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2016-06-17 03:52:55   •   ID: 1423

Late Acheulian / Yabrudian Handaxes from Beit Berl (Israel)

Figure 1
Figure 2
Beit Berl (Hebrew: בֵּית בֶּרְל, lit. Berl House) is situated north of Tel Aviv and named after Berl Katznelson, the spiritual leader of the Labor movement in Mandate Palestine.

The cornerstone at Beit Berl was laid on 21 August 1946. The area was initially used as a base for the Haganah forces, which would became later the Israel Defense Forces.

After 1979 Beit Berl became the largest academic college in Israel with approximately 10,000 students. So far I can judge, Beit Berl provides a sympathetic educational and political program (see external link).

The small and thick handaxes (12 and 9 cm long cm; Figure 1 and 2) were found together in the 1950ies on the Beit Berl area. While the first handaxe has a broken tip and is made of fine homogeneous flint, the second handaxe was made on course brecciated material (see Figure 2).  

Both artifacts were incorporated into the local private collection of Professor Levenstein.

The appearance of the artifacts resembles  handaxes of the Acheulo-Yabrudian of this area (Tabun E), or late Acheulean (Tabun F) dating to 400 to 250 k.a.

The Levantine Late Acheulian is characterized by small bifaces of predominantly pointed forms and with unworked bases, "Micoquian " handaxes and rich and variable flake tools.

The fall in handaxe standardization and degree of refinement is especially characteristic of the Acheulo-Yabroudian, which is suggested to represent a final stage of the Acheulian techno-complex in the Levant.

The Acheulo-Yabroudian handaxes from  the nearby Tabun (Stratum E) and Misliya sites for example are often asymmetric and flat, exhibiting the appearance of "Faustkeilblätter" and "Unifaces", which may be in part the consequence of the available raw materials at these sites.

In general the  late Acheulian and the Acheulo-Yabrudian in the Levant fall into the same time frame. Handaxes were definitively abandoned from the toolkits at about 200 k.a. BP.

Contemporaneous Acheulian industries in the Southern Caucasus come from the cave sites Kudaro 1 and Azykh are dated to 300 k.a. Rare pointed bifaces, representative core-tools and numerous flake tools are characteristic of the group. In the Southern Caucasus, the Acheulian disappeared some 200 k.a. ago when it was replaced by early Middle Paleolithic complexes.