Raw material exploitation around the middle paleolithic site of 'EinQashish

Ravid Ekshtain*, Ariel Malinsky-Buller, Shimon Ilani, Irina Segal, Erella Hovers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Lithic reduction sequences reflect decisions made by ancient tool makers. The first stages of a reduction sequence concern raw material procurement and include identifying sources on the landscape, testing the quality of raw material, knapping on the spot or moving material to other locations. The distance from raw material source to a destination location is a significant factor that has implications for artifact life history.'Ein Qashish is located in the western Yizra'el Valley. The lithic assemblage from the late Middle Paleolithic site of 'Ein Qashish is made exclusively on flint. This raw material occurs as several different visual types, distinguished by their colors and textures. Several geological formations, some of which are flint-bearing, are known at various distances from the site, which is situated on a distal alluvial fan of a drainage that carried sediments and small flint nodules from Mt. Carmel towards the Qishon stream in the east.In order to associate archaeological flint from the assemblage of 'Ein Qashish to potential geological sources, we used visual observations (color and texture), geochemical ( ICP-MS, ICP-AES) analyses, and statistical methods (e.g., ANOVA and Principle Component Analysis). Our analysis shows that ICP-MS and ICP-AES can be used to differentiate between flints from various geological formations and to assign archaeological artifacts to geological origin areas. The inhabitants of 'Ein Qashish obtained flints from various distances and integrated on-site knapping of flint from relatively closer sources with transport of finished tools from more distant locations. The relationship between the distance of potential raw material sources and the distribution of raw materials among technological products from different stages of reduction is addressed in order to discuss mobility patterns and raw material economy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)248-266
Number of pages19
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - 8 May 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Ruth Amiran Fund for Archaeological Research in the Land of Israel, the Institute of Archaeology , The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; Irene-Levi Sala Care Foundation ; and grants to EH from the Leakey Foundation and National Geographic. We thank the GIS department of the Geological Survey of Israel for providing all geological and geographical data and to Natalya Tepelyakov and Olga Yoffe from the geochemical department for help in preparing and analyzing the samples. Adi Ben-Nun from the department of Geography, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem provided the DEM and helped building the GIS formulae. Yehoshua Kolodny kindly gave his time to discuss with us methodologies and results of the geochemical analyses. Thanks to Ilan Sharon for statistical advice. We thank the students and friends who helped in the survey for geological sources: Omry Barzilai, Michal Birkenfeld, Christophe Delage, Dotan Druck, Yoni Goldshmit, Masha Krakovsky, György Lengyel, Ofer Marder, Dani Nadel, Uri, Aya and Ruthy Schattner, Amit Segev, Yotam Tepper, Micka Ullman.


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