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2022-10-16 09:21:05   •   ID: 2354

The Jilatian: Big Arrowpoint before the PPNB

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 1-3 show a seven cm long Jilat Point from the Levantine Middle Epipaleolic, found decennia ago on the Jordanian side of the Jordan River.

The Levantine Epipaleolithic is usually based on Microlithic tools. Therefore it comes not as a surprise, that Jilat Points initially only known from surface findings at the Jilat 22 site, located the Wadi el-Jilat (central Jordan), were suggested as a new variant of the PPNB Big Arrowhead phenomenon (Garrard et al. 1985).

In situ sites, excavated since the 1980ies revealed their Epipaleolithic age, substantiated by several consistent C-14 data and stratigraphies of multilayered sites.

Such artifacts are preferentially known from what is today Central Jordan but are, however, also known from the Sinai and from the el Kowm area in Syria (Cauvin 1998).

"Jilat Points" were indeed multifunctional and served both as Projectiles and Knifes. They were always large sized and manufactured on blades (Garrard and Byrd 1992). They are characterized by a distinct directly retouched and relatively long tang. Their tip was commonly retouched or backed along one lateral / oblique edge as shown in Figure 1 and 2.

Some of the Jilat knives have remnant microburin scars at the tip, indicating that this technique was used to help fashion the shape of the point tip. Jilat Points / Knifes are associated with single platform cores for the production of blade/bladelets, although opposed platform cores are also known.

Jilat Points / Knifes often make up 50% of the total lithic ensemble of carefully excavated in-situ sites. Beside the diagnostic "Fossile Directeur", burins, strangulated tools, some endscrapers and a poorly developed microlithic component consisting of non-geometric artifacts, mainly backed elements, are usually present in the Jilatian Ensembles (Byrd and Garrard 2019).

At the type site (Jilat 22 Middle and Lower) the Jilatian is securely dated towards the end of the local Middle Epipaleolithic between 16,3 and 14,9 cal BP.

The presence of a non-microlithic, blade dominated assemblage from the Epipalaeolithic is neither unprecedented nor „exotic“.

The phenomenon has been mainly explained by functional factors like the development of new hunting strategies and changes in settlement patterns during the advent of the late Levantine Epipaleolithic.

Surf the Blog:

About the PPNB and Levantine Epipaleolithic -see here: 1147 , here: 2159 , and here: 1508

Suggested Reading:

Ezel and Bar-Yosef (Ed’s): Quaternary of the Levant: Environments, Climate Change, and Humans; 2017.


Levenstein Collection (ISR)