Dry Wetlands from Past Environments: Distinguishing between the Nile floodplain and wetlands of the African Humid Period

Authors: Jon-Paul McCool*, Valparaiso University
Topics: Paleoenvironmental Change, Physical Geography, Geomorphology
Keywords: African Humid Period, Wetlands
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Marshall North, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Wetlands have represented varying opportunities for both pre-agricultural and agricultural societies throughout the Holocene. The modern landscape surrounding the Nile River north of Khartoum is a stark divide between the vegetated hydrological floodplain and the surrounding desert, but evidence indicates that during the African Humid Period there were extensive lakes and wetlands in what is today the southern Sahara. A key facet in identifying and delineating such wetlands near the Nile is distinguishing between sediments deposited during the river’s inundation and those of a wetland environment. By using a landscape comparison of geochemical, isotopic, morphological, and mineralogical data it is possible to identify wetland areas in close proximity to the Nile, but whose sediment and moisture are not derived from the river. Developing effective methods of identifying paleowetlands is necessary for any meaningful consideration of human ecology and use areas, especially for understanding the human-environment relationships of cultures which have left marginal material remains.

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