The Lower to Middle Paleolithic transition and the diversification of Levallois technology in the Southern Levant: Evidence from Tabun Cave, Israel

Ron Shimelmitz, Mina Weinstein-Evron, Avraham Ronen, Steven L. Kuhn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Acheulo-Yabrudian complex which constitutes the latest part of the Lower Paleolithic in the Levant provides a perspective over the nature of the transition between the Lower and Middle Paleolithic in the region. Considering the fundamental transformation in human behavior that occurred during the Acheulo-Yabrudian complex, which includes the use of habitual fire and the intensive use of predetermined blank technology among the emergence of other traits, it is of significance whether these transformations continued in the Levant from the Lower Paleolithic to the Middle Paleolithic or whether they were completely swept away by a new wave of humans bringing with them similar as well as different sets of behaviours. This question can be best elucidated through a search of continuity in technological choices which can reflect socially-learned traditions of stone knapping. Our study is carried out on the long 16 m deep archeological sequence of Tabun Cave, by combining results from Ronen's and Jelinek's excavations, which comprise ca. 100 superimposed layers, ranging from the Lower to the Middle Paleolithic. An overview of various reduction sequences, i.e., the Yabrudian scraper-blank production, the blade production of the Amudian, the exploitation of various types of cores on flakes, the variable exploitation of handaxes as cores and the Levallois technology at the site, indicates that although the Acheulo-Yabrudian and the Levantine Mousterian complexes exhibit marked differences in the macro level, there are also some significant features of similarity in the micro level, as reflected in particular technological choices within the reduction sequences that suggest some continuity in technological tradition. Exploring all ranges of reduction sequences can also provide new insights regarding the development of Levallois technology that burst at the Middle Paleolithic and demonstrate how particular technological choices that were already embedded in the knapping tradition of the Acheulo-Yabrudian are manifested in the particular method of Levallois that characterize the Mousterian of Tabun Cave.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-40
Number of pages18
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - 21 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:


  • Acheulo-Yabrudian
  • Levallois technology
  • Levant
  • Paleolithic transitions
  • Tabun Cave

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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