Opportunism or aquatic specialization? Evidence of freshwater fish exploitation at ohalo II- a waterlogged upper paleolithic site

Irit Zohar, Tamar Dayan, Menachem Goren, Dani Nadel, Israel Hershkovitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Analysis of ca. 17,000 fish remains recovered from the late Upper Paleolithic/early Epi-Paleolithic (LGM; 23,000 BP) waterlogged site of Ohalo II (Rift Valley, Israel) provides new insights into the role of wetland habitats and the fish inhabiting them during the evolution of economic strategies prior to the agricultural evolution. Of the current 19 native fish species in Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), eight species were identified at Ohalo II, belonging to two freshwater families: Cyprinidae (carps) and Cichlidae (St. Peter fish). Employing a large set of quantitative and qualitative criteria (NISP, species richness, diversity, skeletal element representation, fragmentation, color, spatial distribution, etc.), we demonstrate that the inhabitants of Ohalo II used their knowledge of the breeding behavior of different species of fish, for year-round intensive exploitation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0198747
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume13
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
IZ research was supported by: Irene Levi Sala CARE Archeological Foundation The Morris M. Polver and the Jacob Recanati fellowship from Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies at the University of Haifa, The National Center of Collaboration between Natural Sciences and Archaeology, and the Aharon Katzir Center of the Weizmann Institute of Science. DN field work was supported by: Israel Science Foundation (No. 831/ 00 and No. 711/08), the Jerusalem Center for Anthropological Studies, the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, the Stekelis Museum of Prehistory in Haifa, the MAFCAF Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Stekelis Museum of Prehistory in Haifa, and the Israel Antiquities Authority. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. This study was supported by the Irene Levi Sala CARE Archeological Foundation, the Morris M. Polver and a Jacob Recanati fellowship from the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies at the University of Haifa, the National Center of Collaboration between Natural Sciences and Archaeology, and the Aharon Katzir Center of the Weizmann Institute of Science. The study was performed at the School of Zoology, Tel Aviv University; at the National Natural History Collections, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Berman Building, Edmond J. Safra campus, Givat Ram, Jerusalem; at the Royal Museum of Africa in Tervuren, Belgium; at the Natural History Museum, London, and at the Department of Anthropology, the University of California, Santa Cruz. All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files. The zooarcheological assemblages from Ohalo II site are available at the National Natural History Collections, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Berman Building, Edmond J. Safra campus, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel. Fieldwork was supported by grants from the Irene-Levi Sala CARE Archaeological Foundation, the Israel Science Foundation (No. 831/00 and 711/08), the Jerusalem Center for Anthropological Studies, the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, the Stekelis Museum of Prehistory in Haifa, the MAFCAF Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Stekelis Museum of Prehistory in Haifa, and the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Zohar 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

  • General

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