Engraved flint nodules from the Levantine middle Epipaleolithic: Neve David revisited

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Engraved artifacts from pre-Natufian Levantine Epipaleolithic contexts are notable for their scarcity. This is so even though a number of implements have recently been added to the inventory. We present here an analysis of two engraved flint nodules recovered from the Geometric Kebaran site of Neve David (Mt. Carmel, Israel) incorporating use-wear studies and experiments on similar nodules from adjacent raw materials sources and provide online 3D models derived from photogrammetry. The engraved nodules were procured from two distinct flint outcrops in the site's immediate vicinity and were easy to engrave using the abundant flint flakes available at the site. We interpret one nodule as having two sets of decoration grooves, while in the other we see little evidence–if at all–for decoration or symbolic aspects. We then discuss the finds within the context of engraved objects from preceding Kebaran, contemporaneous Geometric Kebaran and subsequent Natufian sites. The current Epipalaeolithic repertoire in the southern Levant demonstrates that Kebaran and Geometric Kebaran engraved stone objects are rare and usually comprise small stones, plaquettes and nodules. In contrast, engraved stone artifacts were recovered in virtually every Natufian site and include large engraved slabs, small items and even the shaft wall of a bedrock mortar, with a wider variety of patterns and symbols.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-158
Number of pages18
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - 10 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA


  • 3D models
  • Engraved nodules
  • Epipaleolithic
  • Flint outcrops
  • Levant
  • Use-wear studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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