Introduction

Qesem Cave is situated 12 km east of Tel-Aviv in a hilly limestone terrain, 90m above sea level (328 110 latitude, 348 980 longitude). The ceiling of the cave and part of the deposits were destroyed by recent road construction on October 2000, revealing in this way a major part of its stratigraphic sequence.



Two short rescue seasons were conducted at Qesem Cave during 2001, one on behalf of the Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University and one in collaboration with the Israel Antiquities Authority. A new, on-going series of field seasons started after the site was protected, covered and fenced, in summer 2004. Ongoing excavation has exposed ca. 7.5 meters of anthropogenic deposits yielding very rich lithic and faunal assemblages. The stratigraphic sequence is attributed to the Acheulo- Yabrudian complex of the terminal Lower Paleolithic.

The Acheulo-Yabrudian complex (Jelinek's "'Mugharan Tradition"), at the terminal Lower Palaeolithic period, postdating the Acheulian and predating the Mousterian. The complex comprises three major facies - Acheulo-Yabrudian, Yabrudian and Pre-Aurignacian/Amudian. The Amudian is characterized by a systematic production of laminar items, Most of the sequence of Qesem cave attributed to the Amudian industry.


While the stratigraphy of the Acheulo-Yabrudian (above Acheulian and below Mousterian) repeats itself, the absolute chronology, generally dated to 400-200 ka ago, still needs fortification and refinement. 230Th/234U dates on speleothems suggest that the occupation of the cave began before 382 ka and ended possibly around 200 ka.
Qesem Cave lithic assemblages are most Amudian and are characterized by systematic blade production, many of the tools were made on blades, including backed and retouched blades, end scrapers, burins, and naturally backed knives. A significant flake component also exists in the Amudian, and side scrapers and hand axes appear in variable frequencies.
Amudian blade production and use may be related to specific modes or circumstances of resource exploitation, possibly different from those reflected by other late Lower Paleolithic entities/industries within the broader

Acheuleo-Yabrudian complex.

 

 

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