Getting Here



 The Fifth International Workshop for African Archaeobotany will be held 2-5 July, 2006
at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. For scheduled papers and absracts select days below.






Institute of


Getting Here




Monday, 3 July, 2006

Session: Gathered resources: foragers, wood fuels and the environmental impac

Wood charcoal assemblages from cave sites in the south-western Cape,
South Africa: implications for Late Quaternary vegetation

Caroline R. Cartwright

The British Museum, London

This paper outlines the results of the analysis of charcoal from two
cave sites spanning a sequence from the late Holocene to < 70,000 BP, in
order to reconstruct Late Quaternary vegetation, climatic patterns and
to assess the long-term impact on the local environment (through the
repeated selection of certain woody taxa) in the western fynbos biome of
South Africa. These cave sites, located on the semiarid winter-rainfall
coastline of the south-western Cape are surrounded mostly by xeric
vegetation at the present day. Patterns in the charcoal data-set over
time were sought by subjecting the data to multivariate analysis.
Charcoal diversity was modelled and palaeoclimatic reconstruction was
attempted by comparing the climatic controls on contemporary vegetation
communities that resembled the archaeological assemblages. The results
suggest that, unlike the eastern fynbos biome, which is under
fundamentally different climatic controls, soil moisture conditions in
the western part of the biome were higher in the Last Glacial than
during the Holocene. This scenario may help to explain the higher
regional richness and associated diversification of the vegetation in
the western than eastern part of the biome.


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Tuesday 4 July . . . Wednesday, 5 July, 2006 .......


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Last modified: 1/06/06