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Environmental Change in the Kalahari Desert

Posted 10/10/2013
Posted by David Isgur

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Oxford scholar David Thomas will give a talk titled "There Must Have Been Giants: 200,000 Years of Environmental Change and Human Occupation in the Kalahari Desert" as the University of Hartford's Hertford College Lecture. A professor of geography at the University of Oxford; professorial fellow at Oxford's Hertford College; and honorary professor at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, Thomas is a world-renowned expert on the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 4:30 p.m., in Wilde Auditorium. To attend, register online at

The University of Hartford has had a relationship with Oxford’s Hertford College in England for more than 20 years. That relationship includes an annual lecture by a Hertford College scholar, as well as a scholarship program for University of Hartford students to study at the College.

This year's lecture will be delivered by David Thomas, a geomorphologist and Quaternary scientist. Over the past 30 years, Thomas and his colleagues have shown how the region’s archaeological legacy needs to be explained in the context of 200,000 years of dramatic environmental change.

In the 1990s, some of the largest Stone Age hand axes ever found were discovered in the dry center of southern Africa. Today, the Kalahari Desert is home to one of Africa’s largest lakes and richest wetlands, as well as vast areas of blowing sand dunes, huge migratory animal herds, and the legendary San (Bushmen), considered by many to be the oldest culture on Earth.