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The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in Southern Africa: Archaeological Evidence
Huffman, T.N.  1996.  Archaeological evidence for climatic change during the last 2000 years in southern Africa.  Quaternary International 33: 55-60.

What was done
Based on the temperature and water requirements of the crops cultivated by the first agropastoralists that lived in southern Africa, the author was able to construct a climate history for the region based on archaeological evidence related to the locations and sizes of various Iron Age settlements uncovered there.

What was learned
It was determined that much of southern Africa is presently neither as warm nor as wet as it was from approximately AD 900-1300.  It was also determined that this "medieval warm period" was followed by a cold period that corresponds to the Little Ice Age, which had imbedded with in it, however, a warmer episode between 1500 and 1675.  Thereafter, the cold returned and continued to approximately 1780, whereupon it gradually began to warm again.

What it means
The archaeological data upon which the climate reconstructions of this paper are based, i.e., dated relic evidence of the presence of cultivated sorghum and millets, is considered by the author to be so strong as to essentially prove that the climate of the Medieval Warm Period must have been warmer and wetter than it is today, for these crops cannot currently be grown in this part of southern Africa under contemporary climatic conditions that are too cool and too dry.  This finding thus adds to the other evidence we have posted on our website relative to the fact that the Medieval Warm Period was indeed warmer than it is today (see Medieval Warm Period in our Subject Index), which contradicts the climate-alarmist claim that current temperatures are the warmest they have been for the past millennium (see our Editorials of 15 June, 1 July, 15 July and 2 August 2000).  Also, the author's data "show the subcontinent-wide extent of the climatic changes," demonstrating that both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age were more than just localized north Atlantic phenomena, as the climate alarmists are trying to make the public believe.

Reviewed 22 November 2000