Back to base: re-thinking variations in settlement and mobility behaviors in the Levantine Late Middle Paleolithic as seen from Shovakh Cave

Ariel Malinsky-Buller*, Ravid Ekshtain, Natalie Munro, Erella Hovers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Shovakh cave is a late Middle Paleolithic cave site in Northern Israel, situated ca. 8 km from the Sea of Galilee. The Cave was originally was excavated by Sally Binford in 1962, and results of the analyses of its lithic assemblages played a major role in the then-raging Bordes-Binford debate, as well as in the initiation of the field of inquires known as “technological organization.” A renewed excavation in 2016 led to a better understanding of site formation at the cave and to a refined chrono-stratigraphic framework of the Middle Paleolithic occupations at the site. Here we present the results of the analyses of lithic and faunal assemblages combining material from both the original and renewed excavations at the site. Together with the results of the geoarcheological work, we are able to offer a refined reconstruction of the modes of occupation in the site as well as of its role within late MP settlement systems in the Levant. We show that during three periods of site occupation, settlements in Shovakh were mostly ephemeral, a rare phenomenon among the late MP cave sites. At the same time, the lithic and faunal assemblages suggest that the nature of these ephemeral occupations differed temporally and spatially. In each of these cases, the fitting scenario for Shovakh’s occupations is as a “transient camp,” used over short-term occupations.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number112
JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Volume13
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

Keywords

  • Bordes-Binford debate
  • Levant
  • Lithic technology
  • Middle Paleolithic
  • Settlement system
  • Subsistence strategies

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