The Pleistocene archaeology and environments of the Wasiriya Beds, Rusinga Island, Kenya

Tryon, Christian A., Faith, J. Tyler, Peppe, Daniel J., Fox, David L., McNulty, Kieran P., Jenkins, Kirsten, Dunsworth, Holly and Harcourt-Smith, Will (2010) The Pleistocene archaeology and environments of the Wasiriya Beds, Rusinga Island, Kenya. Journal of Human Evolution, 59 6: 657-671. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2010.07.020

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Author Tryon, Christian A.
Faith, J. Tyler
Peppe, Daniel J.
Fox, David L.
McNulty, Kieran P.
Jenkins, Kirsten
Dunsworth, Holly
Harcourt-Smith, Will
Title The Pleistocene archaeology and environments of the Wasiriya Beds, Rusinga Island, Kenya
Journal name Journal of Human Evolution   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0047-2484
1095-8606
Publication date 2010-12-01
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jhevol.2010.07.020
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 59
Issue 6
Start page 657
End page 671
Total pages 15
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Academic Press
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Western Kenya is well known for abundant early Miocene hominoid fossils. However, the Wasiriya Beds of Rusinga Island, Kenya, preserve a Pleistocene sedimentary archive with radiocarbon age estimates of >33-45 ka that contains Middle Stone Age artifacts and abundant, well-preserved fossil fauna: a co-occurrence rare in eastern Africa, particularly in the region bounding Lake Victoria. Artifacts and fossils are associated with distal volcanic ash deposits that occur at multiple localities in the Wasiriya Beds, correlated on the basis of geochemical composition as determined by electron probe microanalysis. Sediment lithology and the fossil ungulates suggest a local fluvial system and associated riparian wooded habitat within a predominantly arid grassland setting that differs substantially from the modern environment, where local climate is strongly affected by moisture availability from Lake Victoria. In particular, the presence of oryx (Oryx gazella) and Grevy's zebra (Equus grevyi) suggest a pre-Last Glacial Maximum expansion of arid grasslands, an environmental reconstruction further supported by the presence of several extinct specialized grazers (Pelorovis antiquus, Megalotragus sp., and a small alcelaphine) that are unknown from Holocene deposits in eastern Africa. The combination of artifacts, a rich fossil fauna, and volcaniclastic sediments makes the Wasiriya Beds a key site for examining the Lake Victoria basin, a biogeographically important area for understanding the diversification and dispersal of Homo sapiens from Africa, whose pre-Last Glacial Maximum history remains poorly understood.
Keyword Middle Stone Age
Lake Victoria
Aridity
Pleistocene
Middle Stone Age
Modern human behavior
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Social Science Publications
 
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Created: Fri, 06 Sep 2013, 00:10:05 EST by Tyler Faith on behalf of School of Social Science