Late Acheulian Handaxe from Beit Berl (Israel)

beit berl katzman aggsbachBeit Berl (Hebrew: בֵּית בֶּרְל, lit. Berl House) is situated north of Tel Aviv and named after Berl Katznelson, the spiritual leader of the Labor movement in Mandate Palestine. The cornerstone at Beit Berl was laid on 21 August 1946. The area was initially used as a base for the Haganah forces, which would became later the Israel Defense Forces. After 1979 Beit Berl became the largest academic college in Israel with approximately 10,000 students. So far I can judge, Beit Berl provides a sympathetic educational and political program (http://www.beitberl.ac.il/english/Pages/default1.aspx.).

This small and thick handaxe (12x7x3 cm) made of chert was found in the 1950ies on the Beit Berl area together with a second handaxe made on brecciated material (see below).  Both artifacts were later incorporated into a local private collection. The tip is broken. The appearance of the artifact resembles  handaxes of the late Acheulian of this area (Tabun F). The majority of Late Acheulian sites in the Levant are dated from 400 to 300 k.a. The Levantine Late Acheulian is characterized by small bifaces of predominantly pointed forms and with unworked bases, “Micoquian ” handaxes and rich and variable flake tools.

The fall in handaxe standardization and degree of refinement is especially characteristic of the Acheulo-Yabroudian, which is suggested to represent a final stage of the Acheulian techno-complex in the Levant. The Acheulo-Yabroudian handaxes from  the nearby Tabun (Stratum E) and Misliya sites for example are often asymmetric and flat, exhibiting the appearance of “Faustkeilblätter” and “Unifaces”, which may be in part the consequence of the available raw materials at these sites.

In general the  late Acheulian and the Acheulo-Yabroudian in the Levant fall into a time frame between 200-400 k.a.BP (http://www.aggsbach.de/2010/09/yabroudian/). Contemporaneous Acheulian industries in the Southern Caucasus come from the cave sites Kudaro 1 and Azykh are dated to 300 k.a. Rare pointed bifaces, representative core-tools and numerous flake tools are characteristic of the group.

Throughout its geographical distribution in the Levant and Southern Caucasus, the Acheulian disappeared some 200 k.a. ago when it was replaced by early Middle Paleolithic complexes.

Beit Berl Old Aggsabch

Two Handaxes from Beit Berl in 2008. Handaxe 1 from chert with restored tip, wich was later removed and the second handaxe (Handaxe 2) with an identical shape made from brecciated stone.

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