Late Acheulian Jaljulia – Early human occupations in the paleo-landscape of the central coastal plain of Israel

Maayan Shemer, Noam Greenbaum, Nimer Taha, Lena Brailovsky-Rokser, Yael Ebert, Ron Shaar, Christophe Falgueres, Pierre Voinchet, Naomi Porat, Galina Faershtein, Liora Kolska Horwitz, Tamar Rosenberg-Yefet, Ran Barkai

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The Lower Paleolithic Late Acheulian in the Levant marks a fascinating chapter in human cultural and biological evolution. Nevertheless, many aspects of the Late Acheulian are still undeciphered, hindered by the complex nature of each site on the one hand, a scarcity of wide, multidisciplinary studies on the other, and by difficulties in obtaining absolute chronology for this timeframe. Therefore, subjects such as human subsistence strategies and modes of adaptation, regional diversity, and the possible existence and nature of interactions between hominin groups are largely understudied. The discovery and study of Jaljulia, a large-scale Late Acheulian site at the central Coastal Plain, Israel, add valuable insights to the research of this chapter in human history. Considered to represent recurrent occupations at a favored, water and flint-rich setting, the site has provided extensive lithic assemblages obtained from several localities. Absolute chronology places the human activity on-site at roughly 500–300 ky (and possibly even later), which is suggested to be divided into several main occupation phases. Geomorphological and sedimentological analyses show a change in environmental conditions, from aeolian sand deposition and overlying Hamra soil during the Middle Pleistocene to high energy fluvial regime which transported large gravels in a north-south paleo-channel. Wetland environments, correlating to the human activity on site, developed later due to higher sea levels and a coastline shifts to the eastward, which caused a blockage of the Yarkon stream corridor to the sea by marine sand. In this paper we present results of the study of the site, including geomorphological formation and post-depositional processes, absolute chronology, lithic and faunal analyses. The site’s extensive lithic assemblages are currently under study and future investigations are expected to shed more light on the technological nature of Late Acheulian Jaljulia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0267672
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5 May
StatePublished - May 2022

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Copyright: © 2022 Shemer 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

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