Owing to the hypercontinental location of Western Nubia, secular fluctuations of climate have been filtered and wet phases can be considered as representative of conditions throughout the southeastern Sahara. The study area is crossed by the 20-mm isohyet; between 9300 and about 4000 yr B.P., however, there were widespread lake and swamp environments with freshwater molluscs, ostracods, and diatoms, and a species-rich savanna mammal fauna. The center of the West Nubian Basin (approx. 18°N), an area of about 20,000 km2, was occupied by a semiaquatic landscape which was situated at the same latitude as Paleolake Chad. From extensive lake carbonates up to about 4 m thick, a long-term rise of the groudwater table is inferred. Environments developed that now exist at about latitude 13°N. Radiocarbon dates from lake sediment sequences cluster between 30,000 and 21,000 yr B.P., indicating a Pleistocene wet phase. A gap in radiocarbon dates between 21,000 and 11,000 yr B.P. signals a phase of hyperaridity, similar to the present hyperarid phase, with eolian deflation and deposits of sand being the dominant forms of erosion and accumulation.