Late lower paleolithic lithic procurement and exploitation strategies: A view from Acheulo-Yabrudian Qesem Cave (Israel)

Aviad Agam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study presents patterns of flint acquisition and exploitation, observed through a large-scale study of the lithic assemblages from the Middle Pleistocene Acheulo-Yabrudian Qesem Cave (Israel). For this, twelve lithic assemblages from the cave were classified into flint types, based on visual traits. Also, potential flint sources were located, petrographic thin sections of archaeological and geologic samples were analyzed, and geochemical analyses, using both ICP-MS (Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) and ICP-AES (Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy), were performed. The results show that local Turonian flint was often brought and used at the cave, while flint types from other non-Turonian origins were also used at the site in noteworthy proportions. The results suggest that the availability of desired lithic materials around the cave, and their suitability for the production of specific desired blanks, might have played a role in the decision to settle at the cave. The notable proportions of non-Turonian flint types, often in specific typo-technological categories, demonstrate a consistency in accessing sources containing non-local flint types, and suggest a link between the exploited flint types and the desired tools, most likely due to mechanical and technological needs, but possibly also because of more elusive considerations related to the human factor. The repetition of some of the observed patterns through time implies knowledge transmission mechanisms concerning the distribution of flint sources around the cave, as well as concerning the suitability of specific flint types for the production of specific blanks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102447
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Acheulo-Yabrudian
  • Levant
  • Lithic exploitation
  • Lithic procurement
  • Lower Paleolithic


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