Article

Holocene palaeoenvironments inferred from a sedimentary sequence in the Tsoaing River Basin, western Lesotho

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Abstract

The paper presents a sedimentological, palynological, and phytolith record from a 13 m deep Holocene sedimentary sequence, located in the Tsoaing River valley, southwestern Lesotho. Six conventional radiocarbon and two AMS dates provide a relatively high resolution Holocene record for the sedimentary sequence, ranging from ca. 12 000 to 4000 years BP. Pollen is absent in the upper section but present in the lower 2 m, confirming terminal Pleistocene/Holocene conditions reported in previous published pollen and charcoal records from the region. The absence of pollen in the upper layers of ca. 9000 years BP and younger suggests that conditions over southwestern Lesotho throughout much of the Holocene was typified by a seasonal climate that prevented long-term preservation of plant remains, although other plant material like robust spores, microscopic charcoal, and phytoliths withstood oxidation. Sedimentological and phytolith results suggest that the period from ca. 8600 to 8450 years BP experienced rapid environmental change towards drier conditions. Phases of chemical disintegration with organic input (including local swamp phytoliths) are suggested at ca. 7000 years BP and again after 4500 years BP.

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... Further research has interpreted conspicuous debris ridges on the south-facing aspect of the Sekhokong Range as small glacial moraines (Mills et al., 2009). While these past studies have provided valuable information on contemporary geo-ecological stresses and some insights into past environments in the region, no biological proxies have yet been investigated in these records, limiting their interpretative capacity and potential for regional corroboration (Grab et al., 2005;Fitchett et al., 2016). ...
... Detailed multi-proxy, temporally continuous palaeoenvironmental studies have been encouraged for eastern Lesotho (Mitchell, 1992;Grab et al., 2005). With precipitation exceeding evaporation, the catchment is hydrologically important, supplying regional water transfer schemes (Zunckel, 2003;Haas et al., 2010). ...
... Sediment was extracted horizontally from a gully side-wall following methods employed by Grab et al. (2005) at a minimum sampling frequency of 5 cm, spanning a total depth of 5.03 m (Fig. 2). Bulk organic material from 11 samples obtained from relatively equally spaced depths throughout the profile was radiocarbon dated using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) by Beta Analytic (Table 1). ...
Article
The eastern Lesotho Highlands host an array of periglacial and glacial geomorphic features. Their analysis has provided past climate interpretations predominantly for cold periods, yet no multi-proxy temporally continuous palaeoenvironmental records exist. This study presents a palaeoenvironmental reconstruction based on sedimentary characteristics, fossil pollen and diatoms from an alpine wetland located in the Sekhokong Mountain Range. The record commences in the late Pleistocene with a wet period from ?16?450 to 14?440 cal a BP, interrupted by dry conditions from ?16?350 to 15?870?cal a BP. From ?14 150 to 8560 cal a BP, drier conditions are inferred, slowly transitioning to warmer, wetter conditions. Warmer, dry conditions are inferred for ?8560?7430?cal a BP, followed by cold, wet conditions from ?7280 to 6560?cal a BP. A dry, warmer period occurs from ?6560 to 3640?cal a BP indicated by pollen, diatom and sedimentary records, followed by cool, wet conditions from ?3400 to 1200?cal a BP. The period from ?1110?cal a BP to the present is characterized by progressive drying. Pronounced cold events are detected from the diatom record. Moisture records appear relatively specific to the topographic setting of Sekhokong near the Great Escarpment edge, probably driven by orographically constrained synoptic controls.
... Lesotho provides such a study region, yet relative to the surrounding southern African countries, the late Quaternary climatic and environmental record remains uncertain and at best undefined. 3,4 Existing literature for Lesotho is based almost entirely on archaeological and geomorphological evidence that spans discrete periods of human occupation or glacial and periglacial activity ( Figure 1). Such past research has offered numerous inferences on possible palaeoclimatic changes throughout the late Quaternary in Lesotho 5,6 , but the chronological continuity and quantification of past climates lack both detail and objective confirmation [7][8][9] . ...
... 4,8,13,15 The paucity of palaeoenvironmental work in the Lesotho region ( Figure 1) stems largely from the difficulty in accessing sites in this mountainous country, and the considerable logistical challenges in extracting material 16 . However, these challenges provide tremendous impetus for such work in the region because of the unique high-altitude setting, with resultant vulnerable niche ecosystems 3,15 . ...
... Detailed continuous palaeoenvironmental records from Lesotho are limited. 3,5,7 For example, the only pollen reconstruction for the eastern Lesotho highlands 60 was sampled at poor resolution and lacks chronology, and no information on site location is provided. Fluctuations in Holocene climate have been reconstructed on the basis of sedimentary characteristics from gully exposures in eastern Lesotho 61-63 , but without an analysis of biological proxies the palaeoenvironmental inferences made from such studies remain relatively generalised 3 . ...
Article
Lesotho provides a unique context for palaeoclimatic research. The small country is entirely landlocked by South Africa, yet has considerable variation in topography, climate, and associated vegetation over an approximate east–west transect. The region has been of archaeological interest for over a century, and hosts many Early to Late Stone Age sites with occupation preceding 80 000 years before present. The eastern Lesotho highlands are of interest to periglacial and glacial geomorphologists because of their well-preserved relict landforms and contentious evidence for permafrost and niche glaciation during the late Quaternary. However, continuous proxy records for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions for Lesotho are scarce and hampered by a range of methodological shortfalls. These challenges include uncertain ages, poor sampling resolution, and proxies extracted from archaeological excavations for which there may be bias in selection. Inferences on palaeoclimates are thus based predominantly on archaeological and palaeogeomorphological evidence for discrete periods during the late Quaternary. This review paper presents a more detailed multidisciplinary synthesis of late Quaternary conditions in Lesotho. We simultaneously considered the varying data that contribute to the under-studied palaeoenvironmental record for southern Africa. The collective palaeoenvironmental data for eastern Lesotho were shown to be relatively contradictory, with considerable variations in contemporaneous palaeoclimatic conditions within the study area. We argue that although methodological challenges may contribute to this variation, the marked changes in topography result in contrasting late Quaternary palaeoenvironments. Such environments are characterised by similar contrasting microclimates and niche ecologies as are witnessed in the contemporary landscape. These spatial variations within a relatively small landlocked country are of importance in understanding broader southern African palaeoenvironmental change.
... Derived from both archaeology-and non-archaeology-bearing sedimentary sequences, they reflect the work of multiple researchers over many years, often operating in logistically challenging conditions (e.g. Fitchett et al., 2016aFitchett et al., , 2016bFitchett et al., , 2017aGrab and Mills, 2011;Grab et al., 2005;Parker et al., 2011;Plug and Mitchell, 2008;Roberts et al., 2013;Smith et al., 2002;Stewart et al., 2012Stewart et al., , 2016. Individually and collectively these archives nevertheless still contain many spatiotemporal gaps. ...
... Finally, many sequences remain hampered by chronologies (mostly of radiocarbon origin) that are only coarsely resolved or varyingly reported using both calibrated and uncalibrated dates. We have therefore (re-)calibrated the radiocarbon dates employed here using OxCal 4.2.4 (Bronk Ramsey, 2009) and the southern hemisphere calibration curve (Hogg et al., 2013), although in some cases (the Mahwaqa wetland record from KwaZulu-Natal and western Lesotho's Tsoaing sediment sequence) the dates we cite depend on interpolation from published age-depth models (Grab et al., 2005;Neumann et al., 2014). We also present a regionwide summed probability distribution (SPD) using the OxCal (4.2.4.) ...
... ka, indicates a diet almost wholly composed of C 3 plants and, by extension, annual temperatures 6 C lower than present (Smith et al., 2002). Assuming a plant-to-enamel apatite d 13 C fractionation of 13‰ (Lee- Thorp et al., 1989), this precisely matches d 13 C analysis of sediments from the same portion of the site's stratigraphy (NT21e25, mean of À23.5‰, Roberts et al., 2013) (Grab et al., 2005) (Fig. 6v). Aliwal North's pollen sequence also registers a moisture peak~14.6 ka, as does that at Craigrossie 350 km further north (Scott et al., 2012). ...
Article
The Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains are southern Africa's highest and lie at a crucial interface between the sub-continent's drier, colder, more seasonal interior and its perennially productive subtropical coastal belt. Their location, high elevation, and topography make them ideal for exploring human responses to late Quaternary climatic change. This paper reviews and synthesizes palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental data from the Maloti-Drakensberg region over the past 50,000 years. It then employs 325 calibrated radiocarbon dates to examine human occupational trends across the region and its component parts, discuss human-environment dynamics over this time-span, and explore patterning between particular phases of climatic change and the timing, mode, and motives of its exploitation by people. Key findings are that the region's Lesotho core may have served as a refugium for human populations during drier, more unstable climatic periods and that intensified exploitation of freshwater fish likely helped address resource stress in cooler ones. An agenda for future palaeoenvironmental and archaeological research is also mapped out.
... Lesotho provides such a study region, yet relative to the surrounding southern African countries, the late Quaternary climatic and environmental record remains uncertain and at best undefined. 3,4 Existing literature for Lesotho is based almost entirely on archaeological and geomorphological evidence that spans discrete periods of human occupation or glacial and periglacial activity ( Figure 1). Such past research has offered numerous inferences on possible palaeoclimatic changes throughout the late Quaternary in Lesotho 5,6 , but the chronological continuity and quantification of past climates lack both detail and objective confirmation [7][8][9] . ...
... 4,8,13,15 The paucity of palaeoenvironmental work in the Lesotho region ( Figure 1) stems largely from the difficulty in accessing sites in this mountainous country, and the considerable logistical challenges in extracting material 16 . However, these challenges provide tremendous impetus for such work in the region because of the unique high-altitude setting, with resultant vulnerable niche ecosystems 3,15 . ...
... Detailed continuous palaeoenvironmental records from Lesotho are limited. 3,5,7 For example, the only pollen reconstruction for the eastern Lesotho highlands 60 was sampled at poor resolution and lacks chronology, and no information on site location is provided. Fluctuations in Holocene climate have been reconstructed on the basis of sedimentary characteristics from gully exposures in eastern Lesotho 61-63 , but without an analysis of biological proxies the palaeoenvironmental inferences made from such studies remain relatively generalised 3 . ...
... However, the fossil pollen from the area does provide general clues of the past environmental sequence at Sunnyside 1. These insights can, to a limited degree, be substantiated by wider regional indications in South Africa (e.g., Grab et al. 2005;Partridge et al. 2004). On the basis of the above (regional pollen and local phytolith evidence), the following conditions can tentatively be inferred from the bottom to the top of the Sunnyside 1 units. ...
... The pollen section (CR1-CR3) at Craigrossie indicates increased temperatures for this interval and represents moist conditions with Podocarpus forest in the region followed by more evaporation as indicated with Chenopodiaceae pollen (Zone CR2; Scott 1989). Paleoenvironments inferred from a sedimentary sequence in western Lesotho suggest that this period represents a general transition from moist to drier conditions (Grab et al. 2005). Resolution is, however, not good enough to record any short-term variability that may have occurred. ...
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Susan Kent had been working on a project excavating an open-air archaeological site in the eastern Free State, South Africa, at the time of her death. She had commissioned geological studies, which had indicated that the archaeological horizon was in situ, and had involved colleagues in taking dating, pollen, and phytolith samples. We decided to continue with the analysis of the samples after her death and to complete the analysis of the artifacts from the site. This multifaceted approach to understanding the context of the archaeological horizon was the background against which Susan intended to investigate the spatial distribution of the lithic material as a means of identifying activity areas at the site. This chapter reports some of the results of the continuing analysis. The archaeological horizon has been dated to around 30 ka by optically stimulated luminescence. This date supports the final Middle Stone Age or Transitional Middle Stone Age/Later Stone Age designation suggested by a preliminary analysis of part of the lithic sample. Paleoenvironmental information from the site indicates that conditions were favorable for human settlement in the eastern Free State area during this period. Although the site may not necessarily be suitable to answer all the questions Susan initially asked of it, it will certainly make a contribution to our understanding of human settlement of the area during this little-researched time period of the central interior.
... Here we evaluate the application of siliceous microfossils (phytoliths and diatoms) as paleoclimatic proxies in a 16 ka old (16 000 cal. yr BP) peat sequence from Braamhoek wetland, South Africa ( Figure 1). Our purpose is first to provide a better reference basis for siliceous microfossil studies, which are scarce in southern Africa both spatially and temporally during the Quaternary (Bousman et al., 1988;Grab et al., 2005;Henderson et al., 2006;McLean and Scott, 1999;Metcalfe, 1999). Second, the results are compared with other proxy data from the Braamhoek site in order to refine its paleo-environmental interpretation (Norström et al., 2009). ...
... Partridge et al., 1997) and speleothem isotope composition (Holmgren et al., 2003). So far, relatively few studies from the region used siliceous microfossils as paleo-environmental indicators (Grab et al., 2005;McLean and Scott, 1999). ...
Article
Full-text available
A peat-sequence covering the last 16 ka (16 000 cal. yr BP) from Braamhoek wetland, eastern South Africa, was analysed in terms of phytolith and diatom composition. The fossil peat was rich in phytoliths, while diatoms were less prominent, probably as a result of degradation during wetland plant growth associated with silica uptake. With this study we present the first continuous phytolith and diatom record from South Africa covering the Late Pleistocene and Holocene period. The phytolith assemblages indicate a clear dominance of C3-grasses within the wetland throughout the sequence. The fossil diatom record infer changes in past moisture conditions. Unlike the modern wetland, which is dominated by benthic and aerophilic diatoms, the Late Pleistocene—early Holocene wetland favoured growth of planktonic species. Abundance of planktonic diatoms suggests three main phases when water depth was deeper than today; at c.13.6 ka, 11.3 ka and 10.4—10.0 ka. These indications of past fluctuations in humidity mostly provide confirmation of previously published indications of pollen, charcoal fragments and isotopes in the same core, but the siliceous microfossil data also help to refine the paleo-environmental interpretation of the sequence.
... Holocene palaeoenvironmental records recovered during archaeological excavations from western Lesotho in 1988 and 1989 include charcoal assemblages, mammalian faunas and tooth enamel isotope studies in the Phuthiatsana Basin and Caledon Valley (Esterhuysen and Mitchell, 1997; Plug, 1997; Smith et al., 2002; Esterhuysen and Smith, 2003). More recently, Grab et al. (2005) studied a sedimentary sequence in the Tsoaing River valley, which spanned the period ca. 12 000–4000 years BP. The late Holocene record was not present in these sequences. ...
... Limited palaeobotanical studies have been undertaken in southern Africa as pollen preservation there is often poor. Environmental sequences in southern Africa from which phytolith analysis has been undertaken include the Pretoria Saltpan (McLean and Scott, 1999), Witpan (Telfer et al., 2009) and the Tsoaing River Basin, western Lesotho (Grab et al., 2005). However, the records from these sites all pre-date the Likoaeng sequence and the phytolith resolution in them is frequently poor. ...
Article
The late Holocene environmental history of the Lesotho highlands, southern Africa, is poorly understood with few detailed studies to date. At Likoaeng, Senqu Valley, Lesotho, a 3m stratified sedimentary sequence from an open-air archaeological site records vegetation development for the period 3400–1070cal.BP. Phytolith analyses and bulk sediment organic matter δ13C indicate that C4 grassland dominated the lower part of the sequence until approximately 2960cal.BP when there was a switch to C3 Pooid grassland (2960–2160cal.BP). Also noted was a change from hunting mainly bovids to a dominance of fishing at the site. The change in grassland type and archaeological subsistence strategies corresponds with an episode of neoglacial cooling and the expansion of Alpine sourgrasses into lower altitudes. From 2160 to 1600cal.BP grassland became a mix of C3 and C4 types and by 1600–1070cal.BP there was a return to C4 dominated grassland. During this latter phase there was a reversal from fishing to hunting again (and eventually some keeping of domestic livestock) at the site. These data outline the vegetation response to latitudinal shifts of frontal systems, and relatively strong atmospheric circulation variability, perhaps underpinned by variations of polar water into the Benguela Current during the late Holocene.
... Phytoliths are available in many locales where pollen does not preserve. These include paleosols, alluvial and lacustrine deposits, travertine, coprolites, and dental calculus (Rossouw, 1996;McLean and Scott, 1999;Grab et al., 2005;Rossouw et al., 2009;Finné et al., 2010). ...
... Interestingly, Cyperaceae phytoliths tend to be relatively numerous in areas of high percent and amount of winter rainfall in association with fynbos and strandveld fynbos (Fig. 10), which is reflected in the geographic distribution and diversity of this family (see Stock et al., 2004). However, despite their relative abundance in the fynbos vegetation of the Cape Region, Cyperaceae have a strong affinity to wet environments and sandy soils (Gordon-Gray, 1995;Stock et al., 2004). Furthermore, the presence of an important C 4 component among Cyperaceae, make them abundant in some areas of the SRZ (Stock et al., 2004). ...
Article
The main objective of this research is to identify graminoid phytolith morphotypes with potential as proxies for reconstructing past winter rainfall in South Africa. The main argument of this study is that phytolith proxies for winter-rainfall maxima should be found among native graminoids abundant in the Cape Region, where most of the precipitation occurs in the cooler part of the year. Vegetation surveys indicate that C3 Poaceae (cool-season grasses) and Restionaceae (restios) are abundant graminoids in the winter rainfall zone (WRZ). Therefore, the frequencies of diagnostic graminoid morphotypes of each of these two groups are correlated independently with both percent and amount of winter rainfall (defined here as the sum of April-September precipitation). The phytolith assemblages used for this study were collected from soils along two transects across the winter (WRZ), all-year (ARZ), and summer (SRZ) rainfall zones of South Africa.
... ( Mitchell 1996), the western margins at Tloutle ( Mitchell 1990Mitchell , 1993) and Fateng Tsa Pholo ( position within this broader context awaits the completion of specialist work on lithic and palaeo-environmental data. Regrettably, the existing regional palaeo-environmental record for this pulse is less than conclusive, with charcoal and stable isotopes from archaeological sites in Western Lesotho suggesting cool and possibly dry conditions ( Esterhuysen & Smith 2003), and off-site sedimentary sequences, both from peat formations in the central-east highlands ( Carter 1976), and alluvium in the western lowlands ( Grab 2005: 59) indicating increased precipitation. ...
... There is broad agreement that whatever conditions prevailed after c. 8000 cal. BP, it was a time of transition into a different climatic regime associated to what is widely known as the Holocene altithermal ( Grab et al. 2005: 59). ...
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The rock shelter MAF 1 was excavated in 2011 as part of a research programme initiated in the same year, namely, Matatiele Archaeology and Rock Art or MARA. This programme endeavours to redress the much-neglected history of this region of South Africa, which until 1994 formed part of the wider ‘Transkei’ apartheid homeland. Derricourt’s 1977 Prehistoric man in the Ciskei & Transkei perhaps constituted the last archaeological survey in this expanse. However the coverage for the Matatiele region was limited, and relied largely on van Riet Lowe’s site list of the 1930s. Thus far this programme has documented more than 200 rock art sites in systematic survey and has excavated two shelters — MAF 1 and GLAD 1 (forthcoming). A range of other sites have been prioritized for ongoing excavation. Here we present analyses of the excavated material from the MAF 1 site, which comprises the archaeological component of the wider historical and heritage-related programme focus. Our main findings at MAF 1 to date include a continuous, well stratified cultural sequence dating from the early Holocene up to 2400 cal. BP. Ages obtained from these deposits are suggestive of hunter-gatherer occupation pulses at MAF 1, with possible abandonment of the site over the course of two millennia in the middle Holocene. After a major roof collapse altered the morphology of the shelter, there was a significant change in the character of occupation at MAF 1, reflected in both the artefact assemblage composition and the construction of a rectilinear structure within the shelter sometime after 2400 cal. BP. The presence of a lithic artefact assemblage from this latter phase of occupation at MAF 1 indicates the continued use of the site by hunter-gatherers, with the presence of pottery and in particular the construction of a putative rectilinear dwelling and associated animal enclosure pointing to occupation of the shelter by agropastoralists. Rock art evidence shows distinct phases, the latter of which may point to beliefs in serpents and rainmaking possibly performed, in part, for an African farmer audience. This brings into focus a central aim of the MARA programme: to research the archaeology of contact between hunter-gatherer and agropastoralist groups. Use of the shelter continues to the present day as a traditional initiation school for boys held annually at the site, which has led to disturbance of, and burning in, the upper layers owing to modern initiation practices. Regrettably this has resulted in the mixing of the upper layers representing this later occupation phase at MAF 1, spanning in date from at least 1800 cal. BP, though potentially earlier, up to the present day.
... Phytoliths are available in many locales where pollen does not preserve. These include paleosols, alluvial and lacustrine deposits, travertine, coprolites, and dental calculus (Rossouw, 1996;McLean and Scott, 1999;Grab et al., 2005;Rossouw et al., 2009;Finné et al., 2010). ...
... Interestingly, Cyperaceae phytoliths tend to be relatively numerous in areas of high percent and amount of winter rainfall in association with fynbos and strandveld fynbos (Fig. 10), which is reflected in the geographic distribution and diversity of this family (see Stock et al., 2004). However, despite their relative abundance in the fynbos vegetation of the Cape Region, Cyperaceae have a strong affinity to wet environments and sandy soils (Gordon-Gray, 1995;Stock et al., 2004). Furthermore, the presence of an important C 4 component among Cyperaceae, make them abundant in some areas of the SRZ (Stock et al., 2004). ...
... However, opportunities for obtaining better resolution were limited by Carter's coarse excavation methods and the limits of radiocarbon dating. A series of more recent applications in the Maloti-Drakensberg (Smith et al. 2002;Grab et al. 2005;Parker et al. 2011;Roberts et al. 2013) and further afield in the highlands of East Africa (Ambrose and Sikes 1991;Street-Perrott et al. 1997;Huang et al. 1999;Olago et al. 1999;Wooller et al. 2003) have focused almost exclusively on the Holocene/terminal Pleistocene. Since Vogel's (1983) pioneering study, therefore, very little research has been conducted on deeper Pleistocene paleoenvironments in the research area, and none using C 4 /C 3 proportions. ...
... Finally, Melikane's uppermost layers reveal mixed and reworked colluvial components that may have been formed during the late glacial with reworking and bioturbation during the Holocene. The higher chloridoid component is more indicative of early Holocene environments, which is supported by other δ 13 C records in the region (Grab et al. 2005;Roberts et al. 2013). ...
Chapter
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The Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains are southern Africa’s highest and give rise to South Africa’s largest river, the Orange-Senqu. At Melikane Rockshelter in highland Lesotho (~1800 m a.s.l.), project AMEMSA (Adaptations to Marginal Environments in the Middle Stone Age) has documented a pulsed human presence since at least MIS 5. Melikane can be interrogated to understand when and why early modern humans chose to increase their altitudinal range. This paper presents the results of a multi-proxy paleoenvironmental analysis of this sequence. Vegetation shifts are registered against a background signal of C3-dominated grasslands, suggesting fluctuations in temperature, humidity and atmospheric CO2 within a generally cool highland environment with high moisture availability. Discussing Melikane in relation to other paleoenvironmental and archeological archives in the region, a model is developed linking highland population flux to prevailing climate. It is proposed that short-lived but acute episodes of rapid onset aridity saw interior groups disperse into the highlands to be nearer to the Orange-Senqu headwaters, perhaps via the river corridor itself.
... Zone MP5 is marked by a complete absence of pollen ( Figure 6), which may be due to a number of reasons, such as absence of plants at the site during this period, the prevention of pollen being deposited onto wetland sediments (perhaps during periods of extended snow and ice cover) or an alkaline pH that would compromise the preservation of pollen grains (cf. Grab et al., 2005;Gasse and Van Campo, 1998;Metwally et al., 2014). The diatom composition almost entirely comprises Aulacoseira ambigua and Fragilaria pinnata/construens (Figure 7), reflecting a period dominated by benthic r-strategy taxa which are able to tolerate particularly harsh conditions. ...
... Precipitation reconstructions for other sites in eastern Lesotho indicate more consistent marked dry periods throughout this time period (cf. Grab et al., 2005;Marker, 1994Marker, , 1998. Evidence from pollen, diatom and sediment records presented in this study is, therefore, insufficient to determine whether the prolonged wet periods inferred for eastern Lesotho during this period are coincident with, or more substantive indicators of, an African Humid Period. ...
Article
The eastern Lesotho Highlands experience climate patterns distinct from those of surrounding lower altitude regions, representing a niche environment with a unique biodiversity, leading to well-adapted but restricted vegetation. This study explores changes in the Holocene composition of diatoms and pollen at southern Africa’s highest altitude wetland (Mafadi: 3390 m a.s.l.). The palaeoenvironmental record for Mafadi Wetland indicates fluctuations between cold, wet conditions, prevalent between ~8140 and 7580 cal. yr BP and between ~5500 and 1100 cal. yr BP, and warmer, drier periods between ~7520 and 6680 cal. yr BP and between ~6160 and 5700 cal. yr BP. Marked climatic variability is noted from ~1100 cal. yr BP with colder conditions at ~150 kyr BP. Notably, the first of these cold periods occurs soon after the Northern Hemisphere 8.2 kyr event, while a second period of notably cold conditions occurs around 1100 cal. yr BP. Variability exists between the moisture reconstructions presented in this study and those from adjacent lower altitude sites, which is hypothesised to reflect variations in the strength and extent of the Westerlies throughout the Holocene.
... Phytolith analysis on sediments from the Tswaing crater lake shows indications of relatively cool conditions during middle and late Pleistocene (McLean and Scott, 1999). A combined study applying both sedimentological, palynological and phytolith analysis on a sediment section from western Lesotho suggest rapid changes in moisture fluctuations during early Holocene (Grab et al., 2005). ...
Thesis
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This thesis contributes with information on past climate and environmental changes in South Africa’s summer rainfall region. The study is based on multi-proxy analyses on wetland peat cores and analyses of stable isotope composition (δ13C, δ18O) and wood anatomy in cross sections from subtropical trees. The peat archive covers the last 16 ka (ka; 1000 cal yrs BP) and was analysed in terms of fossil pollen, charcoal, diatoms, phytoliths and stable isotope composition (δ13C, δ15N). This multi-proxy record infers relatively wet climate conditions at c. 13.7-12.8 ka, 10.5-9.5 ka and 2.5-0.5 ka, and drier conditions at c. 16-13.7 ka, 12.8-10.5 ka and during mid-Holocene. The temperature signal is weak, but generally cooler late Pleistocene temperatures shifted towards warmer after c. 9.5 ka. The pilot study of Breonadia salicina (Matumi) trees demonstrates the paleo-climatic value of subtropical trees despite absence of annual tree rings. An age model was constructed from radiocarbon dating and calibration by adjusting dates to the calibration curve wiggles (“wiggle match dating”). Matumi δ13C shows a co-variation with annual rainfall amounts, suggesting that it may be considered a regional climateproxy. δ18O is mainly influenced by local factors, but acts as a useful complement when interpreting δ13C. Together with other regional, high resolution proxy-records, the 600 yr long δ13C-record suggests dry climate conditions in northern South Africa during the 1700s AD and mid-1500s AD. Inferred climate and environmental changes are suggested being a response to expansion, contraction and latitudinal shifts of the tropical, subtropical and/or midlatitude atmospheric circulation cells. An observed inverse humidity pattern between southern and equatorial Africa suggests that ENSO-like teleconnections may be a possible forcing mechanism in a decadal to centennial time perspective. ISBN: 978-91-7155-581-6 ISSN: 1653-7211
... 2 Recently, a few preliminary studies of fossil grass phytolith assemblages from Pretoria Saltpan, the Free State Province and Lesotho, drew attention to the potential for grass phytolith analysis in palaeograssland research in South Africa. [50][51][52] ...
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At the end of the Miocene epoch, C4 grasslands began to expand at the expense of tree-, shrub- and forb-dominated C3 ecosystems. While C4 grasses were spreading throughout most regions of the world, C3 grasses may have been spreading along South Africa's southwest coast. Stable isotope analyses of hypsodont fossil ungulates from 'E' Quarry, a well-known Late MioceneJEarly Pliocene fossil locality near the town of Langebaanweg, suggest that the local environment might have included a substantial C, grass component. Besides this indirect evidence, little Is known about the evolution, nature and Importance of grass in the 'E' Quarry biome. As a preliminary step towards addressing these questions, we initiated a trial investigation to assess whether sediments at the site are conducive to the preservation of phytoliths, an important tool in the reconstruction of palaeohabitats. Results indicate that fossil phytoliths are sufficiently well preserved to allow a comprehensive analysis of the 'E' Quarry phytolith assemblage.
... One limitation to this method is that not all plant species produce phytoliths (Piperno 1988(Piperno , 2006. GSSC phytoliths, on the other hand, are produced in large numbers, are very identifiable and offer an alternative method for reconstructing palaeoenvironments in southern Africa (Mclean and Scott 1999;Grab et al. 2005;Scott and Rossouw 2005;Norstrom et al. 2009;Rossouw et al. 2009;Cordova and Scott 2010;Rossouw and Scott 2011;Cordova 2013). The evolutionary history of the Poaceae is closely tied to the formation of modern terrestrial biomes in southern Africa, with the consequence that grasses occur in a variety of habitats, thus making them suitable indicators of a diversity of environmental conditions (Acocks 1988;Gibbs Russell et al. 1990). ...
Article
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Grass silica short cell phytoliths were sampled from the four lowermost archaeological strata in excavation 1 at Wonderwerk Cave and offer an independent record of climatic change during an episode of Early Stone Age hominin occupation at the cave. Linked to differences in growing season temperature and the geographic distribution of C3 and C4 grasses in southern Africa, fossil grass phytoliths were used to trace palaeoenvironmental shifts at the site. The results suggest that Early Pleistocene environmental conditions at the cave fluctuated: between wetter and drier summer–rainfall growing conditions (C4) towards the end of the Olduvai subchron and the beginning of the subsequent interval of reversed polarity, to mostly dry and cooler winter–rainfall growing conditions (C3), that continued throughout the interval. It ended with a shift towards increased summer rainfall aridity at around one million years ago. The fluctuation between markedly wetter and drier C4 conditions at the cave (NADP-me grass types vs. NAD-me grass types) does not support the premise that the expansion of C4 grasslands was always coupled with increased aridity.
... Opal phytoliths produced by the grass family are effective aids in the reconstruction of paleo-grassland ecology and in acquiring paleoenvironmental and archaeobotanical data in North America (Twiss et al. 1969;Piperno 1988;Mulholland and Rapp 1992;Fredlund and Tieszen 1994; (Alexandre et al. 1997; Barboni et al. 1999Barboni et al. , 2007Bremond et al. 2005) and in East and South Africa (McLean and Scott 1999;Wooller et al. 2000;Scott 2002;Grab et al. 2005;Scott and Rossouw 2005;Henderson et al. 2006). We restricted the study to the diagnostic phytoliths that originate from the short cells of the grass epidermis ( Fig. 9.1). ...
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We analyzed sediment samples collected from several localities at different stratigraphic levels at Laetoli (i.e., Lower Laetolil Beds [LLB], Upper Laetolil Beds [ULB] and the overlying Upper Ndolanya Beds [UNB]) to establish a record of vegetation succession spanning intermittent periods between 4.3 and 2.66 Ma during the Pliocene. No reliable pollen spectra were found, but phytoliths, especially those of grasses (Poaceae), were investigated. A considerable time interval of deposition for the sequence, combined with a relatively low sample yield, allowed us to present only a low-resolution sequence of environmental changes, but one with marked grass cover variation. Grass was a ubiquitous, but never a dominant vegetation component in the LLB, ULB and the UNB sequences, with a general succession from mainly C3 grass types in the LLB and older ULB levels to more C4 grass types in the younger ULB and UNB. The record lends support to fossil herbivore analyses and δ13C isotope studies, which suggest more heterogeneous habitats and a combination of C3/C4 grassland conditions in the ULB and UNB sequences (Andrews 1989; Kingston and Harrison 2007; Kovarovic and Andrews 2007). Productive samples suggest wet, C3 conditions in the LLB and potentially dry, C3 conditions in the lower part of the ULB. A shift from drier to more mesic C4 grass conditions is recorded in the upper part of the ULB. Arid C4 grassland environments occurred during UNB deposition. KeywordsGrass silica-Palynology-Pollen preservation-Past environment-Vegetation change
... 2 Recently, a few preliminary studies of fossil grass phytolith assemblages from Pretoria Saltpan, the Free State Province and Lesotho, drew attention to the potential for grass phytolith analysis in palaeograssland research in South Africa. [50][51][52] ...
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At the end of the Miocene epoch, C4 grasslands began to expand at the expense of tree-, shrub- and forb-dominated C3 ecosystems. While C4 grasses were spreading throughout most regions of the world, C3 grasses may have been spreading along South Africa’s southwest coast. Stable isotope analyses of hypsodont fossil ungulates from ‘E’ Quarry, a well-known Late Miocene/Early Pliocene fossil locality near the town of Langebaanweg, suggest that the local environment might have included a substantial C3 grass component. Besides this indirect evidence, little is known about the evolution, nature and importance of grass in the ‘E’ Quarry biome. As a preliminary step towards addressing these questions, we initiated a trial investigation to assess whether sediments at the site are conducive to the preservation of phytoliths, an important tool in the reconstruction of palaeohabitats. Results indicate that fossil phytoliths are sufficiently well preserved to allow a comprehensive analysis of the ‘E’ Quarry phytolith assemblage.
... One possibility is that there was a continuum in the native habitat of C. ciliata spanning from the Karroo through to the eastern Lesotho Highlands. This would be supported by contemporary populations of C. ciliata in the western Lesotho lowlands (Esterhuysen and Mitchell 1996;Grab et al. 2005), forming a relatively uninterrupted ecological corridor. The second possibility is similar to the first, in that at some point a continuous population of C. ciliata spanned the area from contemporary eastern Lesotho to the Karoo, but that eastern Lesotho developed into a separate refuge (Cruzan and Templeton 2000;Petit et al. 2008). ...
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Over recent decades, concern has been raised regarding the management of Chrysocoma ciliata L. (Asteraceae syn. C. tenuifolia) in the eastern Lesotho Highlands. This shrub species is argued to be a Karroid invasive introduced anthropogenically within the last century. Historical botanical records in Lesotho are scarce, so the origins of this species in the region are as yet uncertain. Speculation is based on the contemporary abundance of these shrubs in overgrazed areas throughout the highlands. This study presents fossil pollen records for the eastern Lesotho Highlands which confirm the presence of this species intermittently throughout the past ~6000 cal yr BP. In so doing, this study refutes claims that the species was introduced anthropogenically within the past 100 years, and of its narrow definition as a Karoo species invasive in Lesotho. The intermittent appearance of this species in the pollen record, however, indicates that it is climate sensitive, colonising the wetlands under conditions unsuitable to other plant species. Evidence presented here calls for a re-evaluation of the categorisation of C. ciliata as an invasive in the Lesotho Highlands, and more critically, for a redevelopment of the environmental management policies which involve this species.
... Understanding the role of human occupation and other ecosystem drivers, particularly in light of future climatic shifts, is a key step to appropriately managing this important watershed, and preserving its cultural and ecotourism value. Despite a wealth of archaeological evidence from the Drakensberg and Maloti Mountains, there are limited palaeoecological data available (Fitchett et al., 2016(Fitchett et al., , 2017Grab et al., 2005;Plug, 1997;Roberts et al., 2013;van Zinderen Bakker and Werger, 1974). The extent to which Afromontane vegetation was shaped by human inhabitants, in the Drakensberg and elsewhere, has been the subject of some debate (e.g. ...
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Afromontane environments are sensitive to climatic and environmental change as a consequence of their inherent altitudinal and latitudinal gradients. Palaeoecological investigations have been used in these areas to track ecosystem response to climatic and anthropogenic drivers, and have gained prominence in recent years in the context of the need to understand faunal and floral response to future climate uncertainty. This paper focusses on long-term vegetation history in the Drakensberg Escarpment of South Africa, an area with a long history of human habitation, that is internationally recognised for its conservation importance. Ecologists have hypothesised that human-induced burning during the late Quaternary may have been responsible for the expansion of Afromontane grasslands at the expense of forests, which currently exist as refugial patches within fire-protected valleys. Here we test this argument using empirical palaeoecological evidence derived from a subalpine wetland in the Cathedral Peak area of the Drakensberg Escarpment. An age model derived from eight AMS radiocarbon ages, and supported by a pollen time-marker, is used to provide chronological control. Fossil pollen, and carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses, are combined to reconstruct past vegetation dynamics. Results indicate a lack of major compositional vegetation change over the past 5000 years, suggesting long-term vegetation and climatic stability throughout the record. The pollen data show that grasslands have dominated the region, while forests expanded during the late Holocene, thereby refuting the notion of recent forest reduction in the Drakensberg.
... Совместное использование биоморф при характеристике природных [Fearn, 1998;Horrocks et. al., 2003;Boyd, 2004;Bremond et. al, 2004;Stefan et. al., 2005;Premathilake, 2006;Бабенко и др., 2007;Horrocks, Wozniak J.A., 2008;Kosintsev et. al., 2012;Daura et. al., 2013;Ackermann et. al, 2014] и антропогенных объектов [Гольева, 2008;Coil et. al., 2003;Horrocks, Lawlor 2006;Horrocks et. al., 2007;Albert et. al., 2008;Cabanes et. al., 2009;Cabanes et. al., 2010;Portillo et. al., 2009;Portillo et ...
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В статье приведены результаты комплексного микробиоморфного изучения культурного слоя городища Жанкент (XI-нач. XIII вв.), расположенного в Южном Казахстане на берегу р. Сырдарья. Объект представляет собой классический пример широко распространенных в аридной зоне особых видов культурных слоев - «телль» («тобе», «тюбе»), образованных в условиях засушливого климата и большой скорости антропогенной седиментации. В образце с межквартального пространства диагностировано место складирования навоза (кизяка), в минерализованных остатках которого хорошо сохранились свидетельства региональной и локальной флоры. В образцах найдены фитолиты из шелухи Triticum spp. Кроме того, в составе микробиоморфоного комплекса отражен пустынный ландшафт и оазис с водоёмом и сельскохозяйственными землями. Флуктуация климатических колебаний в пустынной зоне для периода XI- нач. XIII вв. проявилась в возможной смене более влажного и менее континентального на более континентальный и аридный климат.
... It is proposed that sedimentation occurred during arid climatic intervals, when decreased vegetation cover provided little surface protection and resulted in increased hillslope sediment being deposited. In contrast, when vegetation cover was restored during humid intervals, the land surface stabilized and the uppermost gravely sands weathered to form clay-like soils (Marker, 1998;Botha and Partridge, 2000;Clarke et al., 2003;Grab et al., 2005;Tooth et al., 2001). ...
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A fossilised large mammal bonebed was discovered eroding out of a gully in the Free State of South Africa. The bonebed is ~1.5 m below the modern land surface, and extends over an area 35 × 13 m. Surface scatters of stone tools occur in a 1 km radius of the site, and a large fire place associated with spirally fractured burnt bone is preserved to one side. The purpose of this research was to excavate and taphonomically analyse the faunal sample to elicit the cause of death, and radiocarbon date it to establish when it happened. The bonebed is represented by black wildebeest, including juvenile and adult individuals. Faunal remains are randomly oriented and many are complete. Weathering stage 1 on most of the bones together with the articulation pattern suggest that the carcasses were exposed for more than a year and less than three before being buried by hillslope sediment. Two-thirds of those fractured record a spiral breakage pattern. There are a few trample marks on bones and evidence of some termite activity. No stone tools were found in the section of bonebed we excavated, and there is no evidence of manmade or carnivore damage on the fauna. Calcrete nodules in the underlying deposits and phytoliths representative of desertification throughout the sedimentary sequence suggest that the animals died under drought conditions between 3840 ± 40 and 3500 ± 40 cal BP, and that human activity at the site was marginal.
... At the last mentioned site, sedimentological observations link this change to the deposition within it of a massive (up to ~2 m thick) body of fluvial silts by the Phuthiatsana River, a tributary of the Caledon in western Lesotho, something that presumably reflects a major climatic excursion. δ 13 C values for soil organic matter at Ha Makotoko (Roberts et al. 2013) and tooth enamel δ 13 C values and charcoals from Rose Cottage Cave (Esterhuysen et al. 1999;Smith et al. 2002;Esterhuysen & Smith 2003) do indeed document a cooler episode c. 8600-8400 BP, coinciding with distinctly drier conditions in southwestern Lesotho, where Unit 6 of the Tsoaing sedimentary sequence implies a high proportion of bare ground and sheet erosion on surrounding slopes c. 8500 BP (Grab et al. 2005). Enhanced erosion by more occasional but heavier rains under generally drier conditions that reduced vegetation cover and left sediments exposed may account for the deposition evident along the Phuthiatsana at this time (cf. ...
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In contrast to a rich record of Later Stone Age occupation across the Pleistocene/Holocene transition, previous research has struggled to identify in situ evidence of hunter-gatherer presence between c. 8200 BP and the second millennium AD on the Lesotho side of the Caledon River. Fieldwork undertaken ahead of the commissioning of the Metolong Dam on Lesotho's Phuthiatsana River, the Caledon's largest tributary, has afforded a means of re-addressing this question. This paper reports the excavation of post-8200 BP assemblages at four sites within the dam's catchment: Fateng Tsa Pholo, Litsoetse, Ntloana Tšoana, and Ha Makotoko. Together with AMS radiocarbon dates for fine-line Bushman (San) rock paintings within the same area, these assemblages now establish that hunter-gatherers did visit the Metolong stretch of the Phuthiatsana in both the mid-Holocene and-much more compellingly-during the last 1000 years. While agropastoralist settlements may have helped attract hunter-gatherers into the area in recent centuries, a clear contrast persists between the settlement records of the Lesotho and South African sides of the Caledon. A dynamic geomorphology able to erode and deposit substantial quantities of sediment within relatively brief periods of time in ways that filled, hid, or cleaned out rockshelters may help explain the continuing paucity of Holocene hunter-gatherer archaeology in the Phuthiatsana Valley between 8200 and 1000 BP.
Article
Intensive stratigraphic work on a horizontally extensive but shallow sample of early Holocene archaeology at Ntloana Tšoana rockshelter in western Lesotho has revealed a complex social history of waxing and waning occupation, sandwiched between, and overlapping with, two distinct flood events. Bayesian models of radiocarbon and OSL ages are critical, enabling robust temporal ranges to be assigned to stratigraphic phases despite considerable challenges. This, in turn, means that site-specific happenings can be linked to sub-continental ecological and cultural processes, including early Holocene warming and the emergence of southern Africa's small scraper tradition. By emphasising the duration of human activity, these results also show how specific hide working practices were repeated there by successive generations. Questions arise about the separation of scales that has characterised explanation in Later Stone Age archaeology and the largely overlooked role of persistent places in hunter-gatherer history. It is argued that repeatedly occupied rockshelters and their enduring sedimentary, bone and lithic residues would have been active entities in the past, anchoring people in time and space and may have led to an ontological merging of practice and place. Related ways of thinking about our own practice reveals that archaeologists can also benefit from thinking about sedimentary deposits as active and enduring as well as sequential.
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Minerogenic microfossils are abundantly preserved in sedimentary sequences from a wide range of aquatic environments, including shallow and deep ocean basins, lakes, wetlands and estuaries, and in environments with a range of pH, temperature, salinity and nutrient loads. In southern Africa, pollen is used more commonly as a palaeoenvironmental proxy than are minerogenic microfossils, despite the wider range of environmental variables to which minerogenic micro-organisms respond. Palaeoenvironmental reconstructions in southern Africa that have utilised some of these microfossils demonstrate their value, particularly in multiproxy analyses, when comparing microfossil community changes with those represented by pollen, charcoal and stable isotopes. This chapter outlines the minerogenic microfossils that are most commonly examined globally, and discusses some specific case studies from southern Africa that demonstrate the utility of microfossils in reconstructing Quaternary palaeoenvironments. We argue that efforts should be made to expand the use of minerogenic microfossils in southern African palaeoenvironmental studies, given the valuable information they provide, both as proxies and through facilitating isotope analysis and dating.
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The rock shelter Mafusing 1 was excavated in 2011 as part of the Matatiele Archaeology and Rock Art or MARA research programme initiated in the same year. This programme endeavours to redress the much-neglected history of this region of South Africa, which until 1994 formed part of the wider ‘Transkei’ apartheid homeland. Derricourt’s 1977 Prehistoric Man in the Ciskei and Transkei constituted the last archaeological survey in this area. However, the coverage for the Matatiele region was limited, and relied largely on van Riet Lowe’s site list of the 1930s. Thus far, the MARA programme has documented more than 200 rock art sites in systematic survey and has excavated two shelters – Mafusing 1 (MAF 1) and Gladstone 1 (forthcoming). Here we present analyses of the excavated material from the MAF 1 site, which illustrates the archaeological component of the wider historical and heritage-related programme focus. Our main findings at MAF 1 to date include a continuous, well stratified cultural sequence dating from the middle Holocene up to 2400 cal. BP. Ages obtained from these deposits are suggestive of hunter-gatherer occupation pulses at MAF 1, with possible abandonment of the site over the course of two millennia in the middle Holocene. After a major roof collapse altered the morphology of the shelter, there was a significant change in the character of occupation at MAF 1, reflected in both the artefact assemblage composition and the construction of a rectilinear structure within the shelter sometime after 2400 cal. BP. The presence of a lithic artefact assemblage from this latter phase of occupation at MAF 1 confirms the continued use of the site by hunter-gatherers, while the presence of pottery and in particular the construction of a putative rectilinear dwelling and associated animal enclosure points to occupation of the shelter by agropastoralists. Rock art evidence shows distinct phases, the latter of which may point to religious practices involving rain-serpents and rainmaking possibly performed, in part, for an African farmer audience. This brings into focus a central aim of the MARA programme: to research the archaeology of contact between hunter-gatherer and agropastoralist groups.
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Understanding the historical dynamics of wildlife distribution and abundance is essential to developing appropriate conservation measures. Here we investigate the occurrence and status of medium-to large-sized fauna (excluding avifauna) for the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho and immediate adjoining regions of South Africa, from the late Pleistocene to the present-day. We provide historical timelines and records of reported medium to large faunal taxa based on: data from eight published archaeological excavations, analyses of several hundred unpublished 19th and 20th century historical documents (including missionary letters, diaries, colonial reports and newspapers), and 58 recent oral history interviews. Vegetation and climate changes through the Holocene are also noted, based on archaeo-botanical records. Through these sources, we record 61 medium to large faunal species for Lesotho and surrounding regions over the past ∼21 ka, of which only 22 are present today. Some species not previously known to the region are documented (e.g. Temminck's pangolin). Most species were present during the early 19th century, but many regional species extinctions and a major faunal population decline occurred between 1845 and 1850, owing mainly to settler hunting campaigns. Subsequent extinctions have taken place over a wider temporal interval, due to factors including overhunting, human-wildlife conflicts and habitat loss. It seems that some taxa were forced into unsuitable mountain refugia where species eventually succumbed to genetic erosion and/or harsh climatic conditions. Our results increase current understanding of regional faunal and environmental changes, such as the timing of species occurrences and extinction events and processes in Lesotho. Such work adds valuable knowledge to understanding the environmental heritage of the region. Information can be disseminated into wildlife records, national environmental reports, the WWF, the national school environmental educational curriculum and to National Parks and Heritage Sites.
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The results of the analysis of charcoal assemblages from three rock-shelters in the Caledon Valley of western Lesotho are discussed. In addition to clear differences in species composition, attributed to differential frost intensity, between shelters lying close to and further away from the Phuthiatsana-ea-Thaba Bosiu river, our data suggest that there were two mesic episodes in the early/mid-Holocene, one centred around 8700 yr BP and the second, which was significantly wetter, between 6900 and 5000 yr BP. Drier conditions prevailed between these two periods. Our conclusions match those obtained from charcoal and faunal analyses elsewhere in the Caledon Valley, as well as sedimentary observations from the Lesotho highlands. However, the palaeoclimatic record of western Lesotho appears to have been partly out of phase with that of South Africa's north Eastern Cape Province. The restriction of Acacia sp. to very recent horizons and the absence from our assemblages of several common present day firewoods that are weed invaders of disturbed land may be consistent with a recent age for ongoing xerification of plant communities. Further observations on patterns of fuel selection evident in our data are also made and the implications of our findings for hunter-gatherer settlement of the wider Caledon Valley discussed.
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The palynological results from sediment exposures near Clarens provide information on the nature of the vegetation in the area during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. Conditions at 20 000 BP were cooler and/or drier than at 12 600 BP but both phases were subhumid. After 12 600 BP but presumably before 10 700 BP temperatures similar to the present seem to be indicated with the persistence of relatively moist conditions for a period and then the development of a drier climate. Slightly wetter conditions returned gradually at the beginning of the Holocene. -from Author
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Results of the excavation of two rock-shelters in the Phuthiatsana-ea-Thaba Bosiu Basin of western Lesotho, southern Africa are reported. Later Stone Age occupation at both sites was principally a feature of the terminal Pleistocene and early Holocene. Analysis of the artefact assemblages shows that, while all in situ occurrences belong to the Oakhurst Industrial Complex, significant differences are apparent between those pre- and post-dating 7500 BC. A shift towards hunting smaller bovids and changes in site occupation at the regional scale are also evident at this time. Differences between the archaeological signatures at the two sites are discussed in the light of recent models of seasonal aggregation and dispersal. Comparisons are drawn with the archaeological record of neighbouring parts of South Africa and a strong contrast is suggested between terminal Pleistocene! early Holocene settlement strategies and those of the recent Holocene within the research area.
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Mid- to late-Holocene pollen data from Florisbad in the central Free State, South Africa, reveal a number of moisture fluctuations. Commencing at c. 6500 BP the pollen sequence indicates an arid climate but shows more availability of moisture under grassy conditions from summer rain at c. 6300 BP and again at c. 4420 BP. The interval between these dates is characterized by a dry episode with karroid shrubs some time between 5500 and 4500 BP, possibly as a result of less marked summer seasonality. After 4220 BP, moisture conditions gradually fluctuated in intensity or seasonal availability until c. 2100-1700 BP when strong summer evaporation is indicated at the upper end of the sequence. The data are complemented by previously published results on environmental change from the nearby Deelpan site to the west. Although some distinct events correlate regionally over South Africa, summer rains appear to have been significant at Florisbad at an earlier stage in the mid-Holocene than in the Karoo to the south.
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Sixty-nine pollen spectra from three sites with alluvial and swamp deposits and 12 spectra representing the modern vegetation in the eastern Orange Free State and Drakensberg areas, provide evidence about the Late Quaternary environmental history of Clarens. Factor analysis is used to compare pollen data between sites. Stepwise changes in the vegetation at Clarens are indicated, relating to changes in climatic variables during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. The earliest palaeo-environmental indications recorded immediately north of Clarens are of humid grassland with strong fynbos and swampy conditions ca. 23 000years BP, followed by progressively cooler, drier conditions ca. 22 600 to 19 000years BP. Grass in the vegetation became more prominent between ca. 18 000 and 17 000years BP. Shrubby grassland with some fynbos elements occurred in the Little Caledon Basin ca. 13 000years BP, under slightly warmer conditions which were relatively moist, probably also during winters. Podocarpus forests developed in distant mountain ravines but together with fynbos elements, declined before 10 700years BP, possibly under the influence of slightly warmer conditions and growing seasonal contrasts. The Holocene record is incomplete, starting apparently with grassland indications for warm conditions, and ending with subhumid, markedly seasonal conditions and local swamp development as found along the Little Caledon River.
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Active and inactive periglacial landforms are described for a small, south-facing mountain catchment at Giant's Castle, 3140–3300 m A.S.L. Natal Drakensberg, South Africa. Micro-patterned ground is found at the water divide and indicates marginal present-day frost activity with soil frost penetration to a depth of 0.1–0.2 m. Downslope, thin stone-banked sheets migrate over larger, inactive, stone-banked lobe complexes. Block fields, suggested to be of a gelifluction origin, occupy the central part of the valley and gelifluction sheets cover the lower valley slopes. All are inactive. The range of inactive periglacial slope deposits suggests the presence of severe seasonal frost in the past. Des formes périglaciaires actives et inactives sont décrites dans un petit bassin montagneux exposé au sud, au lieu-dit [Giant's Castle] à 3140–3300 m d'altitude dans le Drakensberg du Natal en Afrique du Sud. Des petits sols polygonaux et striés triés ont été observés à la limite de partage du bassin versant. Ils indiquent que le gel pénètre jusqu'à une profondeur de 0,1 à 0,2 m. Vers le bas de la pente, des lobes peu épais limités par des cailloux recouvrent des lobes de solifluxion plus grands et inactifs. Des champs de blocs qui ont peut-ětre été formés par la gélifluxion couvrent les pentes inférieures. Toutes ces formes sont inactives. L'importance des dépǒts de pénte périglaciaires actuellement inactifs suggère la présence de gels saisonniers sévères dans le passé.
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Southern Africa’s unique mid-latitude oceanic position invites broad comparisons with palaeoclimatic records across the PEP III transect including long-distance thermohaline circulation teleconnections. Atmospheric and oceanic circulation systems around Southern Africa (Fig. 1) are linked (Lutjeharms et al. 2001). They interact to influence distribution of biomes including prominence of C4 and C3 grasses in the summer-rain and winter rain regions respectively (Vogel et al. 1978; Cowling et al. 1997) (Fig. 2). Climate is dominated by two systems, the westerlies and easterlies (Fig. 1) and shifts in these systems undoubtedly affected the climate history during the Holocene. The generally moderating effect of the oceans, in particular the warm Agulhas western boundary current on the east coast (Lutjeharms et al. 2001), and the semi-arid nature of the region suggests that moisture rather than temperature changes is the more important climate parameter, at least on the Holocene time scale. Furthermore, the cold Benguela upwelling zone and its associated atmospheric circulation system in the South Atlantic is strongly linked to coastal aridity on the west coast.
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The archaeological and palaeoenvironmental records of the Western Cape, the Caledon Valley and the Lesotho highlands are examined across the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary using data from three key long sequence sites: Elands Bay Cave, Rose Cottage Cave and Sehonghong. The settlement histories of all three regions are highly pulsed, but there is some suggestion that the Western Cape was out of synch with the two other regions, a relationship possibly linked to their different rainfall regimes. In all three regions, however, people used the landscape quite differently in the period reviewed compared to the late Holocene. An increased use of r-selected food resources is most visible at Elands Bay, but in all three regions the early Holocene witnessed a shift toward greater exploitation of smaller, browsing bovids. Increased localization of social alliance networks, suggested by the distributions of non-local items and by patterns of stone raw material usage in the Lesotho highlands/Caledon Valley area, may reflect increasing population densities as environmental productivity rose. The importance is stressed of developing explanations of these phenomena at a range of appropriate spatio-temporal scales and suggestions are made as to where future research may most profitably be directed.
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Data from stalagmites in the Makapansgat Valley, South Africa, document regional climatic change in southern Africa in the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. A new TIMS U-series dated stalagmite indicates speleothem growth from 24.4 to 12.7 ka and from 10.2 to 0 ka, interrupted by a 2.5ka hiatus. High-resolution oxygen and carbon stable isotope data suggest that postglacial warming was first initiated ~17 ka, was interrupted by cooling, probably associated with the Antarctic Cold Reversal, and was followed by strong warming after 13.5ka. The Early Holocene experienced warm, evaporative conditions with fewer C4 grasses. Cooling is evident from ~6 to 2.5ka, followed by warming between 1.5 and 2.5ka and briefly at ~AD 1200. Maximum Holocene cooling occurred at AD 1700. The new stalagmite largely confirms results from shorter Holocene stalagmites reported earlier. The strongest variability superimposed on more general trends has a quasi-periodicity between 2.5and 4.0 ka. Also present are weaker ~1.0 ka and ~100-year oscillations, the latter probably solar induced. Given similarities to the Antarctic records, the proximate driving force producing millennial- and centennial-scale changes in the Makapansgat record is postulated to be atmospheric circulation changes associated with change in the Southern Hemisphere circumpolar westerly wind vortex.
Article
Excavation and survey in the Phuthiatsana-ea-Thaba Bosiu Basin of western Lesotho has established a late Stone Age cultural-stratigraphic sequence for this area and detailed changes in regional settlement pattern over time. Middle Stone Age settlement choices appear to have differed substantially from those of the late Stone Age; one factor may have been different hunting strategies. In the several Holocene settlement phases identified, the principal contrast is between an early/middle Holocene pattern (large shelters and no open sites) and a recent Holocene pattern (ephemeral use of large shelters and widespead use of smaller sites, many of them painted). Spatial patterning relating to differential activity performance in different zones of the landscape is not seen. Recent LSA occupation of the research area appears relatively unstructured ecologically. -from Author
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This paper summarizes the evidence adduced from two sites, at Sani Tip and adjacent to Tlaeeng Pass, and draws environmental inferences. Dates from the organic sediments permit a firm chronology which corresponds well with the Quaternary chronology proposed for the eastern Highveld, summer rainfall region. The Lesotho evidence provides confirmation of that chronology and presents further evidence for high altitude environments. -from Author
Article
Sequences of sediments exposed by gullies incising into deposits held within cirques in the highlands of Lesotho have already enabled a Quaternary chronology to be established for high altitudes in eastern southern Africa. The chronology was fixed with twelve radiocarbon dates from Lesotho: eight from Sani Top and four from Tlaeeng. Two additional dates are now available from Tlaeeng Section B2, thus permitting further refinement of the Holocene record. This paper reports the two new dates and discusses their significance with respect to the later Holocene chronology.
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The formation of discrete ‘tablets’ of hydrated silica in the bulliform cells of the leaf blade was followed over a 16-day period in three species of the Gramineae representing different habitats. Seedlings of Oryza sativa (rice) and Cynodon dactylon (Bermuda Grass) were cultured under growth-cabinet conditions at levels of 50 and 500 ppm dissolved silica (SiO2) in the nutrient solution. In addition, bulliform deposition was studied in mature tiller leaves of Sieglingia decumbens (Heath Grass). Attached leaves, as well as those excised from the culm, were used. Initial stages of tablet formation were observed by the 2-day harvest in the central and basal zones of the fully expanded seedling blades. Deposition did not occur at a stage when bulliform turgor changes might influence blade evolvement. At the 16-day harvest, deposition was heaviest in the tip zone, and decreased progressively towards the base of the blade. In addition, proportionately higher tablet counts (P = 0.05) generally were absent from the leaves grown at the higher silica level. This indicated a limited availability of deposition sites. These results are discussed in relation to (i) cellular maturation; (ii) internal leaf anatomy; (iii) leaf expansion; (iv) a basipetal senescence gradient within the leaf blade. Certain of these are considered to be possible limiting factors to silica deposition in the grass leaf.
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Over the last 400 000 years, the pattern of climatic change in the southern African sector of the southern hemisphere is shown to have followed in broad outline that defined by the Vostock ice-core sequence. Regional-local differences are apparent in the inshore ocean sediment core record taken from the continental shelf off Namibia and probably relate to little-understood local processes. Clear evidence of precessional Milankovitch forcing of climate is evident for the subcontinent over the last 200 000 years. The Last Glacial Maximum was cool and dry over most of non-equatorial southern Africa, when the semi-permanent subtropical anticyclone dominating the atmospheric circulation was displaced equator-ward. At the time, Lake Victoria was dry. Post-glacial warming culminated in the Holocene altithermal, which reached its maximum earlier than 6000 BP. Lake Victoria began to fill rapidly and overflowed at around 7500 BP. Rapid speciation of local fishes occurred in the lake at an unprecedented rate. Over the last 6000 years, robust, spatially representative high-resolution speleothem records from the summer rainfall region of the southern part of the subcontinent reveal that a high degree of variability prevailed on centennial to decadal scales. Abrupt changes, often over decades, are a feature of the record. Whereas maximum heating in the altithermal occurred before 6000 BP, the greatest extent of grass cover characterized the landscape at around 2400-2000 BP. In the last six millennia, the most pronounced and sustained event was the five centuries of cooling during the Little Ice Age from AD 1300 to 1800.
Article
Discusses a selection of dated local sedimentological sequences from cave, lacustrine, spring, fluvial, and coastal systems in South Africa, to illustrate trends and changes that relate to time, space, and specific depositional media. Provisional correlations of regionally coherent, relative lithostratigraphies for the humid, subhumid and semi-arid areas of the country are presented. -from Author
Article
Eighty of the 150 or so grass species occurring in Britain have been subjected to controlled wet oxidation to facilitate the study of the opaline silica bodies in their silica cells proper, and in cells which are less consistently silicified. The various types of bodies are classified, figured, and described so as to make clear their true three-dimensional shapes, their sizes, relative abundances, and positions relative to other structures in the leaf, noting differences of silica pattern particularly between sheath and blade and between adaxial and abaxial surfaces. The deposition of silica is discussed in relation to suggested functions. Possible causes of differences in the silica pattern sometimes observed between leaves of the same species are considered.
Article
Results of the excavation of four small rock-shelters in northern, western and southern Lesotho are presented. All the deposits date to the second half of the Holocene. Combining these data with others from intensive field survey in the Phuthiatsana-ea-Thaba Bosiu Basin and along the Southern Perimeter Road, pronounced differences in settlement pattern are indicated between the early and the late Holocene, along with the possibility of a hiatus of considerable duration in Later Stone Age occupation of the Caledon Valley. Marked inter-assemblage variability on a local scale is also evident. Archaeological evidence for interaction between hunter-gatherers and agropastoralists is considered and the potential for further research in this field in Lesotho is stressed.
Article
The fauna from Rose Cottage Cave provides interesting information on large animal species present during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene periods in the eastern Orange Free State. Some extinct and extant species are represented, e.g. blue buck (Hippotragus leucophaeus), of which no records for the Orange Free State exist. The samples display many similarities with other Later Stone Age samples from Lesotho and the Natal Drakensberg. No size differences could be detected between modern species and their prehistoric counterparts. Leopards could have contributed to the faunal samples in some levels. Skeletal parts representation suggests post-depositional attrition rather than selective transport. There is evidence of low primary production in the Late Pleistocene. Improved primary production in the Oakhurst phase resulted in an increase in species diversity.
Article
This paper presents, in brief, the research into runoff and soil erosion presently being carried out in the Maphutseng area in Lesotho, Southern Africa. The research has a multilevel approach, i.e. it measures runoff and soil erosion at different scales in the same geographical area. A subcatchment, 5.4 ha in size, is sampled along with 12 runoff plots. The plots are located on three different soil types and have two different agricultural managements. Each trial has two replicas. The results, which are still preliminary, show that 10% of the rainfall ran off and that the soil loss was 16.4 t/ha from the subcatchment. The plots lost on average 0.65 t/ha and there was no significant difference between the two management types.
Article
Sedimentary sequences from three adjacent hollows in northern Lesotho are described. The sediments comprise a lower sequence of orange-hued gravels and diamictons, and an upper, dominantly black, organic-rich sequence which dates between 5 000 B.P. and 900 B.P. The palynological information suggests that during organic accumulation, conditions were wetter than present at these sites. Prior to 5 000 B.P., and over approximately the past 1 000 years, conditions have been drier and organic accumulation has been inhibited. The stratigraphy within the hollows, comprising younger organic-rich deposits overlying inorganic clastic deposits, indicates a marked change in sediment accumulation at approximately 5 000 B.P. This change permits climatic inferences to be drawn for this area pertaining to the late Quaternary Period.
Article
Despite the international reputation of Lesotho's severely eroded landscape, there have been no previous quantitative accounts of soil erosion processes and associated consequences from the alpine belt. This paper examines sedimentological, geomorphological, and geoecological controls and processes following gully development within alpine mires in eastern Lesotho. Contemporary gully extension is controlled by exposure to various sedimentary sequences, by gully sidewall crack development, and by topographic aspect. Significant vertical gully denudation rates of 8 cm (mineral sediment) to 13 cm (peat) were recorded over an 18-mo period. During a 5-d field experiment in July 1999, the continuously frozen south-facing gully walls recorded considerable horizontal movement of peat blocks (avg. = 19.8 mm/5 d), whereas needle ice-induced horizontal particle movement rates on north-facing walls averaged 10.2 mm/5 d. Soil moisture transect data show a pronounced reduction in surface soil moisture toward and between the gullied areas of a mire. The percentage of moisture loss toward midwinter was found to be greater between the gullies (47.4%) than in the adjoining zones, where moisture loss averaged 33.6%. Similarly, vegetation transects indicate a reduction in vegetation cover at the drier and more intensely burrowed (by Otomys, or "ice rats") zones close to the gullies. Invasive dwarf Karroid shrubs (e.g., Chrysocoma ciliata) are now establishing themselves alongside gullies, burrowed sites, and fringe areas of mires. We found that dryland plant invasions around grazing posts and heavily grazed areas on the slopes subsequently spread along alpine hydrological systems, particularly where gully erosion has created a suitable habitat.
Article
Detailed examination of sediments retained in two north-facing cirques south of Sani Top (latitude 29°30'S; longitude 29°2'E) has been undertaken as a contribution to the Late Quaternary history of highland Lesotho. The sediments are exposed by gullies incised through the deposits. Nine sections are discussed in detail. Inorganic sediments, matrix-supported diamictons and derived orange gravels as well as organic dark clays and peats are present. Eight dated organic samples range in age from 13490BP, currently the oldest organic carbon date from highland Lesotho, to 2310 BP. The sedimentary sequences are interpreted to present a sequence of Late Quaternary events with climatic implications.
Article
Types of stone-banked lobes are described from the high Drakensberg, southern Africa. One type shows material has moved over areas of shallow rock scarps; the larger clasts are sorted into the peripheral areas of the moving debris masses. A second has a crescent-shaped stony embankment, behind which accumulate smaller cobbles and gravels. A third displays a raised frontal bank with treads comprising an accumulation of open-work block material. The frontal bank heights of some stone-banked lobes appear to be a function of the rapidity and quantity of debris accumulation, rather than of tread dimensions. Different stone-banked lobe types develop under different controlling mechanisms and environmental conditions. Bedrock may act as an impermeable layer and permits contemporary solifluction to take place at some sites. Larger, inactive lobes occupy areas of deep (> 1.5 m) regolith and are the probable products of prolonged seasonal freeze and enhanced gelifluction activity during the Holocene.
Article
Three seasons’ excavation in Eastern Lesotho have produced a prehistoric sequence from a number of stratified sites that extends back in time at least 43,000 years. Data relating to precipitation increase and temperature decrease were obtained. The effect of climatic change, particularly increased snowfall, on the distribution of sites, is discussed.
Article
Stable carbon and oxygen isotope analyses of ungulate grazers from four archaeological sites located in different environs within the Caledon River Valley have provided a relatively well-dated proxy palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic sequence for the period between 16 000 and 6000 calendar (cal.) yr BP. Within the overall trend towards hot mid-Holocene temperatures and a summer rainfall pattern, stable carbon isotope results show that there were three periods when growth season temperatures were cool enough for C3 grasses to be present: 16 000–14 000; 10 200–9600, and 8400–8000 cal. yr BP. Similar trends were recorded in stable oxygen isotope values, reflecting shifts in either temperature or available moisture. Although having a similar pattern to that of the lower altitude site, sites situated in foothills and montane portions of the valley consistently maintained lower temperatures until the mid-Holocene altithermal. At this time growth season temperatures warmed sufficiently for a 100% C4 grassland to expand in altitude from the warmer low lying localities. In relation to present understanding of synoptic and global climatic patterning, these findings suggest that the early to middle Holocene transition was not a gradual warming trend, but rather it was marked by a series of climatic fluctuations. Of particular note is the possible global, rather than regional, occurrence of the 8200 cal. yr BP ‘event’. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Previous archaeological and palaeoenvironmental work relating to the late Quaternary of the Lesotho highlands, southern AFrica, is reviewed. Emphasis is placed upon the region's importance for the investigation of late Pleistocene hunter-gatherer settlement-subsistence systems and of the transition from Middle (MSA) to Later Stone Age (LSA) technologies. The paper then reports on the re-excavation of Sehonghong rock-shelter in 1992 and provides an improved radiocarbon chronology for the site and initial results of the analysis of the late Pleistocene and Holocene assemblages recovered. Of particular importance is the identification of assemblages transitional between MSA and LSA stoneworking techniques, but a re-assessment of the existing industrial subdivisions of the Later Stone Age of southern Africa may also be supported by the Sehonghong sequence. The palaeoenvironmental potential of the extensive faunal and botanical assemblages recovered is stressed, especially given the limited extent of previous palaeoenvironmental work in Lesotho. The importance of the Lesotho highlands for investigating differences in site use and subsistence strategies through the late Pleistocene and the Holocene is emphasized, within an overall aim of testing previously proposed models of resource exploitation under glacial and interglacial conditions.
Article
Relict large sorted periglacial circles are described from the Drakensberg plateau of southern Africa. Morphological and sedimentological data for three populations of patterns occurring on high summit (>3400 m a.s.l.) interfluves are presented. The patterns range between 85 and 904 cm in diameter, with centres encircled by primary and, in some cases, secondary borders. Patterns are sorted to maximum depths of 85 cm or more, with borders occupying trough-like depressions to a depth of 26 cm. Although it is found that contemporary freeze to 40 cm depth still permits some cryogenic activity within smaller patterns, it is argued that the larger patterns are degrading owing to limited moisture and freeze duration and intensity. The paper provides a literature summary of contemporary environmental parameters from 10 northern hemisphere localities where active/relict large periglacial patterns occur. Findings suggest that patterns over 80 cm in diameter develop where the MAAT is −1.6°C or less. It is demonstrated that the Drakensberg palaeo-MAAT reached such low temperatures during the LGM. It is thus argued that the patterns developed during the LGM and that smaller varieties became reactivated during Holocene cold phases. The relict sorted circles provide confirmation for Late Quaternary permafrost above 3400 m a.s.l. in southern Africa. The results further suggest pronounced palaeo-climatic/environmental variation over short spacial scales over southern Africa's high plateau.
Article
Polleniferous sediments from southern Africa associated with past warm episodes before the Last Glacial Maximum, are rare. Interpretation of environmental conditions during these phases are complicated by difficulties of dating. In sediments from the northern areas, north of 28°S, the prominence of tropical woodland pollen suggests that the period between 7000 and 6500 yr B.P. was associated with optimal temperatures during the Holocene. Identifying the warmest phase in the southern high-lying grasslands and semi-arid Karoo shrublands south of 28°S is difficult, because unlike the savanna areas of the north, they do not yield good pollen indicators for changes in temperature such as those of frost sensitive trees. However, some pollen sequences from further south along the southern coast of Africa (34°S) and at Marion Island in the Southern Ocean (47°S), suggest that the Holocene temperature optimum occurred at about the same time in the sub-antarctic area in the south and the subtropical regions in the north. The advent of moister conditions in southern Africa during the early to middle Holocene, is generally recorded earlier (ca. 7500-6500 yr B.P.) in the north at ca. 26°S, than around 31°S, (ca. 5000 yr B.P.). This change is provisionally associated with a relative shift in seasonality from a predominance of all-season precipitation to a greater proportion of summer rainfall, which apparently reached the southern Karoo areas two thousand years later than the northern Bushveld region.
Article
Pollen analysis of material from a variety of sediment types including those from ponds, streams, a rock-shelter and hyrax dung accumulations in the Blydefontein Basin (31°09′S, 25°05′E, Fig. 1b) provide a record of vegetation change in the eastern Karoo over the last 10,000 years. The pollen composition fluctuated as a result of different taphonomic processes inherent in the various sampled deposits. Results further demonstrate that long-term vegetation changes alternated between Karoo shrub and grassland plant communities. Karoo shrubs suggesting relatively dry conditions were generally prominent in the early Holocene until ca. 5400 yr BP when more grassy vegetation began to flourish presumably in response to increased summer-rain conditions. Pollen representation of the early Holocene is not detailed enough to trace millennial scale variations during this period but more detailed middle to late Holocene data show millennial or shorter scale shifts between grassland and drier karroid veld.
Article
A review of Late Quaternary palaeoclimatic data derived from several pollen sequences, between ca. 22 and 34°S in Southern Africa, shows a degree of similarity in temperature and moisture variations between the various site. Pollen data from sites such as Wonderkrater and Rietvlei (Transvaal), Tate Vondo (Venda), Elim (Orange Free State), Equus Cave (Southern Kalahari) and Boomplaas (Cape Province) suggest relative dryness during the Last Glacial Maximum, wet conditions during the Late Glacial, and dry conditions during the Early Holocene ca. 8000 yr B.P., followed by progressively moister conditions peaking soon after the development of a temperature optimum ca. 6500 yr. B.P. Problems with radiocarbon dating of polleniferous spring deposits, however, prevent precise correlations of especially Late Pleistocene sequences. Different seasonal patterns in the Late Glacial and Early Holocene may explain palaeobotanical data and are partly compatible with simulations of past climates of Kutzbach and Guetter (1986).
Climatic change across the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary in the Caledon River southern Africa: results of a factor analysis of charcoal assemblages. Southern African Field Archaeology
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Esterhuysen, A., Mitchell, P.J., Thackeray, J.F., 1999. Climatic change across the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary in the Caledon River southern Africa: results of a factor analysis of charcoal assemblages. Southern African Field Archaeology 8, 28 – 34.
Gully Reclamation in the Lowlands and Foothills of Lesotho: the Matelile Rural Development Project and the Mafeteng Development Project. Successful Natural Resource Management in Southern Africa. Centre for Development Cooperation Services
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South African Atlas of Agrohydrology and Climatology Water Research Commission, Pretoria Pollen analysis and palaeoenvironmental interpretation of late Quaternary sediment exposures in the eastern Orange Free State, South Africa
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Schulze, R.E., 1997. South African Atlas of Agrohydrology and Climatology. Water Research Commission, Pretoria. Report TT82/96. Scott, L., 1986. Pollen analysis and palaeoenvironmental interpretation of late Quaternary sediment exposures in the eastern Orange Free State, South Africa. Palaeoecology of Africa 17, 113 – 122.
An Ecological Survey of the Mountain Area of Basutoland
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Staples, R.R., Hudson, W.K., 1938. An Ecological Survey of the Mountain Area of Basutoland. Garden City Press, Herts, England.
Quaternary palaeoenvironments of pans in central South Africa: palynological and palaeontological evidence
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Scott, L., Brink, J.S., 1992. Quaternary palaeoenvironments of pans in central South Africa: palynological and palaeontological evidence. South African Geographer 19, 22 – 34.
Pollen The Cenozoic of Southern Africa
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Scott, L., 2000. Pollen. In: Partridge, T.C., Maud, R.R. (Eds.), The Cenozoic of Southern Africa. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 339 – 350.
The macrofaunal and molluscan remains from Tloutle, a Later Stone Age site in Lesotho
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Plug, I., 1993. The macrofaunal and molluscan remains from Tloutle, a Later Stone Age site in Lesotho. Southern African Field Archaeology 2, 44 – 48.
Pollen analytical studies in east and southern Africa
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Climatic change across the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary in the Caledon River southern Africa: results of a factor analysis of charcoal assemblages
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