The Early Middle Palaeolithic (EMP) in the Levant presents a unique phenomenon, diverse forms of blade production dominate the technological organization. Contrary to the discontinuous presence of blade production across Eurasia, both before and after the EMP, blades and their by-products were, between 250 and 160,000 years ago, the main “behavioral package” in the Levant region. The EMP lithic assemblages comprised of several techno-typological traits, the use of Levallois, Laminar, and cores on flakes reduction strategies. Furthermore, it seems that within each single reduction sequence there is versatility, changes which occur between technological concepts allows prolongation of the core's utility and enhanced control of blank production. Here, we reassess the assemblages of Abou-Sif, excavated between 1928-1934, and among the first EMP sites excavated and analysed in the region. These lithic assemblages, despite biased collection methods, will contribute to the understanding of the EMP technological organization. These results not only highlight the techno-typological diversity in the mode of production but also reflect the narrow variation that is shared among all known EMP sites. The possible social and demographic implications of this low-diversity within a cohesive geographical and chronological framework will be discussed with regards to the previous Late Lower and later Middle Paleolithic records in the Levant.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Dorota Wojtczak’s research is supported by the Basel University, Switzerland and Ariel Malinsky-Buller’s research was supported by the MONREPOS; Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution; Germany.
We thank the many curators and colleagues from the Archaeological Institute at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Rockefeller Museum, Jerusalem, and Institut de Pal?ontologie Humaine, Paris who granted access to the stone tool assemblages from Abou-Sif employed in the study. We acknowledge M. Goder-Goldberger for reviewing the first draft of this manuscript, R. Frosdick for English editing and R. Jagher for help with Graphs of Fig. 6. We would also like to thank Micka Ullman for the most recent photos of Abou-Sif which we used in Figs. 1 and 2. Dorota Wojtczak's research is supported by the Basel University, Switzerland and Ariel Malinsky-Buller's research was supported by the MONREPOS; Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution; Germany.
© 2022 The Author(s)
- Blade industry
- Early Middle Palaeolithic
- Laminar production
- Lithic technology
- Tabun D