A decade of zooarchaeological fieldwork (1992-2001) went into Mary Stiner’s pathbreaking analysis of changes in human ecology from the early Mousterian period through the end of Paleolithic cultures in the Levant. Stiner employs a comparative approach to understanding early human behavioral and environmental change, based on a detailed study of fourteen bone assemblages from Hayonim Cave and Meged Rockshelter in Israel’s Galilee. Principally anthropological in outlook, Stiner’s analysis also integrates chemistry, foraging and population ecology, vertebrate paleontology, and biogeography. Her research focuses first on the formation history, or taphonomy, of bone accumulations, and second on questions about the economic behaviors of early humans, including the early development of human adaptations for hunting large prey and the relative "footprint" of humans in Pleistocene ecosystems of the Levant.
Excavations at the open-air site of Holon, Israel, have provided a unique perspective on hominin behavior, technology, and subsistence strategies in the Middle East at the end of the Lower Paleolithic. This excavation, carried out by Tamar Noy between 1963 and 1970, was one of the first successful salvage projects in the region. This ASPR volume is the first integrated monograph on a Lower Paleolithic site to be published from the region. It brings together the results of interdisciplinary research on the site of Holon—geology, dating, archaeology, paleontology, taphonomy, and spatial analysis—by a team of leading international researchers. The results are synthesized to address fundamental questions of human evolution, including whether early hominins hunted or scavenged very large animals, and the nature of culture change in the Lower Paleolithic. The lithic analysis documents the final stage of the Lower Paleolithic before the transition to Middle Paleolithic technology. This book will be an essential point of reference for students and specialists working in the archaeology of human evolution, as well as all archaeologists working in the region of the Levant.
The Levantine corridor sits at the continental crossroads of Africa and Eurasia, making it a focal point for scientific inquiry into the emergence of modern humans and their relations with Neanderthals. The recent excavations at Kebara Cave in Israel, undertaken by an international, interdisciplinary team of researchers, has provided data crucial for understanding the cognitive and behavioral differences between archaic and modern humans.
In this first of two volumes, the authors discuss site formation processes, subsistence strategies, land-use patterns, and intrasite organization. Hearths and faunal remains reveal a dynamic and changing settlement system during the late Mousterian period, when Kebara Cave served as a major encampment. The research at Kebara Cave allows archaeologists to document the variability observed in settlement, subsistence, and technological strategies of the Late Middle and early Upper Paleolithic periods in the Levant.