Use-wear analysis of five glossed flint blades found at Ohalo II, a 23,000-years-old fisherhuntergatherers' camp on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Northern Israel, provides the earliest evidence for the use of composite cereal harvesting tools. The wear traces indicate that tools were used for harvesting near-ripe semi-green wild cereals, shortly before grains are ripe and disperse naturally. The studied tools were not used intensively, and they reflect two harvesting modes: flint knives held by hand and inserts hafted in a handle. The finds shed new light on cereal harvesting techniques some 8,000 years before the Natufian and 12,000 years before the establishment of sedentary farming communities in the Near East. Furthermore, the new finds accord well with evidence for the earliest ever cereal cultivation at the site and the use of stone-made grinding implements.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The Ohalo II project was generously supported by the Irene-Levi Sala CARE Archaeological Foundation, The Israel Science Foundation (Nos. 831/00 and 711/08), the Jerusalem Center for Anthropological Studies, the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, the Stekelis Museum of Prehistory in Haifa, the MAFCAF Foundation, the National Geographic Society and the Israel Antiquities Authority. We thank the Israel Nature and Parks Authority for the permission to conduct some of the experiments in the fields of Mount Carmel. Digital figures were prepared by Anat Regev-Gisis.
© 2016 Groman-Yaroslavski et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)