iminplaya sends along a New Scientist article that begins: "One of the driest deserts in the world, the Saharan Tenere Desert, hosted at least two flourishing lakeside populations during the Stone Age, a discovery of the largest graveyard from the era reveals. The archaeological site in Niger [is] called Gobero... It had been used as a burial site by two very different populations during the millennia when the Sahara was lush... 'The first people who used the Gobero cemetery were Kiffian, hunter-gatherers who grew up to two meters tall,' says Elena Garcea of the University of Cassino in Italy and one of the scientists on the team. The large stature of the Kiffian suggests that food was plentiful during their time in Gobero, 10,000 to 8,000 years ago... All traces of the Kiffian vanish abruptly around 8,000 years ago, when the Sahara became very dry for a thousand years. When the rains returned, a different population, the Tenerians, who were of a shorter and more gracile build, based themselves at this site... 'The most amazing find so far is a grave with a female and two children hugging each other. They were carefully arranged in this position. This strongly indicated they had spiritual beliefs and cared for their dead,' says Garcea."
The research article
is at PLoS One.