ABSTRACT

Archaeological findings within Southern Cameroon are still very rare and less is known on how prehistoric people lived as hunter-gatherers in the transitional regions between dense rain forests and open savanna woodland ecosystems. According to Lanfranchi and Schwartz (1990) in Congo-Brazzaville the Maluekien (70-40 kyrs BP) was a relatively dry and cold episode and Middle Stone Age artefacts were frequently discovered in layers of coarse material (stone-lines) within multilayered soil-sediments. The Maluekien was followed by the Nijilien (40-30 kyrs BP) which was again humid. This may be triggered the return of closed forests into the region. Up to now there is no evidence for palaeolithic industries for this time. On the Batéké plateau north of Kinshasa and Brazzaville tropical podzols developed in the Kalahari Sands. These soil features prove striking modifications of the environment (Schwartz, 1988). Shortly before, during and after the maximum of the earth’s last glaciation between 30-12 kyrs BP (Léopoldvillien) the climate reverted again to a very dry (less than 50% precipitation) and cold one (reduction of annual mean temperatures in the range of 4° C compared with today’s conditions, cf. Runge, 2001) showing an open landscape, highly sensitive to erosion processes. Fluvial systems, streams and also smaller rivers showed high riverbed mobility and because of an assumed strong seasonality of climate, slope sediments (hill wash) and alluvia were deposited to a huge extend. However, these mobile and dynamic sediments have often been re-deposited inside the river channels. Within this open environment isolated, island-like forest ‘relicts’ around and along rivers (‘riparian’) might have been a common feature (Runge, 2001).