Mapping Ancient Africa: Background and goals

Three strands of information will be compiled and synthesised during the Mapping Ancient Africa project to provide new insights into past climate change in Africa and the possible relationship of this with hominid evolution, development and dispersal.

1. Palaeoclimate data

We will synthesize terrestrial and marine palaeoclimate data from across the African continent. This will comprise three major strands:

  • We will build upon the recent collation of palaeovegetation (palynological) data from Africa by the African Pollen Database and convert these data into palaeoclimate reconstructions using state-of-the-art Bayesian transfer function developed by Chevalier et al. (2021)
  • We will compile physical proxy data on past climate change from terrestrial archives.
  • We will trace past continental climate change from the marine record through exploration of dust and sedimentological information. 

Together these data will create a series of site-specific climate reconstructions from across, and around, the African continent (estimated around 100 locations). 

2. Climate simulation models

We will extract information on past climate change across the African continent from an intermediate complexity climate simulation model. The outputs will be used to create continuous maps of past climate across the African continent.  

3. Archaeological data

We will map archaeological information from across the African continent.

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