Soil-Geomorphology and Micromorphology of a Natufian Depositional Record at El-Wad Terrace, Mount Carmel, Israel

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Abstract

The Natufian sequence at the site of el-Wad Terrace (EWT) shows a complex depositional record derived from intertwined soil-geomorphic and human processes. In order to identify site formation processes at EWT, we analyzed gravel composition, its distribution within the stratigraphic sequence, and micromorphology of both fine-grained material and gravel rims. The fine deposits within the EWT sequence are magnetically enhanced anthropogenic sediments mixed with a colluvial component. They contain miniscule burnt bones, charcoal, and calcareous aggregates reminiscent of reworked ash. The constructed stone floors in the earlier Early Natufian (ca. 15.0–13.7/13.0 ka) are largely covered by crusts on their undersides. In thin sections, the crusts exhibit a sequence of thin phosphate coatings directly overlying limestone calcite followed by clayey and secondary pedogenic calcite on the outer side. The expected post-depositional erosion of floors was likely hampered by their cementation resulting from pedogenic calcite redeposition. The major break in coarse deposition appears to have occurred in the later Early Natufian occupation phase marked by low rate of scree formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-381
Number of pages16
JournalGeoarchaeology - An International Journal
Volume32
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to Nimer Taha and Nicolas Waldman (Marine Geosciences, University of Haifa) for carrying out TOC, IC, PSD by laser diffraction, and to Stas Mumladze for dedicated help in the field. The excavation at the el-Wad Terrace was sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Care Foundation, and the Faculty of Humanities, University of Haifa. El-Wad is located in the Nahal Me?arot Nature Reserve, managed by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Thanks are due to Mr. Moshe Israeli, director of the Carmel Drainage Authority, for his generous support. The material analyzed in this paper refers to IAA permit G6/2012. Comments of two anonymous reviewers and the editors helped improve the quality of the paper and their inputs are deeply appreciated.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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