Wooden objects from Ohalo II (23,000 cal BP), Jordan Valley, Israel

Dani Nadel, Udi Grinberg, Elisabetta Boaretto, Ella Werker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Eight wooden objects were found at Ohalo II, a submerged and well-preserved site in the Sea of Galilee, Israel. The fisher-hunter-gatherers' site has been radiometrically dated to 22,500-23,500 (cal BP) with 45 assays read by four laboratories. The wooden objects were found on brush-hut floors. They include a bark plank with polish and use signs, pencil-shaped specimens with longitudinal shavings, and other types that may have been decorative or symbolic. One incised wooden object is identical in size and incision pattern to a gazelle bone implement found in a grave, behind a human skull. The recovered wooden objects are not directly related to hunting, gathering, or fishing, and frustratingly, there are no remains of bows, arrows, spears, handles, or other such items. Nonetheless, the objects present a wide repertoire in terms of size, shape, and possible function. The new finds add to the growing body of evidence concerning the use of perishable materials during the Upper Paleolithic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-662
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Sariel Shalev and Yak Cahanov for their help. We also thank Anna Belfer-Cohen for reading an early version of this manuscript and for her useful advice. The Ohalo II project was generously supported by the Irene-Levi Sala CARE Archaeological Foundation, The Israel Science Foundation (Grant no. 831/00), the Jerusalem Center for Anthropological Studies, the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, the Stekelis Museum of Prehistory in Haifa, the MAFCAF Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and the Israel Antiquities Authority. The photographs were taken by I. Grinberg (3, 5, 6, 7), A. Baltinester (8), M. Eizenberg (20), and the authors. The drawings were done by S. Ad (3, 6, 10, 12, 15, 19, 21, 25, 28), P. Spivak (22), and N. Goltsev (5). We thank the anonymous reviewers for their very helpful advice.


  • Preservation
  • Sea of Galilee
  • Submerged site
  • Upper Paleolithic
  • Wood objects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology


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