A Ksar Akil Point from Kebara

ksar akil point

This is a Ksar Akil Point (sensu Bergman and Newcomer) from Kebara (5,5, cm long; Mt. Carmel, Israel). Ksar Akil points are simply blades pointed by retouch (Azoury 1986). Ksar Akil Points are primary known from the Ksar Akil Rock Shelter (Ksar ’Akil; Lebanon) Level 20,19,18,17, and 16 (EUP; Ahmarian). In the lower levels these pointed blades are made by a blade technology resembling the initial Upper Paleolithic at the site (IUP; Levels 25-20; modified Levallois technology) and exhibit faceted butts. During levels 18-16, the butts are punctiform and the blanks were detached by a soft hammer full-fledged Upper Paleolithic core technology. The changes in dorsal scar and platform attributes within the sequence indicate a substantial reorganization of blade production technologies seen also elsewhere in the Levant (Üçağızlı cave). Archaeologically,  Ksar Akil points mark the Boundary of the late IUP to the Ahmarian at Ksar Akil, Üçağızlı cave (Stratum H) and they are found in the basal Ahmarian at Kebara in Israel. At Kebara, specimens almost identical to the point displayed here, were described by Garrod in her publication about the Upper Paleolithic of the site as “El Wad” points”. 

80% of the specimens are slightly curved. The length of the majority is between 40-55 mm. The types of retouch used to form the points are generally semi abrupt or combinations of semi abrupt and abrupt retouches. The type, amount and position of the retouch is considerable variable. The points may be backed (Garrod`s” Chatelperrons”), or partially backed, selectively retouched on one side of the tip, more often retouched at one edge and the adjacent portion of the tip. It may suggested, that the technological reorganization at the IUP/EUP boundary indicate an evolution  of hunting devices-maybe the replacement of the spear- by dart- or even arrow-technology.

There is a continuous confusion about the course of the Levantine Upper Paleolithic, especially in the correlation of the Ksar Akil stratigraphy and the shorter, more incomplete, stratigraphies elsewhere (Carmel, Negev, Wadies in Jordan) . While the two large entities of the Ahmarian and Levantine Aurignacian are generally accepted, other techno-complexes (several strata at El Wad and many new discoveries) can not be easily incorporated into this simple scheme. To make the things worse, there are ambiguities in the correct denomination of several artifacts.  Ksar Akil points, for example, are sometimes subsumed under the El Wad / point category.

1. Ksar Akil Points Stratum XX. From: Ingrid Azoury: Ksar Akil, Lebanon. B.A.R., 1986

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