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2020-02-19 16:34:29   •   ID: 2153

Ubeidiya Chopping Tool / Core

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This is a classic Chopping Tool, made from high quality flint, from the multilayered Ubeidiya site in Israel, currently the earliest site in the Near East. The unique importance of `Ubeidiya lies in the fact that it is the best-documented site in Eurasia that illustrates the spread of humankind from Africa into the rest of the world.

Ubeidiya is located in the Jordan Rift Valley, where "Oldowan" and "early Acheulean" levels in a lake margin context have been bracketed on biostratigraphic grounds and paloemagnetism,to between 1.4 and 1.0 million years ago. For a simlar chopping tool from the site see here:

The age of the site of 'Ubeidiya is determined mainly on the basis of its faunal assemblages which are generally related to the Cromerian and Biharian faunas.

The fourteen archaeological horizons uncovered were found stratigraphically within the folded and faulted 'Ubeidiya formation. According to its sediment facies the 'Ubeidiya formation has been divided into four members, representing transgressions or regressions of a fresh water lake.

This horizons should not misinterpreted as “living floors.” They are a mixture of cultural and geological factors were involved in the formation of these assemblages (Shea 1999). They should rather considered as archaeological palimpsests.

Most of the Palaeolithic stone tools were found within the Fi member; they were generally incorporated in beach deposits and, more rarely, sunken in silty- clayey layers, or mixed with gravel accumulations.

These lithic assemblages are characterized by the abundance of core-choppers / chopping tools and simple flakes along with spheroids and hand-axes.

Regional variability in Acheulian typology has often been attributed to differences in the properties and shapes of the raw material available in each area.

Tracing the different stages of the Acheulian in Israel as they are represented by the tools of Ubeidiya, GBY and the Late Acheulian sites, as described by Gilead in 1970, different strategies of raw material use can be detected in LCT production.

LCTs in the Ubeidiya assemblages (dated to 1.4 million years BP) consist mainly of crude handaxes, picks and trihedrals, with practically no cleavers. At this site the LCTs were made almost exclusively on basalt, see here: while flint and limestone were preferred for small flake tool manufacturing for the production of Chopping Tools and Spheroids.

At GBY, basalt is the dominant raw material for the production of handaxes but occasionally flint and even limestone were used.

The late Acheulian around 500-400 k.a. with developed Levallois technology is mainly made of high quality flint and one possible ancestor of the Middle Paleolithic "Levallois-Mousterian".

Suggested Reading:

Stekelis M., Bar-Yosef O., Schick T. 1969. Archaeological Excavations at 'Ubeidiya, 1964-1966. This is still the most important publication about this important multilayered site. Can be found for cheap money in antiquarian book-shops.

Enzel Y. , Bar-Yosef O. (Ed) of the Levant: Environments, Climate Change, and Humans 2017

N. Goren-Inbar. The Acheulian Site of Gesher Benot Ya‘aqov Volume IV: The Lithic Assemblages (Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology) (English Edition) 2018

R Gallottiand M Mussi. Emergence of the Acheulean in East Africa and Beyond: Contributions in Honor of Jean Chavaillon (Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology) 2018.

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