had some effect on migrations and adaptations of peoples is self-evident. How they relate to the prehistory we are all working to reconstruct is not yet known in detail. But there will be some consequences for this knowledge later on.

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(c) 1996 Association for the Study of Language In Prehistory