A new type of anvil in the acheulian of gesher benot ya‘aqov, Israel

Naama Goren-Inbar, Gonen Sharon, Nira Alperson-Afil, Gadi Herzlinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report here on the identification and characterization of thin basalt anvils, a newly discovered component of the Acheulian lithic inventory of Gesher Benot Ya‘aqov (GBY). These tools are an addition to the array of percussive tools (percussors, pitted stones and anvils) made of basalt, flint and limestone. The thin anvils were selected from particularly compact, horizontally fissured zones of basalt flows. This type of fissuring produces a natural geometry of thick and thin slabs. Hominins at GBY had multiple acquisition strategies, including the selection of thick slabs for the production of giant cores and cobbles for percussors. The selection of thin slabs was carried out according to yet another independent and targeted plan. The thinness of the anvils dictated a particular range of functions. The use of the anvils is well documented on their surfaces and edges. Two main types of damage are identified: those resulting from activities carried out on the surfaces of the anvils and those resulting from unintentional forceful blows (accidents de travaille). Percussive activities that may have been associated with the thin anvils include nut cracking and the processing of meat and bones, as well as plants.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1682
StatePublished - 19 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


  • Acheulian
  • Anvils
  • Gesher benot ya‘aqov
  • Percussive damage
  • Percussive tools
  • Procurement mode

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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