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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In the final and most arid phases of the Pleistocene, human occupation in the Sahara dramatically decreased and may even have been completely interrupted. This means that the groups present from the early Holocene onwards, in areas that are today desert, were immigrants, who reoccupied territories long abandoned as soon as more favourable climatic conditions permitted. The archaeological record documents the adaptations that their way of life underwent through successive episodes of early and mid-Holocene climate change. Together with the relevant palaeoclimatic evidence, this article examines three themes of general relevance for early/middle Holocene Saharan and Sahelian hunter-gatherer-fishers: microlithic toolkits; the innovation of pottery; and the development, at least in some areas, of a more sedentary pattern of settlement. It also examines the archaeological records of different parts of the Saharan/Sahelian region.

Keywords: Pleistocene arid phases, Sahara occupation, Holocene climate change, hunter-gatherer, pottery, microlithic toolkits, Sahelian region, settlement

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