Faunal remains from the Upper Paleolithic site of Nahal Rahaf 2 in the southern Judean Desert, Israel

Nimrod Marom, Dariya Lokshin Gnezdilov, Roee Shafir, Omry Barzilai, Maayan Shemer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nahal Rahaf 2 (NR2) is an Early Upper Paleolithic (ca. 35 kya) rock shelter in the southern Judean Desert in Israel. Two excavation seasons in 2019 and 2020 revealed a stratigraphical sequence composed of intact archaeological surfaces attributed to the ‘Arkov-Divshon’ cultural entity of the arid southern Levant. We present the faunal assemblages from the site, which are rare among the desert sites due to preservation prob-lems. Our results suggest that the residents of the site exploited prime adult caprines (Capra cf. Capra ibex), but were also engaged in hunting of gazelles (Gazella cf. Gazella gazella), whose carcasses were selectively transported to the site and processed for within-bone nutrients. Long-range hunting trips are suggested by the body-part selection in relatively small bovids, and by the presence of species representing wetter habi-tat patches 20-30 km north of the site. The bi-focal emphasis on generalized gazelle and age-specific caprine hunting, is unique among Late Pleistocene sites from the Lev-ant. The proportion of caprines increases through the stratigraphic sequence, suggesting more specialized economy through time and in inverse relations to site use intensity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere61
JournalPeer Community Journal
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022, Centre Mersenne. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics


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