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2017-08-30 06:08:19   •   ID: 1646

El-Wad Point from Kebara / Israel

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This is an El-Wad Points from the early upper Paleolithic at Kebara/Israel. The lower assemblages (E III and E IV) at Kebara are attributed to the Early Ahmarian (sensu: Gilead and Marks) and dated to max. 46 k.a. cal BP.

At Manot cave the Ahmarian is present at about 45 k.a. cal BP, and is dated around 39 k.a. calBP at Boker A in the Negev. Renewed excavation have been recently performed at Boker and may be published in 2022.

The Ahmarian industry is characterized by the dominance of bladelets and blades from uni- or bidirectional cores, a high frequencies of pointed blades and flat scrapers, and low frequency or even a lacks of carinated scrapers. This tradition can be traced in the southern Levant until the early Epipaleolithic.

The Late Ahmarian is characterized by the increase of Ouchtata bladelets outnumbering the el-Wad points, and by a diversification of core-reduction strategies for bladelet production.

Some late Late Ahmarian assemblages, such as Ohalo II, include microlith types, such as micropoints, obliquely truncated backed bladelets, and proto-triangles, that are usually seen as hallmarks of the Kebaran-an early local Epipaleolithic, first recognised at Kebara - see: 1508

Kebara: According to the last excavations by Ofer Bar-Yosef and Liliane Meignen, which were carried out on relativ small areas, an Ahmarian was followed by a Levantine Aurignacian.

In short the Aurignacian was much more often made on Flakes, showed more El Wad Points than the underlying Ahmarian, which were predominantly made on Bladelets, in contrast to the Ahmarian, where they were more often made on Blades.

The Aurignacian units at Kebara display Aurignacian characteristics (carinated, nosed, and shouldered endscrapers, typical Aurignacian retouches and a splited bone point).

These results are in part different from the publication by Ziffer (see attached files), who found, based on excavation material from Moshe Stekelis, that el Wad points at Kebara were more common during the Ahmarian, but almost absent in the Levantine Aurignacian assemblages sensu stricto.

Both data sets may be biased. The new data by the small excavation area, the older ones by the excavation technique. At other Levantine sites that are assigned to the Aurignacian tradition, El Wad points are quite common.

Looking further North, The Ksar Akil Upper Paleolithic III is characterized by twisted and curved debitage for the production of El Wad points  during III A (levels 13-11), while the blanks for their production in levels  10-8 (III B) tend to be regular in profile.

The main typological categories of the "Aurignacian" in the Zagros - see personal picture in Figure 2-show, together with a clear abundance of bladelet tools, primarily Arjeneh points. These points are very similar to the original Font-Yves points. Classic Dufour bladelets are also present. 

The toolkit also includes Aurignacian blades, sometimes pointed, numerous burins of different types, endscrapers on blades and splintered pieces. In addition to bladelet tools, tools unique to the Aurignacian – carinated endscrapers and burins – are also present. The calibrated C-14 dates, using Bayesian statistics, show a single chronological signal, between 37 and 39 cal BP near the Heinrich 4 event.

During the last Years the Group from Köln excavated Early Ahmarian Ensembles in Jordan (Wadi Sabra; Al-Ansab 1) as an indication of a "Northern Levantine Corridor" complimenting the Southern one, including Kebara and Manot, South of the Jordan River.

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Suggested reading: Ziffer D. A Re-evaluation of the Upper Palaeolithic industries at Kebara Cave and their place in the Aurignacian culture of the Levant. (via Persee)

Ofer Bar-Yosef and Liliane Meignen: Kebara Cave, Mt. Carmel, Israel, Part I The Middle and Upper Paleolithic Archaeology 2008

Ofer Bar-Yosef and Liliane Meignen: Cave, Mt. Carmel, Israel, Part II The Middle and Upper Paleolithic Archaeology 2019

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Provenance: Collection Levenstein (ISR)