Making a point: The Early Middle Palaeolithic tool assemblage of Misliya Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel

Yossi Zaidner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Early Middle Palaeolithic (EMP) industries in the Levant (ca 250-160 ka ago) are distinguished by the presence of true laminar technology, alongside Levallois recurrent unidirectional and bidirectional flaking methods. The EMP further differs from the later MP in the composition of the toolkit. It was previously suggested that EMP retouched tool assemblages are characterised by the presence of elongated Mousterian points made on blades, retouched blades and Upper Palaeolithic (UP) tool-types. In contrast, the later MP is characterised by diverse toolkits dominated by side-scrapers, denticulates and UP types and containing only very few retouched points. However, while numerous later MP sites have been subjected to quantitative technological and typological studies, such studies are rare for EMP assemblages. This paper focuses on typological aspects of the EMP assemblage of Misliya Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel, in an attempt to characterise the site toolkit and to assess the differences between the EMP and later MP toolkits. The study demonstrates that the most characteristic features of the Misliya Cave toolkit are: high proportion of elongated retouched points; production of different types of points; preference for blades as blanks for tool production; use of different types of retouch for the preparation of different tool types. Our results show that toolkit-composition at Misliya and other EMP sites in the Levant is considerably different from later MP toolkits. We hypothesise that the different toolkits mark a shift in the range of activities or in the way similar activities were carried out in the EMP and later MP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
JournalBefore Farming: The Archaeology and Anthropology of Hunter-Gatherers
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012


  • Early Levantine Mousterian
  • Levant
  • Middle Palaeolithic
  • Points
  • Retouched tools

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


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