Evidence for a middle Paleolithic flint workshop in Arnona, South Jerusalem

Omry Barzilai, Yonaton Goldsmith, Maayan Shemer, Naomi Porat, Onn Crouvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Middle Paleolithic period in the Jerusalem area is not well known. A series of recent salvage excavations conducted in southern Jerusalem found evidence for a Middle Paleolithic workshop adjacent to local Mishash flint outcrops. This paper presents the geological setting, chronology, and lithic industry of site Arnona B.The site is composed of a dense concentration of lithic artifacts and natural flint cobbles and blocks embedded in a topographic depression incised into the flint bedrock. The lithic assemblage is characterized by Levallois and Hierarchical surface flake cores produced from large slabs and flakes, and smaller nodules, all produced on local Mishash flint. Levallois core morphology is non-standardized and includes tested cores and preforms. The excavation identified a vertical segment of the bedrock (quarry front?), which together with flint boulders with characteristic knapped test scars and trihedral picks suggest that raw material was quarried on site.The Mishash flint material is known for its hard-mechanical properties and is known to have been used for producing core tools in other periods (e.g. handaxes in the Lower Paleolithic). Our results imply that Mishash flint material was also exploited for flake production during the Middle Paleolithic. OSL dating provide a minimum age for human activity at Arnona B which corresponds with the early phase of the Middle Paleolithic.Arnona B contributes to the understanding of flint exploitation during the Middle Paleolithic in the greater Jerusalem area. The proximity of Arnona B to the Judean Desert cave sites suggests a possible spatial connection, where Arnona B was occasionally visited by the Middle Paleolithic cave inhabitants for obtaining raw materials
Translated title of the contributionעדויות לקיומו של אתר סיתות מהתקופה הפליאוליתית התיכונה בארנונה, דרום ירושלים
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-43
Number of pages29
Journalמתקופת האבן
StatePublished - 2020


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