Christine S Lane

Christine S Lane
University of Cambridge | Cam · Department of Geography

DPhil Archaeological Science

About

113
Publications
30,299
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Introduction
I am using volcanic ash layers (visible and cryptic) to help date and synchronise Late Quaternary palaeoclimate records from sites within Europe and along the East African Rift. This work extends into archaeological records, with the aim of improving our understanding of how our ancestors responded to past environmental changes during the last glacial cycle. Chair of the INTegrating Ice core, MArine and Terrestrial Environments (INTIMATE) network since June 2014.
Additional affiliations
October 2016 - present
University of Cambridge
Position
  • Professor of Geography (1993)
April 2014 - September 2016
The University of Manchester
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • Follow: @QEGMan on Twitter
April 2012 - March 2014
University of Oxford
Position
  • Tephra records of East African Changing Environments
Education
September 2005 - March 2009
University of Oxford
Field of study
  • Archaeological Science
September 2003 - September 2004
September 2000 - June 2003
Cardiff University
Field of study
  • Earth Sciences

Publications

Publications (113)
Article
The Main Ethiopian Rift (MER) is renowned as a focus of investigations into human origins. It is also the site of many large volcanic calderas, whose eruptions have spanned the timeframe of speciation, cultural innovation, and dispersal of our species. Yet, despite their significance for dating human fossils and cultural materials, the timing and g...
Article
Full-text available
The North Atlantic region experienced abrupt high-amplitude cooling at the onset of the Younger Dryas stadial. However, due to chronological uncertainties in the available terrestrial records it is unclear whether terrestrial ecosystem response to this event was instantaneous and spatially synchronous, or whether regional or time-transgressive lags...
Article
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Efforts to date the oldest modern human fossils in eastern Africa, from Omo-Kibish 1–3 and Herto 4,5 in Ethiopia, have drawn on a variety of chronometric evidence, including ⁴⁰ Ar/ ³⁹ Ar ages of stratigraphically associated tuffs. The ages that are generally reported for these fossils are around 197 thousand years (kyr) for the Kibish Omo I 3,6,7 ,...
Article
In Central and Eastern Europe, research has been focused on loess associated with a plateau-setting, which preserves distinct and well-developed loess and palaeosol units linked to orbital scale changes. This has led to the view that during the last glacial period the Middle and Lower Danube predominantly experienced dry continental climates and su...
Article
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The article presents evidence about the Middle Palaeolithic and Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition interval in the karst area of the Danube Gorges in the Lower Danube Basin. We review the extant data and present new evidence from two recently investigated sites found on the Serbian side of the Danube River – Tabula Traiana and Dubočka-Kozja ca...
Article
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The Laacher See eruption (LSE) in Germany ranks among Europe’s largest volcanic events of the Upper Pleistocene1,2. Although tephra deposits of the LSE represent an important isochron for the synchronization of proxy archives at the Late Glacial to Early Holocene transition³, uncertainty in the age of the eruption has prevailed⁴. Here we present de...
Article
Despite eastern Africa being a key location in the emergence of Homo sapiens and their subsequent dispersal out of Africa, there is a paucity of long, well-dated climate records in the region to contextualize this history. To address this issue, we dated a ∼293 m long composite sediment core from Chew Bahir, south Ethiopia, using three independent...
Article
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Reconstructions of climatic and environmental conditions can contribute to current debates about the factors that influenced early human dispersal within and beyond Africa. Here we analyse a 200,000-year multi-proxy paleoclimate record from Chew Bahir, a tectonic lake basin in the southern Ethiopian rift. Our record reveals two modes of climate cha...
Preprint
Full-text available
Efforts to date the oldest modern human fossils in East Africa, from Omo-Kibish and Herto in Ethiopia, have drawn on a variety of chronometric evidence, including 40Ar/39Ar ages of stratigraphically-associated tuffs. The generally-accepted ages for these fossils are ca. 196 thousand years (ka) for the Kibish Omo I and ca. 160-155 ka for the Herto h...
Article
Full-text available
Dueto a lackof visible tephras in theDeadSea record, this unique palaeoenvironmentalarchive is largelyunconnected to the well-established Mediterranean tephrostratigraphy. Here we present first results of the ongoing search for cryptotephras in the International Continental Drilling Program(ICDP)sediment core fromthedeepDeadSeabasin. This study foc...
Article
Full-text available
The Neogene and Quaternary are characterized by enormous changes in global climate and environments, including global cooling and the establishment of northern high-latitude glaciers. These changes reshaped global ecosystems, including the emergence of tropical dry forests and savannahs that are found in Africa today, which in turn may have influen...
Article
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India is located at a critical geographic crossroads for understanding the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa and into Asia and Oceania. Here we report evidence for long-term human occupation, spanning the last ~80 thousand years, at the site of Dhaba in the Middle Son River Valley of Central India. An unchanging stone tool industry is found a...
Article
The precise date of the Laacher See eruption (LSE), central Europe’s largest Late Pleistocene volcanic event that occurred around 13,000 years ago, is still unknown. Here, we outline the potential of combined high-resolution dendrochronological, wood anatomical and radiocarbon (¹⁴C) measurements, to refine the age of this major Plinian eruption. Ba...
Article
The Neogene and Quaternary are characterized by enormous changes in global climate and environments, including global cooling and the establishment of northern high-latitude glaciers. These changes reshaped global ecosystems, including the emergence of tropical dry forests and savannahs that are found in Africa today, which in turn may have influen...
Article
Despite abundant Pleistocene calderas in the East African Rift and Afar, and the significance of regional tephra horizons for archaeological and paleoenvironmental dating, the entanglements of volcanoes and their eruptions with human behaviour and paleoecology have received little attention. Here, we focus on the intertwined human and eruptive hist...
Article
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Lake sediments retrieved from the beds of former nonerosive ice sheets offer unique possibilities to constrain changes in the extent and style of past glaciation, and place them in an absolutely dated context. We present the first pre-Holocene lake sediments from Arctic Svalbard. Radiocarbon dating of terrestrial plant fossils reveals that the inve...
Article
Full-text available
Reconstructions of the timing and frequency of past eruptions are important to assess the propensity for future volcanic activity, yet in volcanic areas such as the East African Rift only piecemeal eruption histories exist. Understanding the volcanic history of scoria‐cone fields, where eruptions are often infrequent and deposits strongly weathered...
Article
We present a multidisciplinary dating approach - including radiocarbon, Uranium/Thorium series (U/Th), paleomagnetism, single-grain optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), polymineral fine-grain infrared stimulated luminescence (IRSL) and tephrochronology - used for the development of an age model for the Cañizar de Villarquemado sequence (VIL) fo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The sediments of the Chew Bahir playa lake in southern Ethiopia were cored down to 280 m depth in the context of HSPDP (Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project) and CRC (Collaborative Research Center) 806 "Our way to Europe" projects. The main aim is to reconstruct the paleoenvironmental conditions during the development of anatomically moder...
Article
Full-text available
The sediment record from Lake Victoria is an important archive of regional environmental and climatic conditions, reaching back more than 15,000 cal. years before present (15 ka BP). As the largest lake by area in East Africa, its evolution is key to understanding regional palaeohydrological change during the late Pleistocene and Holocene, includin...
Article
Approximately 74 thousand years ago (ka) the Toba Caldera erupted in Sumatra and its impact on climate, environment, and humans has been continually debated. Here we describe the discovery of Youngest Toba Tuff (YTT) glass shards in two archaeological sites on the south coast of South Africa, a region with recurrent evidence for early human behavio...
Article
Full-text available
Approximately 74 thousand years ago (ka), the Toba caldera erupted in Sumatra. Since the magnitude of this eruption was first established, its effects on climate, environment and humans have been debated. Here we describe the discovery of microscopic glass shards characteristic of the Youngest Toba Tuff-ashfall from the Toba eruption-in two archaeo...
Article
Full-text available
Tephrochronology is a widely applied method recognized for its exceptional precision in geologic dating and stratigraphic correlation. Tephra from the ~7.6 kyr B.P. Mount Mazama caldera-forming (”climactic”) eruption have been widely identified and applied as stratigraphic isochrons sediments of northwestern North America, as well as in the Greenla...
Article
Corbetti caldera is the southernmost large volcanic system in Ethiopia, and has been categorized at the highest level of uncertainty in terms of hazard and risk. Until now, the number and frequency of past explosive eruptions at Corbetti has been unknown, due to limited studies of frequently incomplete and patchy outcrop sequences. Here we use volc...
Article
Full-text available
Corbetti caldera is the southernmost large volcanic system in Ethiopia, and has been categorized at the highest level of uncertainty in terms of hazard and risk. Until now, the number and frequency of past explosive eruptions at Corbetti has been unknown, due to limited studies of frequently incomplete and patchy outcrop sequences. Here we use volc...
Article
Full-text available
Tephrochronology is a widely applied method recognized for its exceptional precision in geologic dating and stratigraphic correlation. Tephra from the ca. 7.6 ka Mount Mazama caldera-forming (climactic) eruption has been widely identified and applied as stratigraphic isochron sediments of northwestern North America, as well as in the Greenland ice...
Article
Investigations of the impacts of past volcanic eruptions on climate, environment, and society require accurate chronologies. However, eruptions that are not recorded in historical documents can seldom be dated exactly. Here we use annually resolved radiocarbon ($^{14}$C) measurements to isolate the 775 CE cosmogenic $^{14}$C peak in a subfossil bir...
Article
Investigations of the impacts of past volcanic eruptions on climate, environment, and society require accurate chronologies. However, eruptions that are not recorded in historical documents can seldom be dated exactly. Here we use annually resolved radiocarbon (14C) measurements to isolate the 775 CE cosmogenic 14C peak in a subfossil birch tree th...
Article
Layers of far-travelled volcanic ash (tephra) from explosive volcanic eruptions provide stratigraphic and numerical dating horizons in sedimentary and volcanic sequences. Such tephra layers may be dispersed over tens to thousands of kilometres from source, reaching far beyond individual volcanic regions. Tephrochronology is consequently a truly glo...
Article
Full-text available
Numerous volcanoes in the Afar Triangle and adjacent Ethiopian Rift Valley have erupted during the Quaternary, depositing volcanic ash (tephra) horizons that have provided crucial chronology for archaeological sites in eastern Africa. However, late Pleistocene and Holocene tephras have hitherto been largely unstudied and the more recent volcanic hi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
An increase in extreme weather phenomena has been observed over the last decades as a result of global climate warming. This project aims to investigate the effects of tornado events on the lake and peatland ecosystems of the Tuchola Pinewoods, Northern Poland. Deforestation by tornado events can cause severe perturbations of the soil hydrology and...
Article
Layers of far-travelled volcanic ash (tephra) from explosive volcanic eruptions provide stratigraphic and numerical dating horizons in sedimentary and volcanic sequences. Such tephra layers may be dispersed over tens to thousands of kilometres from source, reaching far beyond individual volcanic regions. Tephrochronology is consequently a truly glo...
Article
Rapidly deposited and geochemically distinct volcanic ash (tephra) markers represent a powerful chronological tool that enables precise dating and correlation of geological archives. Recent analytical advances now allow fingerprinting of non-visible ash (cryptotephra) over thousands of kilometers. This has opened up tantalizing possibilities for th...
Article
Here we present the results of a detailed cryptotephra investigation through the Lateglacial to early Holocene transition, from a new sediment core record obtained from Lake Hämelsee, Germany. Two tephra horizons, the Laacher See Tephra (Eifel Volcanic Field) and the Saksunarvatn Ash (Iceland), have been previously described in this partially varve...
Article
Layers of far-travelled volcanic ash (tephra) from explosive volcanic eruptions provide stratigraphic and numerical dating horizons in sedimentary and volcanic sequences. Such tephra layers may be dispersed over tens to thousands of kilometres from source, reaching far beyond individual volcanic regions. Tephrochronology is consequently a truly glo...
Article
Full-text available
Numerous volcanoes in the Afar Triangle and adjacent Ethiopian Rift Valley have erupted during the Quaternary, depositing volcanic ash (tephra) horizons that have provided crucial chronology for archaeological sites in eastern Africa. However, late Pleistocene and Holocene tephras have hitherto been largely unstudied and the more recent volcanic hi...
Article
The role that climate and environmental history may have played in influencing human evolution has been the focus of considerable interest and controversy among paleoanthropologists for decades. Prior attempts to understand the environmental history side of this equation have centered around the study of outcrop sediments and fossils adjacent to wh...
Article
Full-text available
High-resolution palaeoecological analyses (stratigraphy, tephra geochemistry, radiocarbon dating, pollen and ordination) were used to reconstruct a Holocene vegetation history of a watershed in the Pacific Northwest of America to evaluate the effects and duration of tephra deposition on a forest environment and the significance of these effects com...
Conference Paper
Tephrochronology is a widely applied method recognized for its exceptional precision in geologic dating and stratigraphic correlation. Tephra from the ~7.6 kyr BP Mount Mazama “climactic eruption”—the caldera collapse that created Crater Lake in Oregon—have been widely identified and applied as stratigraphic isochrons in terrestrial, oceanic, and l...
Article
High-resolution palaeoecological analyses (stratigraphy, tephra geochemistry, radiocarbon dating, pollen and ordination) were used to reconstruct a Holocene vegetation history of a watershed in the Pacific Northwest of America to evaluate the effects and duration of tephra deposition on a forest environment and the significance of these effects com...
Article
The record of Late Quaternary environmental change within the sediments of Meerfelder Maar in the Eifel region of Germany is renowned for its high precision chronology, which is annually laminated throughout the Last Glacial to Interglacial transition (LGIT) and most of the Holocene. Two visible tephra layers are prominent within the floating varve...
Article
Full-text available
The exact pattern, process and timing of the human re-colonization of northern Europe after the end of the last Ice Age remain controversial. Recent research has provided increasingly early dates for at least pioneer explorations of latitudes above 54˚N in many regions, yet the far northwest of the European landmass, Scotland, has remained an unexp...
Article
An open-access database has been set up to support the research project studying the ‘Response of Humans to Abrupt Environmental Transitions’ (RESET). The main methodology underlying this project was to use tephra layers to tie together and synchronise the chronologies of stratigraphic records at archaeological and environmental sites. The database...
Article
The research project ‘Response of Humans to Abrupt Environmental Transitions’ (RESET) used tephra layers to tie together and synchronise the chronologies of stratigraphic records at archaeological and environmental sites. With the increasing importance of tephra as chronological markers in sedimentary sequences, both in this project and more genera...
Article
This paper introduces the aims and scope of the RESET project (RESponse of humans to abrupt Environmental Transitions), a programme of research funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (UK) between 2008 and 2013; it also provides the context and rationale for papers included in a special volume of Quaternary Science Reviews that report so...
Article
Full-text available
Sites in North Africa hold key information for dating the presence of Homo sapiens and the distribution of Middle Stone Age (MSA), Middle Palaeolithic (MP) and Later Stone Age (LSA) cultural activity in the Late Pleistocene. Here we present new and review recently published tephrochronological evidence for five cave sites in North Africa with long...
Article
2014.Sites in North Africa hold key information for dating the presence of Homo sapiens and the distribution of Middle Stone Age (MSA), Middle Palaeolithic (MP) and Later Stone Age (LSA) cultural activity in the Late Pleistocene. Here we present new and review recently published tephrochronological evidence for five cave sites in North Africa with...
Article
Full-text available
Investigation of an in-filled lake basin in Schünsmoor, Ldkr. Rotenburg (Wümme), northern Germany, reveals the discovery of ‘cryptotephra’ (non-visible volcanic ash) in biogenic sediments dating to the Late-glacial and early Holocene periods (c.15.4 - 7.5 ka cal BP). Major element geochemistry of glass shards shows the tephra originates in Iceland...
Article
Full-text available
2015 Elsevier Ltd.The record of Late Quaternary environmental change within the sediments of Meerfelder Maar in the Eifel region of Germany is renowned for its high precision chronology, which is annually laminated throughout the Last Glacial to Interglacial transition (LGIT) and most of the Holocene. Two visible tephra layers are prominent within...
Article
Full-text available
© 2015 The Authors.The exact pattern, process and timing of the human re-colonization of northern Europe after the end of the last Ice Age remain controversial. Recent research has provided increasingly early dates for at least pioneer explorations of latitudes above 54°N in many regions, yet the far north-west of the European landmass, Scotland, h...
Article
Tephra layers are assuming an increasingly important role in the dating and correlation of Late Quaternary marine sequences. Here we demonstrate their potential by reporting a new study of the sediment sequence of marine core SA03-11, recovered from the Southern Adriatic Sea, which spans the last c. 39 ka. A total of 28 discrete tephra layers are r...
Article
Alan Robock (Eos, 94(35), 305–306, doi:10.1002/2013EO350001) nicely summarizes past volcanic eruptions and climate, but we wish to correct his assessment of our recent discovery of the Youngest Toba ash in the sediments of Lake Malawi in East Africa [Lane et al., 2013].