Paleoenvironment and archaeology of Drotsky's Cave: Western Kalahari Desert, Botswana

L. H. Robbins, M. L. Murphy, N. J. Stevens, G. A. Brook, A. H. Ivester, K. A. Haberyan, R. G. Klein, R. Milo, K. M. Stewart, D. G. Matthiesen, A. J. Winkler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Test excavations conducted at Drotsky's Cave have provided important new information on the paleoenvironment and archaeology of the western Kalahari desert during the late and terminal Pleistocene. An occupation layer dated to the terminal Pleistocene was rich in Late Stone Age artefacts, pieces of ostrich egg shell, the remains of carnivorous bullfrogs, springhare, and other fauna. A detailed sediment study, along with the evidence of Angoni vlei rat, climbing mouse, an aquatic Xenopus frog, and side neck turtle confirms that conditions were for the most part, substantially more moist than at present between approximately 30,000 and 11,000 years ago. Analysis of a diatom assemblage dated to the terminal Pleistocene implies that the currently dry Gcwihaba Valley was most likely flowing for much of the year. Our evidence supports findings made at other localities in the Kalahari documenting the existence of especially moist conditions during the terminal Pleistocene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-22
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 1996


  • Drotsky's Cave
  • Kalahari desert
  • Southern African prehistory
  • Terminal Pleistocene/Holocene climate change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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