Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationWashington U.
Grant numberGr. 9410
Approve DateApril 18, 2017
Project TitleGoldstein, Dr. Steven T., Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Social Resilience and Climate Change: Archaeological Investigations of Hunter-gatherer Responses to the African Humid Period at Lake Turkana, Kenya'
STEVEN T. GOLDSTEIN, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded a grant in April 2017 to aid research on ‘Social Resilience and Climate Change: Archaeological Investigations of Hunter-gatherer Responses to the African Humid Period at Lake Turkana, Kenya.’ The African Humid Period (AHP) (c.12000-5000 BP), brought increased rainfall across northern and eastern Africa, fueling the expansion of lakes, rivers, and savannas ‘ in turn encouraging florescence of fisher-hunter’gatherer lifeways across the continent. Small-scale societies living along the coast of Lake Turkana Kenya were challenged by a series of environmental fluctuations during the AHP, followed hyper-aridity at the termination of the AHP. The Lothagam-Lokam site on the western shore of Turkana preserving a record of human strategies throughout the AHP and offers a rare glimpse into how fishing societies chose to respond to changing climates. This project employs multidisciplinary approaches to determine whether these choices involved rapid social and economic reorganization or if the featured increased structural rigidity, and how these strategies conditioned cultural responses to later, more extreme, climatic stress. New excavations at Lokam are assembling a high-resolution paleoenvironmental and chronological record that could be connected to patterns in the rich material culture assemblages and burial traditions at the site. As climate change once again threatens lifeways around Lake Turkana, this research is building a more dynamics and agentive understanding for how small-scale societies build resilience against large scale climate change.