Letter | Published:

An Acheulean industry with Elephas recki fauna from Namib IV, South West Africa (Namibia)


Namib IV is located in the linear dune sea of the central Namib Desert (Fig. 1), where different generations of fossil calcrete have been exposed by sand shift in an interdune flat. Mid-Pleistocene faunal remains (including Elphas recki) were scattered over 62,500 m2 of the valley floor, some bearing residual traces of red calcrete. The industry may be closely paralleled from certain East African sites (Olorgesailie1, Kilombe2, PDK and HEB 1/2 and 3, Olduvai Bed IV (ref. 3)), suggesting a date between 400 and 700 kyr BP. I show here that Namib IV provides the first dated evidence for the presence of Acheulean man in South West Africa, the earliest Pleistocene faunal remains from the Namib Desert and a terminus post quem for the ecological change from savannah to sand desert.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Isaac, G. LI. Olorgesailie (University of Chicago Press, 1977).

  2. 2

    Gowlett, J. A. in Geological Background to Fossil Man (ed. Bishop, W. W.) 337–361 (Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh, 1978).

  3. 3

    Leakey, M. D. in After the Australopithecines: Stratigraphy, Ecology and Cultural Change in the Middle Pleistocene (eds Butzer, K. W. & Isaac, G. LI.) 477–494 (Mouton, The Hague, 1975).

  4. 4

    Isaac, G. LI. Wld Archaeol. 1, 1–28 (1969).

  5. 5

    Dagley, P., Mussett, A. E. & Palmer, H. C. in Geological Background to Fossil Man (ed. Bishop, W. W.) 225–237 (Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh, 1978).

  6. 6

    Maglio, V. J. Trans. Am. philos. Soc. 63, 1–149 (1973).

  7. 7

    Klein, R. J. Quat. Res. 10, 69–83 (1978).

  8. 8

    Perkins, D. & Daly, P. Scient. Am. 219, 97–106 (1968).

  9. 9

    Seely, M. K. & Sandelowsky, B. H. S. Afr. Arch. Bull. Goodwin Series 2, 61–64 (1974).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.