The site of Nahal Oren is located in an ecotone at the foot of the western escarpment of Mt. Carmel, Israel within the Mediterranean climatic zone. The different ecological micro-habitats include the hills (up to 200 m) to the east, and the narrow coastal plain and seashore to the west. The site comprises a cave together with a steeply sloping terrace in front of it, on the north bank of Nahal Oren (Wadi Fallah), a seasonal water course that flows out to the Mediterranean Sea. This variety of habitats, together with abundant water sources (springs, seasonal ponds, and marshes) encouraged the long prehistoric occupation of the Wadi terrace.
The cave of Nahal Oren was first excavated in the 1940’s by M. Stekelis and produced only sparse finds, while subsequently two major series of excavations (from 1954 to 1957 and 1959-1960 by M. Stekelis, and between 1969-1971 by T. Noy, E. Higgs and A. Legge) were conducted on the terrace. The archaeological remains uncovered represent a long sequence from the late Upper Paleolithic (the so-called “Atlitian“5), through Kebaran, Natufian and Neolithic (PPNA and PPNB) settlements.
The Natufian occupations at the site, provided a lot of interesting archaeological data. Preliminary reports of the first series of terrace excavations described the architectural features, and both isolated graves and a well-defined cemetery with specific mortuary architecture have already be published.
Regarding the Lithics, there seems no special preference for blade/bladelets as tool blanks compared to flake blanks, which accords with observations on other Natufian assemblages. The large number of scrapers and burins made on flake blanks show, at least in the macrolithic component, a preference for flakes. While the burins are the major category of the macrolithic component, endscrapers are relatively rare (8 % of the macrolithic component). Most of them are simple endscrapers on flakes as shown here, but there are also carinated ones, which are by no means indicative of an “Aurignacian tradition”.