The organization of basanite bifacial production in Giv’at Kipod quarry, Israel: Towards an ‘Alyawara Day' model of extraction

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Hunter gatherers as well as farmers used a variety of lithic raw materials to shape their world, in which some were perceived as having symbolic or mythical content. While the anthropological literature demonstrates that the extraction of raw materials of special significance was often performed differently from that of other more 'ordinary' raw materials, identifying this in the archaeological record is difficult. In this paper we wish to shed new light on this topic using the Late Neolithic-Early Chalcolithic basanite bifacial tool production site of Giv‛at Kipod, Israel. In the southern Levant basalt axes and adzes have long been understood to embody greater symbolic content than the flint axes and adzes that dominate the Neolithic and Chalcolithic bifacial assemblages. By comparing the results from our excavations at the site of Giv‛at Kipod to other production and extraction sites we exhibit how the organization of production was different than that related to the more common flint extraction in the region. While at most production and extractions sites the manufacture of various types of items is documented and the presence of tools, especially ad hoc tools, indicates that a variety of activities were performed at the locale of extraction, in the case of Giv‛at Kipod the production was focused solely on the manufacture of bifacials with a marked lack of evidence of other significant activities. We attempt to provide guidelines to characterize different exploitation patterns between raw materials of varied social significance using these differences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499–521
JournalJournal of Lithic Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016


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