The Initial Upper Paleolithic of the Negev

tachtit aggsbachFig 1: Y-shaped “Levallois blade” with faceted platform from the  Negev (near Boker-Tachtit, Avdat/Aquev Area).

At Boker-Tachtit (47-42 k.a. BP) a special form of the Levallois technique that shifts over time (Level 1-4) to an upper Paleolithic blade technology. The aim of the operational sequences in all levels was the production of blades that are shaped like elongated Levallois-points. Technologically, upper Paleolithic tools (Endscrapers and Burins) are common in all levels, while Levels 1 and 2 are also characterized by the occurrence of Emireh points (“Emirian”).


Fig 2: Faceted base of the IUP-Blade: Remembrance on the Levallois technique

The antecedents for this technological evolution have not been identified up to now. Marks originally described the Boker-Tachtit sequence as a gradual technological transition in situ between Level 1 (terminal Mousterian) and fully Upper Paleolithic (Level 4), while other archaeologists suggest that this succession essentially represents four fully Upper Palaleolithic occupations.

Ensembles similar to Boker-Tachtit 1 were found in not only in the Levant, but also in Bulgaria (Temnata  TD2/6,  Bacho Kiro 11), near Brno (Bohunician at Brno Bohunice, Stránská skála Ss-IIIa-4, Brno Líšeň , Tvarožná, and Želeč), in Moravia (Rataje, Ondratice, Mohelno) in the eastern Slovakia (Nižný Hrabovec), in the Ukraine,at Obi-Rakhmat Grotto, situated 100 km northeast of Tashkent in the  Republic of Uzbekistan and in the Altai (Kara Bom). These ensembles date roughly between 45-32 k.a. BP.

A similar ensemble was found at a chert extraction site in the Nil-valley at Taramsa 1.  During the Tarmasan “there was a clear tendency towards blade production from large cores, where, instead of obtaining a few Levallois flakes from each individual core, a virtually continuous process of blade production made it possible to create a large number of blades from each core”  (Vermeersch and Hendrickx 2000, p.23).

A child burial was found at Taramsa-1 dating to this time (c.55 k.a BP): “The poorly preserved bones were those of a subadult ‘anatomically modern human’ similar in appearance to the Mechtoid populations of the north African Epipalaeolithic. The position of the body, as well as the depth of the pit in which it was found . . . suggest that the child had not died in this location but had been deliberately brought here to be buried” (Midant-Reynes 1992/2000 p.37).

There is a broad agreement that in the Levant, the Emirian evolved to the Ahmiran at about 42-35 k.a. BP (Ksar ‘Akil Rockshelter, Üçağızlı Cave, Kebara Cave) and may have consecutively diffused to Europe as early as 40-42 k.a. BP (the so called “Protoaurignacian” of southern Europe).

Suggested Reading:

The Early Upper Paleolithic in the Nil Valley

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About Katzman

During my whole life I was fascinated by stone age artefacts. Not only the aesthetic qualities of these findings, but also the stories around them and the considerations arising from their discovery, are a part of my blog. Comments and contributions are allways welcome! About me: J.L. Katzman (Pseudonym). Born in Vienna. Left Austria in 1974 and did not regret. Studied Medicine and Prehistory at a German University. Member of a Medical Department at a German University. Copyright 2010-2017 by JLK. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to use material in these posts so long as you cite the work.
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6 Responses to The Initial Upper Paleolithic of the Negev

  1. Maju says:

    Hello, I just found today this blog and is quite fascinating, admittedly. You got a new reader or three. 🙂

    Anyhow, my question here is: the dates you mention here are BP calibrated or just raw C14 BP. I’d like to find out in order to compare wit their alleged European relatives particularly (and of course just for the sake of knowing). If raw, then the origins of Aurignacoid industries, at least re. Europe, could well be in the Levant but if calibrated then the dates are way too similar, suggesting a third point of origin yet to be found.

    Btw, the suggested reading link is broken (404 error).

  2. Katzman says:

    All C14 dates in this blog are raw C14 BP. Thanks for reading…

  3. Maju says:

    You’re welcome. The 55 KaBP for the Taramsa-1 kid is also C14 uncalibrated or was it obtained by another method. I’m trying to figure out the most reasonable chronology for the Homo sapiens colonization of West Eurasia and C14 dates so old do not normally exist, much less calibration curves – at least not that I’m aware.

    Thanks for your time.

  4. Katzman says:

    Taramsa is dated by OSL and stratigraphy….

  5. Pingback: The Early Upper Paleolithic in the Nil Valley | Aggsbach's Paleolithic Blog

  6. Pingback: At the same time? | Aggsbach's Paleolithic Blog

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