Raw material exploitation at the Middle Paleolithic site of Nesher Ramla, Israel

Ravid Ekshtain*, Yossi Zaidner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The affordance of raw materials around prehistoric sites can affect knappers’ decision-making process regarding raw material procurement. The Levant presents a rich flint affordance area in which a case study on the organizational decisions of hunter-gatherers regarding raw materials can be tested. Here we examine Unit IIb from the Nesher Ramla site (MIS 5), located in central Israel, in an area rich in potential flint sources. An ArcGIS model was used to create a predictive model for daily exploitation territories (DETs) around the site. We present a three-stage study: (a) a pedestrian survey to locate flint sources; (b) establishment of visual similarities between flint artifacts and potential sources; and (c) a geochemical analysis (obtained through inductively coupled plasma (ICP) mass spectrometry and ICP atomic emission spectrometry); of both geological and archaeological flint that confirms the visual analysis. The results show a uniform pattern of using mainly local flint material from abundant and rich Senonian outcrops that was brought and knapped on site. In addition, the use of less available Eocene material was found, mainly in tools and debitage, suggesting that this type was used as personal gear. We suggest that the unique uniform pattern of the raw material procurement strategy at the site is related to the site's function as a series of short-term camps, task-oriented towards hunting activities and animal consumption and processing.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)34-48
Number of pages15
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - 30 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

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  • Flint sources
  • Middle paleolithic
  • Mousterian
  • Personal gear
  • Raw material


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