A Holocene paleoenvironmental record based on ungulate stable isotopes from Lukenya Hill, Kenya
Robinson, Joshua R.
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Citation (published version)Joshua R Robinson. 2019. "A Holocene paleoenvironmental record based on ungulate stable isotopes from Lukenya Hill, Kenya." Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Volume 28, pp. 102016. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.102016
Investigating the development of Holocene behavioral adaptations requires knowing how and why different human groups are distributed on the landscape. An expanded dataset of site-specific environmental and habitat reconstructions from eastern Africa are crucial contextual components necessary for pushing this line of inquiry forward. This paper provides localized paleoenvironmental data from Holocene deposits at the multi-site Lukenya Hill archaeological complex on the Athi-Kapiti Plains of Kenya. Lukenya Hill preserves two temporal units, an early-mid Holocene (~9.0–4.6 ka) and a late Holocene (~2.3–1.2 ka), which span the end of the African Humid Period and the onset of late Holocene aridification. Carbon isotope analysis of herbivore tooth enamel (n = 22) indicates an increase in open grasslands over time with the early-mid Holocene having a woodier signal than the late Holocene and Recent populations in the Athi ecosystem. This pattern deviates from local environmental sequences in the Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana basins, providing additional evidence of heterogeneous habitat conditions during the Holocene of eastern Africa. The expansion of locally specific paleoecological datasets in eastern Africa allows for an examination of the role climate and ecology played in human economic and behavioral development during the Holocene.