Systematic blade production at late Lower Paleolithic (400-200 kyr) Qesem Cave, Israel

Ron Shimelmitz*, Ran Barkai, Avi Gopher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Qesem Cave is assigned to the Acheulo-Yabrudian cultural complex of the late Lower Paleolithic period. The 7.5 m deep stratigraphic sequence is dated to 400-200 ka (thousands of years ago). It is mostly attributed to the Amudian blade-dominated industry, one of the earliest blade production technologies in the world. In this paper, we present the results of a detailed study of five Amudian assemblages from Qesem Cave and suggest two trajectories for the production of blades at the site. We argue that the reduction sequences of blades at Qesem Cave represent an innovative and straightforward technology aimed at the systemic and serial production of predetermined blanks. We suggest that this predetermined blank technology shows planning and intensity that is not significantly different from Middle Paleolithic Mousterian technological systems. Furthermore, this well-organized serial manufacture of cutting implements mainly for butchering might indicates that a significant change in human behavior had taken place by the late Lower Paleolithic period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-479
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2011


FundersFunder number
CARE Archaeological Foundation
Thyssen Foundation
Wenner-Gren Foundation
Leakey Foundation
Israel Science Foundation


    • Amudian
    • Laminar items
    • Levant
    • Lower paleolithic


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