The 2250 km2 Saloum delta, south of Dakar, Senegal, consists of a Holocene sedimentary sequence deposited during five evolutionary stages: submerged postglacial ria, funnel-like estuary, barred estuary, cuspate delta, and reverse estuary. The passage from one stage to another was marked by the deposition of sedimentary units consisting of shelly sands, silty or sandy clays, and an extensive thick green mud. Muds in the lower strata, dating between 6130 and 3500 yr B.P., were deposited on a subtidal mudflat, while fine sands and silty clays characterize intertidal deposits. A drastic change in sedimentation patterns, resulting in the accumulation of a series of beach barriers, likely was associated with a major climatic change. The regional climate was then very dry, and silt and sand were trapped in the water behind the barriers in two stages, from 1990 to 1510 and 1020 to 600 yr B.P. Each event was accompanied by construction of shell middens that demonstrate the presence of humans who exploited newly available shallows and banks. Relative sea level did not change significantly between 6000 yr B.P. and the present. Morphological and sedimentological changes observed in the late Holocene sequences were apparently induced by a constraining climatic background.