Journal Highlight: Local and nonlocal procurement of raw material in Amud Cave, Israel: The complex mobility of Late Middle Paleolithic groups

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  • Published: Mar 6, 2017
  • Author: spectroscopyNOW
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thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: Local and nonlocal procurement of raw material in Amud Cave, Israel: The complex mobility of Late Middle Paleolithic groups

Geological and archaeological flints from two stratigraphic subunits at the Neanderthal site of Amud Cave have been linked with the geochemical characteristics obtained by ICP MS and ICP AES.

Local and nonlocal procurement of raw material in Amud Cave, Israel: The complex mobility of Late Middle Paleolithic groups

Geoarchaeology, 2017, 32, 189-214
Ravid Ekshtain, Shimon Ilani, Irina Segal and Erella Hovers

Abstract: Studying the distribution of lithic raw materials around prehistoric sites, their procurement, transport, and use, are important for understanding organizational decisions of hunter-gatherers. Here we examine lithic technological organization in two stratigraphic subunits B4 and B1 (dated ∼ 68 and ∼ 55 ka, respectively) at the Neanderthal site of Amud Cave. The lithic assemblages are made exclusively of flint. An ArcGIS model is used to create a predictive model for daily exploitation territories (DETs) around the site. Using a battery of statistical methods (ANOVA, principal component analysis, and cluster analysis), we link flint visual types with geochemical characteristics (obtained through inductively coupled plasma (ICP) mass spectrometry and ICP atomic emission spectrometry) of both geological and archaeological flints. Results indicate that local materials are abundant in both subunits. Nonlocal raw materials (from areas beyond the modeled DET) amount to 30–40% across all technological categories, suggesting long-distance transport. The technological patterns of the nonlocal raw material differ between the two subunits. Pending results of additional work, we suggest that nonlocal flint types were likely obtained from distances >60 km. Mobility patterns inferred from this study suggest that Amud Cave was a focal location within its settlement system during both occupation periods, but the manner of site use and mobility patterns changed through time.

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