A multi-proxy approach to Middle Paleolithic mobility: A case study from the open-air site of ‘Ein Qashish (Israel)

Netta Mitki*, Reuven Yeshurun, Ravid Ekshtain, Ariel Malinsky-Buller, Erella Hovers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The archaeological literature contains ample suggestions for lithics-based proxies of mobility, often used individually. In this study we use a combination of proxies to address changes in mobility in a persistent Late Middle Paleolithic open-air locality in the Levant (‘Ein Qashish). Low densities of finds (lithic and fauna) at 'Ein Qashish are consistent with short-term occupations, but thus far no attempt was made to compare the proxies of mobility in the different units. The proxies used here are formal to non-formal core ratio, overall artifact density, retouch frequency, Levallois debitage frequency and NISP density in volume. The compositions of the lithic assemblages are similar across archaeological units and appear to suggest the same modes of raw material acquisition and use, curation and extension of core use life (by the degree of its reduction) and the use-life of blanks (by the degree and nature of retouch). Likewise, the zooarchaeological comparison among the AUs highlights the general taxonomic and taphonomic similarity among them, suggesting that any differences between the four occupation horizons were of degree rather than of kind. The application of a multi-proxy approach serves to highlight the coarse-grain resolution of mobility that is addressed in these models, none of which can be a stand-alone method to capture, predict or explain the nuances within a narrow range of behavioral variations in a sequence of seemingly similar occupations.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number103088
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Curation
  • Levant
  • Lithic density
  • Middle Paleolithic
  • Residential mobility


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