Lithic provisioning strategies at the Middle Paleolithic open-air site of Nesher Ramla, Israel: A case study from the upper sequence

Oz Varoner, Ofer Marder, Meir Orbach, Reuven Yeshurun, Yossi Zaidner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mid-Middle Paleolithic (late Marine Isotope Stage 6 and Marine Isotope Stage 5) is the least documented phase of the Levantine Middle Paleolithic (MP), especially concerning flint provisioning strategies. Our study of raw material exploitation at Nesher Ramla karst sinkhole (central Coastal Plain, Israel) provides an intriguing glimpse into the decision making of mid-Middle Paleolithic hominins. In this study we focused on the identification of the provisioning strategies derived from two horizons (which we dubbed the “Pelvis Horizon” and the “Stones Horizon”) from the upper part of the Nesher Ramla sequence. We applied several analytical measures: a survey of raw material sources, material composition and typo-technological analyses of the archaeological assemblages, mainly using the chaîne opératoire approach and a taphonomic-taxonomic analysis of the faunal assemblages. Our study demonstrates that different lithic provisioning strategies were practiced in each horizon. The findings for the Pelvis Horizon are particularly interesting. They offer strong evidence for hunter-gatherers’ personal toolkits associated with the provisioning of individuals strategy. The Stones Horizon, conversely, produced a mixed signal, containing evidence for both intensive in situ knapping and mobile toolkits. The faunal remains echo these differences: Compared to the Stones Horizon, the zooarchaeological assemblage of the Pelvis Horizon presents lower frequencies of bone fracturing, anthropogenic modifications, and burning. Accordingly, during the Pelvis Horizon, the site most likely functioned as an ephemeral hunting station whereas, during the Stones Horizon, it hosted a broader range of activities and longer occupations. These observations shed light on the variability of south Levantine MP mobility patterns, modes of occupation, and site function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-33
Number of pages15
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - 30 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2021 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA


  • Hunting station
  • Middle paleolithic
  • Mobility pattern
  • Provisioning strategies
  • Raw material exploitation
  • Site function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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