In Mpondoland, a short section of the continental shelf is only 10 kilometers wide. That distance is less than how far we know past people often traveled in a day to get sea foods, meaning that no matter how much the sea levels dropped anytime in the past, the coastline was always accessible from the archaeological sites that have been found on the modern Mpondoland coastline.
One of the highest-resolution chronologies, or layers of archaeological remains, showing persistent human occupation and coastal resource use is at Waterfall Bluff from 35,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago. There, researchers are documenting the first direct evidence of coastal foraging in Africa during a glacial maximum and across a glacial/interglacial transition. The oldest record of coastal foraging, which has also been found in southern Africa, shows that people relied on coastlines for food, water, and more favorable living conditions over tens of thousands of years. Interestingly, scientists think it may have been the centralized location between land and sea and their plant and animal resources that attracted people and supported them amid repeated climatic and environmental variability.
The evidence, in the form of marine fish and shellfish remains, shows that prehistoric people repeatedly sought out dense and predictable seafoods. Other research has looked at the interactions between prehistoric people’s plant-gathering strategies and climate and environmental changes over the last glacial/interglacial phase. This research combines preserved plant pollen, plant phytoliths, macro botanical remains (charcoal and plant fragments) and plant wax carbon and hydrogen isotopes from the same archaeological archive and allowed researchers to study interactions between hunter-gatherer plant-gathering strategies and environmental changes across a glacial-interglacial transition.