Radiocarbon chronology of Manot Cave, Israel and Upper Paleolithic dispersals

Bridget Alex, Omry Barzilai, Israel Hershkovitz, Ofer Marder, Francesco Berna, Valentina Caracuta, Talia Abulafia, Lauren Davis, Mae Goder-Goldberger, Ron Lavi, Eugenia Mintz, Lior Regev, Daniella Bar Yosef Mayer, José Miguel Tejero, Reuven Yeshurun, Avner Ayalon, Mira Bar-Matthews, Gal Yasur, Amos Frumkin, Bruce LatimerMark G. Hans, Elisabetta Boaretto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The timing of archeological industries in the Levant is central for understanding the spread of modern humans with Upper Paleolithic traditions. We report a high-resolution radiocarbon chronology for Early Upper Paleolithic industries (Early Ahmarian and Levantine Aurignacian) from the newly excavated site of Manot Cave, Israel. The dates confirm that the Early Ahmarian industry was present by 46,000 calibrated years before the present (cal BP), and the Levantine Aurignacian occurred at least between 38,000 and 34,000 cal BP. This timing is consistent with proposed migrations or technological diffusions between the Near East and Europe. Specifically, the Ahmarian could have led to the development of the Protoaurignacian in Europe, and the Aurignacian in Europe could have spread back to the Near East as the Levantine Aurignacian.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1701450
JournalScience advances
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank S. Weiner and M. Thibodeau for the microarcheology work; C. Klöcker, J. Kakayuk, and P. Sathyanarayan for carrying out the sediment heating experiment; and three anonymous reviewers as well as D. Pilbeam, O. Bar-Yosef, and C. Tryon for their comments on this paper. Funding: Analytical work was funded by NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (1334615), Fulbright Student Scholarship from the U.S.-Israel Educational Foundation, and NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Award (DGE-1144152) to B.A. Radiocarbon dates were funded by the Exilarch’s Foundation, D-REAMS, and the Max Planck-Weizmann Center for Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology awards to E.B. Paleobotanical analysis was supported by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space, Israel, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation General Directorate for Political Affairs & Security, Italian Republic (IMOS 3-13329) awards to E.B. and V.C. Manot Cave excavation is funded by the Dan David Foundation, the Israel Antiquities Authority, Case Western Reserve University, the Leakey Foundation, the Irene Levi Sala CARE Archaeological Foundation, the Keren Kayemet L’Israel, and the Binational Science Foundation (2015303) to I.H., B.L., O.B., and O.M. and by the the Israel Science Foundation (338/14) to I.H., O.M., and O.B. Geoarcheological work was supported by awards to F.B. from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (award no. 430-2013-000546) and the Bertha and Louis Weinstein Research Fund, and research was supported by the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science. Author contributions: B.A. and E.B. designed the radiocarbon sample collection, characterization, and dating protocols. B.A., O.B., O.M., and E.B. designed the paper. B.A. and E.B. wrote the manuscript with contributions from O.M., O.B., T.A., L.D., F.B., and M.G.-G., and all co-authors assisted in revisions. B.A. and O.M. conducted the regional review. O.B., I.H., and O.M. directed the Manot Cave research project. E.B. directed the radiocarbon dating laboratory. F.B. and B.A. conducted the geoarcheological work. V.C. conducted the anthracological analysis. O.B., O.M., T.A., and L.D. analyzed the lithic artifacts. M.G.-G. and R.L. led the excavation and stratigraphic interpretations of areas C and E, respectively. B.A., E.B., E.M., and L.R. performed the radiocarbon analyses. D.B.-Y.M., J.-M.T., and R.Y. studied the faunal remains and artifacts. A.A., M.B.-M., and G.Y. performed the U-Th dating. A.F. conducted the geological study of the cave. I.H., B.L., and M.G.H. studied the human remains. Competing interests: The authors declare that they have no competing interests. Data and materials availability: All data needed to evaluate the conclusions in the paper are present in the paper and/or the Supplementary Materials. Additional data related to this paper may be requested from the authors.

Funding Information:
Samples were dried overnight at ~60°C, combusted to CO2with ~200 mg of CuO at 900°C, and then reduced to graphite in a vacuum line. Four samples were divided and underwent graphitization on the standard vacuum line and on an ultraclean line, dedicated to samples over 30,000 14C years BP. Samples with laboratory code RTD were measured by AMS at the D-REAMS Laboratory (53), whereas those with RTK were measured at the National Science Foundation (NSF)– Arizona AMS Facility, University of Arizona. Stable isotope measurements were conducted at the Geological Survey of Israel.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2017 The Authors.

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