Revisiting the Acheulian Large Cutting Tools of `Ubeidiya, Israel

Gadi Herzlinger, Michel Brenet, Alexandre Varanda, Marianne Deschamps, Naama Goren-Inbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The site of `Ubeidiya is one of the earliest and best-known manifestations of the Acheulian Technocomplex outside Africa. Through the archaeological remains excavated in its numerous layers, it provides a wealth of information about the technological tradition and behavior of its occupants. This study applies a morpho-technological methodological approach, combining 3D geometric morphometric and traditional technological analyses to the large cutting tools component sampled from two assemblages at the site. Our results reflect high morphological and technological variability and shed light on the manner in which the morphological patterns are related to technological decisions and preferences of the ancient knappers. The results support the notion that while the final form of the large cutting tools was substantially affected by the morphological characteristics of the selected raw materials, it was not deterministically dictated by environmental factors, but purposefully chosen by the knappers during raw material selection. This notion reflects the advanced planning capacities of the Early Acheulian hominins at the site. Furthermore, it demonstrates how a division of the large cutting tools category into two morphotypes through a decision taken at an early stage of production was already established at `Ubeidiya. This appears to be one of the earliest expressions of this behavioral pattern, typical of substantially later Acheulian assemblages.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
StatePublished - 29 Nov 2021


  • `Ubeidiya
  • Acheulian
  • Large cutting tools
  • 3D geometric morphometric
  • Technological behavior
  • Cognitive capacities


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