Organization of lithic technology at 'Ein Qashish, a late Middle Paleolithic open-air site in Israel

Ariel Malinsky-Buller*, Ravid Ekshtain, Erella Hovers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


'Ein Qashish (EQ) is a late Middle Paleolithic (~60ka) open-air site located in the Yizra'el Valley east of Mt. Carmel, at the geographic center between some of the major Middle Paleolithic cave sites in northern Israel. Three seasons of excavation at the site revealed a small faunal collection and a diverse lithic assemblage. In this paper we discuss the composition, reduction technology, and raw material curation strategies represented in the assemblage. The assemblage is flake-dominated, with low frequencies of retouched artifacts and of cores. Several reduction sequences were identified. Products of Levallois methods appear in low frequencies. The modified artifacts include lightly retouched flakes and blades, side-scrapers, truncations and burins. The low frequencies of primary elements, core trimming elements, and cores suggest that only part of the reduction sequence took place on-site. Side-scrapers may have been imported into the locality. In contrast, short non-Levallois reduction sequences were applied on-site.The expedient nature of the retouch and of local reduction sequences suggests that the site represents an ephemeral occupation(s) on the banks of the Qishon stream. The nature of the lithic assemblage is not consistent with specific tasks such as butchery or hunting. Technological aspects of the assemblage and its composition bear similarities to those observed in habitation sites found in caves in the late Middle Paleolithic.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)234-247
Number of pages14
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - 8 May 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The ‘Ein Qashish project was supported by the National Geographic Society (grants #8739-10 and #8943-11 ), L.S.B. Leakey Foundation , The Ruth Amiran Fund for Archaeological Research , Irene Levi-Sala CARE foundation , and the Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University . We thank Natalia Gubenko of the Israel Antiquity Authority, Anna Belfer-Cohen and Ofer Bar-Yosef for allowing us to study the lithic materials from Raqefet and Kebara Caves. Micka Ullman and Masha Krakovsky were instrumental in the organization and analysis of the lithic assemblage from EQ. Figs. 2–4 and 7 were produced by the Laboratory of Computerized Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University. We thank Micka Ullman and Uri Schattner for producing Fig. 5 . We are grateful to participants of the workshop “Opportunities, Problems and Future Directions in the Study of Open-air Middle Paleolithic Sites” for their helpful comments during the meeting.


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