The osseous industry from Manot Cave (Western Galilee, Israel): Technical and conceptual behaviours of bone and antler exploitation in the Levantine Aurignacian

José Miguel Tejero, Reuven Yeshurun, Omry Barzilai, Mae Goder-Goldberger, Israel Hershkovitz, Ron Lavi, Nehora Schneller-Pels, Ofer Marder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Early Upper Palaeolithic in the Levant plays an important role in understanding the emergence, dispersal, and adaptations of the first Anatomically Modern Human (AMH) populations in the Levant and Europe. The technical exploitation of osseous raw materials, represented by the new concepts applied to the antler working, is recognized as one of several innovations that occur both in the Levant and in Europe during this time.Here we present preliminary results of a technological analysis conducted on the Aurignacian bone and antler industry from the Early Upper Palaeolithic layers of Manot Cave, Israel. The industry displays several similarities with its European counterpart such as the choice of bone for making "domestic" tools (recurrent morpho-types like awls) while antler was used predominantly for hunting equipment (projectile points). The complex technical exploitation of antler, almost exclusively devoted to making hunting weapons, constitutes a major feature both in the European Early Aurignacian and in the Levantine Aurignacian. Nevertheless, while simple-based antler points are common in the Levantine Aurignacian, split-based antler points, characteristic of the European Early Aurignacian are only anecdotally documented in the Levant. Unique to the Levantine industry is the common exploitation of fallow deer antler. While some of these particularities seem to be related to the different ecological niches exploited, others, such as the different type of hunting weapons, need to be assessed in light of different cultural contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-106
Number of pages17
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper is part of the HAR2014-55131 research project of the MICINN and the Quality Research Group of the Generalitat de Catalunya SGR2014-108. J.-M Tejero's research was supported by a Beatriu de Pinós grant (2013 BP-B0013) co-funded by the Catalan Government and European Community via the Marie Curie Actions of Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. He also received support from the Centre Français de Recherches à Jerusalem (CNRS-Ministère d'Affaires Etrangers de France) through the auspices of Mission Chercheur invité . The authors are extremely grateful to Boris Valentin, François Valla, Gaëlle Le Dosseur, Anna Belfer-Cohen, Naama Goren-Inbar, Erella Hovers, Daniella Bar-Yosef Mayer, Ofer Bar-Yosef, Fanny Bocquentin, and Laurent Davin. We would also like to thank Talia Abulafia, Bridget Alex, Avner Ayalon, Mira Bar-Matthews, Guy Bar-Oz, Elisabetta Boaretto, Francesco Berna, Valentina Caracuta, Lauren Davis, Amos Frumkin, Dafna Langutt, Bruce Latimer, Stephen Weiner, Lior Weissbord and Gal Yas'ur for contributing data for this paper. Thanks to Vadim Asman and Yaa'kov Smidov for drawing the plan of the cave. The Manot Cave excavations are supported by the Dan David Foundation, the Irene Levi-Sala CARE Foundation, the Israel Science Foundation, Case Western Reserve University, and the Leaky Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.


  • Aurignacian
  • Early Upper Palaeolithic
  • Levant
  • Manot Cave bone and antler technology
  • Simple-/massive-based projectile points

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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