The early upper paleolithic period at manot cave, Western Galilee, Israel

O. Barzilai, I. Hershkovitz, O. Marder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The Upper Palaeolithic period in the Levant is divided into three chronological stages: Initial (IUP), Early (EUP) and Late (LUP). While the Initial stage is the interphase between the Middle and the Upper Paleolithic periods, it was during the EUP that modern human populations fully established themselves in the region. The EUP consists of two techno-complexes, the local Ahmarian tradition, and the Levantine Aurignacian, conceived as an intrusive culture from Europe. Recent excavations at Manot Cave in western Galilee, Israel, have exposed rich Ahmarian and Aurignacian remains. The Ahmarian remains were found at the center of the cave superimposed by Aurignacian layers. They are characterized by long and narrow uni-And-bidirectional blades produced by soft hammer percussion. The tools consist of retouched blades, end scrapers and burins on blades and el-Wad points. These have been radiocarbon dated to 46-42 ka cal BP (68%). The Levantine Aurignacian remains, currently the dominant technocomplex at Manot, were recorded at the entrance and center of the cave. Distinctive finds include carinated and nosed end scrapers, Aurignacian blades, curved-Twisted bladelets and antler spear points. The radiocarbon ages of the Aurignacian layers at the entrance and center of the cave range from between 39-33 ka cal BP (68%). The EUP at Manot is represented by faunal, botanical and shell remains. The faunal assemblages consist of large-medium (ungulates) and small (birds and reptiles) game. The charred/wood remains comprise species indicating a Mediterranean forest environment. Notably, a relatively fair amount of sea shells were recovered from the EUP contexts, some were used as personal ornaments and others consumed as food. The EUP sequence at Manot starts with the Ahmarian, followed by a repetitive Aurignacian exploitation of the cave until ca. 30 ka, which is the estimated time of the collapse of the cave entrance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-100
Number of pages16
JournalHuman Evolution
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Ahmarian
  • Early upper palaeolithic
  • Levantine aurignacian
  • Manot cave

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology


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