A multi-proxy approach to reconstructing palaeoenvironmental change at Kilombe, Central Rift Valley, Kenya

Hoare, Sally
A multi-proxy approach to reconstructing palaeoenvironmental change at Kilombe, Central Rift Valley, Kenya. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Linking climate and evolutionary change within the hominin lineage relies on the production of higher resolution records from sites which preserve hominin fossil and/or archaeological occurrences. The Acheulean site of Kilombe in the Central Rift Valley, Kenya is one of the largest handaxe sites in Eastern Africa; its immediate area is now shown to preserve a continuous sedimentary record from the early Pleistocene through to the Holocene. The main Acheulean occurrences at Kilombe date to about one million years, and are preserved in less than one metre of sedimentation. However, renewed research since 2008 has identified a recurring human presence with handaxes found in other parts of the sequence, along with Middle and Later Stone Age materials from late Pleistocene and potentially Holocene deposits. This thesis presents a record of palaeoenvironmental change extending from 1.07 to 0.487 Ma and coeval with the Acheulean occurrences at Kilombe. A multi-proxy approach was taken here to investigate the nature and impact of both long-term trends of environmental change and those occurring on shorter timescales over a 500,000 year period. The techniques of environmental magnetism and desktop-based major and trace element geochemistry were adopted as a rapid, non-destructive approach which require only small amounts of sample for analyses making them ideal proxies from which to examine environmental change over a long time period with little expense incurred. A long-term record of environmental change is revealed from the Kilombe sedimentary sequences based on geochemical and magnetic proxies sensitive to chemical weathering intensity and pedogenesis. Overall, results reveal a long-term increasing trend in aridification/cooling at Kilombe throughout the Pleistocene with substantial variability superimposed upon this trend linked to a range of environmental processes including dissolution and volcanic activity. This research now provides a general environmental setting for the major Acheulean occurrences at Kilombe.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: alt_title: Examining palaeoenvironmental change at the Achuelean site of Kilombe, East Africa Date: 2015-03 (completed)
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2016 10:35
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2022 02:06
DOI: 10.17638/02037599
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/2037599