The end of the Lower Paleolithic in the Levant: The Acheulo-Yabrudian lithic technology at Misliya Cave, Israel

Yossi Zaidner*, Mina Weinstein-Evron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

The end of the Lower Paleolithic in the Levant is marked by the emergence of a new techno-complex known as Acheulo-Yabrudian (350–250 ka BP). Stratigraphically placed at the transition between the Acheulian and Mousterian techno-complexes, the Acheulo-Yabrudian is crucial for the understanding of biological, cultural and behavioral evolution from the Lower to the Middle Paleolithic in the Levant. Misliya Cave, Mount Carmel, is one of the rare Levantine sites in which both the Acheulo-Yabrudian and Early Mousterian are present, allowing direct comparison between the two industries. Here we present the analysis of an Acheulo-Yabrudian lithic assemblage from the site and discuss its place within Levantine technological and cultural frameworks. Three technological systems were identified in Misliya Acheulo-Yabrudian assemblage: 1) Bifacial shaping. 2) Production of thin flakes from hierarchical-surfaces cores – The hierarchical-surfaces cores exhibit some of the criteria of the Levallois concept but lack the major characteristics of the Levallois, namely the preparation of the flaking surface and predetermination. The thin-flake production phenomenon has not been previously discussed in relation to the Acheulo-Yabrudian. The large quantities of simple thin flakes at Misliya Cave indicate their relative importance in hominin subsistence strategies. 3) Production of large and thick, often cortical, flakes from unprepared cores – The flakes were used for manufacturing handaxes or large scrapers by Quina or semi-Quina retouch. The two former systems are well-known from the Upper Acheulian assemblages in the Levant, suggesting regional continuity, while the production of Quina scrapers seems to be a major technological innovation of the Acheulo-Yabrudian. The three Acheulo-Yabrudian technological systems described above were not identified in the Early Middle Paleolithic assemblages of Misliya Cave. Moreover, Levallois and laminar technologies, and production of retouched points that mark the emergence of the Middle Paleolithic in the Levant, are absent from the Acheulo-Yabrudian of Misliya Cave, further supporting the view that a marked technological break in the region occurred ca. 250 ka ago with the onset of the Middle Paleolithic.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)9-22
Number of pages14
JournalQuaternary International
Volume409
DOIs
StatePublished - 21 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA

Keywords

  • Acheulo-Yabrudian
  • Handaxes
  • Levant
  • Lithic technology
  • Lower Paleolithic
  • Scrapers

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