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Early Human Occupations In Africa Essay

662 words - 3 pages

Early Human Occupations in Africa
Galana River, Tsavo National Park, Kenya

Research on early human occupations in Africa is challenged with contextualizing artifacts with environmental landscape reconstructions. Understanding the landscape that humans inhabited is crucial for discerning how particular forms of technology (stone tools, grinding stones, ceramics) were used and how prehistoric people succeeded and failed in their modes of subsistence. This knowledge can teach us about how to develop sustainable alternatives that balance the needs of nature and humans alike.

Research along the Galana River in Tsavo National Park , Kenya is providing a useful data set through which ...view middle of the document...

Wild ungulates and domesticated cattle comprise most of the assemblage and archaeological material is more abundant from this time period. During arid periods, wild animals tend to aggregate along the margins of the river (Leuthold and Leuthold 1973) , providing easy prey for opportunistic hunters. Furthermore, the unpredictability of the environment during times when there were rapid and profound shifts between El Niño and La Niña cycles made settlement along the Galana River very attractive. Cattle must drink water at least once per day if they are to produce milk. Riverine resources are predictable and would have buffered against the uncertainty of survival away from a permanent water source.

Luminescence is a unique tool for analyzing complex archaeological assemblages because non-organic bearing strata can be reliably dated in order to build a complete picture of site settlement and abandonment. Furthermore, environmental reconstructions such as river aggrading and degrading episodes can be understood in the context of human occupations regardless of preservation bias or groundwater reservoir contamination. The data from Tsavo is...

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