Specialized flint procurement strategies for hand axes, scrapers and blades in the late lower paleolithic: A 10Be study at Qesem Cave, Israel

E. Boaretto, R. Barkai, A. Gopher, F. Berna, P. W. Kubik, S. Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The procurement and selection of raw materials for producing different stone tools in the past provide invaluable insights into hominid technological capabilities and behavior. Flint has been extensively studied to document its sources, tool production, use, and recycling. Less is known about the procurement strategies used for obtaining the raw materials. Our approach is based on the concentration of cosmogenic in situ produced 10Be within the flint. As this is depth dependent, flint material collected from the surface can be differentiated from fint collected at depths or from special environments which protected the flint from cosmic radiation. 10Be concentrations in different tool types from the Lower Paleolithic strata of Qesem cave showed that the raw materials for large scrapers and hand-axes were obtained from deep buried material or recently exposed material. The smaller blades showed a larger distribution of 10Be that resembles the concentrations of 10Be in flint nodules collected from the soil surface around the cave. This is consistent with the observation that the large scrapers and handaxes were re-sharpened. Therefore some 400,000 years ago the Qesem cave inhabitants possessed a detailed knowledge of the resources, and the capability to procure appropriate raw materials for specific tool types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Evolution
Volume24
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

Keywords

  • Beryllium-10
  • Cosmogenic isotopes
  • Flint procurement
  • Flint tools
  • Lower palaeolithic

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