Archaeological horizons and fluvial processes at the Lower Paleolithic open-air site of Revadim (Israel)

Ofer Marder, Ariel Malinsky-Buller, Ruth Shahack-Gross, Oren Ackermann, Avner Ayalon, Miryam Bar-Matthews, Yonaton Goldsmith, Moshe Inbar, Rivka Rabinovich, Erella Hovers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we present new data pertaining to the paleo-landscape characteristics at the Acheulian site of Revadim, on the southern coastal plain of Israel. Sedimentological, isotopic, granulometric and micromorphological studies showed that the archaeological remains accumulated in an active fluvial environment where channel action, overbank flooding and episodic inundation occurred. Measurements of total organic matter and its carbon isotopic composition indicate that the hominin activity at the site started at a period of relatively drier conditions, which coincided with erosion of the preceding soil sequence. This process led to the formation of a gently-undulating topography, as reconstructed by a GIS model. Later deposition documents relatively wetter conditions, as indicated by carbon isotopic composition. Formation processes identified at the site include fluvial processes, inundation episodes that resulted in anaerobic conditions and formation of oxide nodules, as well as small-scale bioturbation and later infiltration of carbonate-rich solutions that resulted in the formation of calcite nodules and crusts. The combination of micro-habitats created favorable conditions that repeatedly drew hominins to the area, as seen by a series of super-imposed archaeological horizons. This study shows that site-specific paleo-landscape reconstructions should play an important role in understanding regional variation among hominin occupations and in extrapolating long-term behavioral patterns during the Middle Pleistocene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)508-522
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Antiquities Authority, Yad Hanadiv Foundation and the Irene-Levi Sala CARE Foundation.


  • Late acheulian
  • Levant
  • Lower paleolithic
  • Open-air site
  • Paleo-landscape
  • Revadim
  • Sedimentological history
  • Site formation processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology


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