Variations in lithic artefact density as a tool for better understanding Middle Palaeolithic human behaviour: The case of Nesher Ramla (Israel)

Laura Centi*, Yossi Zaidner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Variability in the composition of lithic assemblages stems from the combined action of different agents. In this study we used shifts in the relation between lithic artefact density and lithic technological organisation as a tool to better understand the underlying causes of lithic techno-typological variability throughout the archaeological sequence of Nesher Ramla (Israel). Nesher Ramla is a Middle Palaeolithic open-air site found in a karst sinkhole, where human occupation took place in situ. The upper part of the site's sequence (Units II-I, dated to Marine Isotope Stage 5), is characterised by sharp shifts in lithic artefact densities, concomitant with changes in the composition of the lithic assemblages. Using lithic artefact density as a proxy, we were able to partially dissect palimpsests at the site as well as isolate which components of the lithic assemblages are affected by the length of the site occupation and which are possibly the outcome of different activities performed on-site (i.e., the site function) or result from the stylistic preferences of the site inhabitants. We suggest that the role played by the site within past hunter-gatherers’ mobility systems changed from the occupation of Unit IIB-Lower, when it was possibly repeatedly used for hunting and processing animal resources, to Unit I, when it was only sporadically visited for more general purposes. Morphological changes in the karst sinkhole over time are suggested as the major causes of change in site use.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4-18
Number of pages15
JournalQuaternary International
Volume624
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA

Keywords

  • Lithic artefact density
  • Lithic technology
  • Middle Palaeolithic
  • Mobility systems

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Variations in lithic artefact density as a tool for better understanding Middle Palaeolithic human behaviour: The case of Nesher Ramla (Israel)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this