Reuven Yeshurun

Reuven Yeshurun
University of Haifa | haifa · Department of Archaeology

PhD

About

113
Publications
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Introduction
I am an archaeologist interested in the Paleolithic and Epipaleolithic periods. I study the first settled societies of the Near East, with special focus on the Natufian Culture. I co-direct multi-annual excavation projects in two Epipaleolithic sites in Mt. Carmel, Israel: el-Wad Terrace and Neve David. Additionally, I use zooarchaeological methods to investigate human subsistence and ecology during the Pleistocene, for example in the sites of Manot, Misliya and Nesher Ramla.

Publications

Publications (113)
Article
Full-text available
Remains of early architecture at the Epipaleolithic-Neolithic transition of the Near East are commonly evaluated by means of two criteria: structure size and permanent interior features or decorations. Less attention has been given to associated refuse, which could be the key for discerning the role of architectural space in the lives and minds of...
Article
Full-text available
Research on the sedentarization and intensification processes in the Epipaleolithic period of the Levant, which culminated in the Natufian Culture, often turns to the earlier Epipaleolithic cultures to discern the roots of these important developments. Specifically, the investigation of Geometric Kebaran sites in the Mediterranean southern Levant,...
Article
Full-text available
The Epipaleolithic sequence of the southern Levant (ca. 24,000e11,500 cal. BP) reflects the shift from mobile to sedentary foraging societies, eventually paving the way to nascent villages, domestication and farming. Early and middle Epipaleolithic cultures (locally, the Kebaran and the Geometric Kebaran) generally produce an archaeological signatu...
Article
Full-text available
Archaeofaunal remains play an important role in the studies of Late Pleistocene human adaptations in Africa. Salvage excavations and surveys along the Nile Valley, in the Kom Ombo Plain (Upper Egypt) and opposite Wadi Halfa (northern Sudan), respectively conducted in the 1960s by Yale and the University of Colorado produced several Late Paleolithic...
Article
The Early Upper Paleolithic period in the Levant is essential in the studies of the establishment of modern human communities outside Africa, and corresponding archaeological evidence may be used to shed light on human ecology, economy and demography. Specifically, cultural differences between two Early Upper Paleolithic entities, the Early Ahmaria...
Article
We present the herpetofauna from Raqefet Cave, a Natufian (terminal Pleistocene) cemetery site in Mount Carmel, Israel. We provide a systematic description of the findings. By using intra-site comparisons of diversity and bone fragmentation, we identify possible agents of deposition and modification. To reconstruct the paleoenvironment, we conducte...
Article
Full-text available
Deep learning is a powerful tool for exploring large datasets and discovering new patterns. This work presents an account of a metric learning-based deep convolutional neural network (CNN) applied to an archaeological dataset. The proposed account speaks of three stages: training, testing/validating, and community detection. Several thousand artefa...
Article
Raqefet Cave is located in southeast Mount Carmel, Israel. It contains a long archaeological sequence with two major occupations: in the early Upper Paleolithic (Levantine Aurignacian culture, ca. 36,000–35,000 cal. BP) and the Late Epipaleolithic (Natufian culture, ca. 14,000–12,000 cal. BP). Abundant charred remains were found in the cave's depos...
Poster
Full-text available
Raqefet cave is part of a wider research project based on the archaeobotanical analysis, radiocarbon dating and stable carbon isotope analysis of plant samples from four Epipaleolithic sites on Mount Carmel. The project aims to identify the plants used by the foragers and characterize the changes in the environment and climate in the area through t...
Article
The archaeological literature contains ample suggestions for lithics-based proxies of mobility, often used individually. In this study we use a combination of proxies to address changes in mobility in a persistent Late Middle Paleolithic open-air locality in the Levant (‘Ein Qashish). Low densities of finds (lithic and fauna) at 'Ein Qashish are co...
Article
The mid-Middle Paleolithic (late Marine Isotope Stage 6 and Marine Isotope Stage 5) is the documented phase of the Levantine Middle Paleolithic (MP), especially concerning flint provisioning strategies. Our study of raw material exploitation at Nesher Ramla karst sinkhole (central Coastal Plain, Israel) provides an intriguing glimpse into the decis...
Article
Full-text available
Middle Pleistocene Homo in the Levant Our understanding of the origin, distribution, and evolution of early humans and their close relatives has been greatly refined by recent new information. Adding to this trend, Hershkovitz et al. have uncovered evidence of a previously unknown archaic Homo population, the “Nesher Ramla Homo ” (see the Perspecti...
Article
Full-text available
We present the results of a detailed geochemical provenance study of 54 Natufian (ca. 15,000–11,700 cal. BP) basalt pestles from the site of el-Wad Terrace (EWT), Israel. It is the first time precise locations from where basalt raw materials were derived are provided. The results indicate that the Natufian hunter-gatherers used multiple sources of...
Article
Full-text available
This paper focuses on new findings from Middle Paleolithic Geula Cave, Israel, located in the northern part of Mt. Carmel. The cave, consists of several small chambers that are remnants of a larger cave system, initially excavated between 1958 and 1964. In 2016, a salvage excavation was conducted in areas of the cave that were not previously explor...
Article
Contextual taphonomy is an archaeological approach that integrates taphonomic variables with stratigraphy and context, often at the intra-site level. A majority of zooarchaeological research explores vertebrate taphonomy broadly by entire temporal levels of sites, thus aggregating multiple contexts by time period. Yet, an increasing number of high-...
Preprint
Full-text available
We present the results of a detailed geochemical provenance study of 54 Natufian (ca. 15,000–11,700 cal BP) basalt pestles from the site of el-Wad Terrace (EWT), Israel. It is the first time precise locations whence basalt raw materials derive are provided. The results indicate that the Natufian hunter-gatherers used multiple sources of basaltic ro...
Article
The shift from mobile hunting-gathering lifeways to sedentism has been frequently studied, and the Natufian culture is commonly recognized as the earliest sedentary society in the Levant. Historically, the remarkably rich Natufian material remains, combined with certain research biases, turned it into a “scene-stealer” in the Levantine Epipaleolith...
Article
Situated at the crossroads of Africa and Eurasia, the Levant is a crucial region for understanding the origins and spread of Upper Paleolithic (UP) traditions associated with the spread of modern humans. Of the two local Early Upper Paleolithic technocomplexes, the Ahmarian and the Levantine Aurignacian, the latter appears to be unique in the endem...
Article
Full-text available
Squamate (lizard and snake) remains are abundant in the terminal Pleistocene Natufian archaeological sites of the Levant, raising the question of whether they constitute part of the broad-spectrum diet characteristic of this period. However, the role of squamates in Natufian diets remains unclear, as they are taphonomically under-studied. We conduc...
Article
Full-text available
The miniaturization of stone tools, as reflected through the systematic production of blade-lets and bladelet tools (microliths), characterized many industries of the Late Pleistocene, with the Levantine Epipalaeolithic serving as a well-studied example. It is commonly held that microliths were used as modular inserts in composite projectiles, whil...
Article
Space use in Middle Paleolithic (MP) camps has been suggested as a source of information on the intensity and repetition of occupations and, by extension, of demographics. In the Levant, clear evidence for differential intrasite use and maintenance was important in viewing the late MP Neanderthal sites as base camps inhabited for a significant dura...
Article
The late Epipaleolithic Natufian Culture of the Levant (ca. 15,000–11,700 BP) is renowned for its rich bone industry. A specific type of bone bead, the gazelle phalanx bead, is abundant in several sites but nearly absent in others. In this study, phalanx bone beads from the current excavations at the Natufian site of el-Wad Terrace (Mount Carmel, I...
Article
The Levantine Middle Paleolithic period displays significant archaeological variability across a series of cave and open-air sites encompassing ca. 200,000 years. Faunal remains are an important source of knowledge regarding hunting and mobility patterns but have mostly been studied in the deep stratigraphic sequences of the Levantine caves. This r...
Article
Full-text available
Neve David is a large Epipaleolithic (Geometric Kebaran) site located at the outlet of Nahal Siah from the Carmel range to the coastal plain. During the 1980s excavations and the renewed campaign since 2014, a variety of Holocene features were found intruding into the Geometric Kebaran deposits. Here we present the post-Epipaleolithic features and...
Article
A well-preserved sequence of Early Upper Paleolithic (EUP) occupations has been revealed in the past decade in Manot Cave, the studies of which shed light on the cultural dynamics and subsistence patterns and paleoenvironment. Most intriguing is the series of overlying Levantine Aurignacian occupation layers, exposed near the entrance to the cave....
Article
Full-text available
Over the last two decades, much of the recent efforts dedicated to the Levantine Middle Paleolithic has concentrated on the role of open-air sites in the settlement system in the region. Here focus on the site of 'Ein Qashish as a cases study. Located in present-day northern Israel, the area of this site is estimated to have been >1300 m 2 , of whi...
Article
Over the last two decades, much of the recent efforts dedicated to the Levantine Middle Paleolithic has concentrated on the role of open-air sites in the settlement system in the region. Here focus on the site of 'Ein Qashish as a cases study. Located in present-day northern Israel, the area of this site is estimated to have been >1300 m 2 , of whi...
Article
Hunting preferences reveal a great deal about the life of Paleolithic humans, and may reflect changes in human demography, technology, and adaptations to changing environments. However, the effects of hunting preferences and environmental availability are often conflated, stressing the need for com- parisons to other predators that exploited the sa...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We present a new example of bone engraving dated to ca 130 kys ago. It was retrieved from the Unit III at the Middle Paleolithic open-air site of Nesher Ramla (Israel). The incised bone was found within a small round feature (around 50 cm in diameter) composed of few flint artifacts, stones (manuports) and dense in faunal remains. The zooarchaeolog...
Article
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Our compilation of zooarchaeological data from a series of important archaeological sites spanning the Epipaleolithic through Pre-Pottery Neolithic B periods in the Mediterranean Hills of the southern Levant contributes to major debates about the beginnings of ungulate management in Southwest Asia. The data support an onset of ungulate management p...
Article
Full-text available
To date, the earliest modern human fossils found outside of Africa are dated to around 90,000 to 120,000 years ago at the Levantine sites of Skhul and Qafzeh. A maxilla and associated dentition recently discovered at Misliya Cave, Israel, was dated to 177,000 to 194,000 years ago, suggesting that members of the Homo sapiens clade left Africa earlie...
Article
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Engraved artifacts from pre-Natufian Levantine Epipaleolithic contexts are notable for their scarcity. This is so even though a number of implements have recently been added to the inventory. We present here an analysis of two engraved flint nodules recovered from the Geometric Kebaran site of Neve David (Mt. Carmel, Israel) incorporating use-wear...
Article
Full-text available
The timing of archeological industries in the Levant is central for understanding the spread of modern humans with Upper Paleolithic traditions. We report a high-resolution radiocarbon chronology for Early Upper Paleolithic industries (Early Ahmarian and Levantine Aurignacian) from the newly excavated site of Manot Cave, Israel. The dates confirm t...
Article
The Natufian culture (c. 15–11.5 ka cal BP) marks a pivotal step in the transition from hunting and gathering to sedentism and farming in the Near East. Although conventionally divided into Early and Late phases, this internal chronology lacks support from reliable absolute dates. This is now addressed by new AMS dating from two neighbouring Natufi...
Article
Full-text available
The late Middle Palaeolithic (MP) settlement patterns in the Levant included the repeated use of caves and open landscape sites. The fossil record shows that two types of hominins occupied the region during this period—Neandertals and Homo sapiens. Until recently, diagnostic fossil remains were found only at cave sites. Because the two populations...
Chapter
Full-text available
The use of bone fragments to retouch stone tools is presently recognised as a widespread phenomenon in the Palaeolithic of Europe, since Middle Pleistocene times. However, in the Palaeolithic record outside Europe, evidence for the use of retouchers is scarce. With the sole exception of the late Lower Palaeolithic site of Qesem Cave (Israel), virtu...
Article
The Natufian sequence at the site of el-Wad Terrace (EWT) shows a complex depositional record derived from intertwined soil-geomorphic and human processes. In order to identify site formation processes at EWT, we analyzed gravel composition, its distribution within the stratigraphic sequence, and micromorphology of both fine-grained material and gr...
Article
Full-text available
Scientific Reports 14,000-year-old seeds indicate the Levantine origin of the lost progenitor of faba bean Close menuClose menuClose menuClose menu More detail Article | OPEN 14,000-year-old seeds indicate the Levantine origin of the lost progenitor of faba bean Valentina Caracuta, Mina Weinstein-Evron[…]Elisabetta Boaretto Scientific Reports 6, A...
Article
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[Report]Grooved items are usually regarded as tools used for modifying other implements made of bone, stone, plants or wood, whether referred to as shaft straighteners, smoothers, polishers or sharpening tools. They were also attributed to various symbolic meanings in Neolithic and Chalcolithic sites in the southern Levant and they were also associ...
Article
The late Pleistocene expansion of anatomically modern humans (AMHs) into Eurasia and the concurrent demise of the Neanderthals appears to be a complex and regionally variable process. The southern Caucasus region, with its rich cave-sites, has recently provided important results regarding this process. In this paper we report on the results of fiel...
Article
Full-text available
One of the hallmarks of the Natufian Culture of the Levant, a terminal Pleistocene sedentary foraging society (ca. 15,000–11,700 cal. BP), is a ubiquitous bone industry. During the past eighty years, Natufian worked-bone assemblages have been subjected to detailed stylistic, technological, and traceological analyses. Here we extract further informa...
Article
Full-text available
The major social and economic changes associated with the rise of a sedentary lifestyle and the gradual transition to food production in the southern Levant are often considered to have been triggered by climate changes at the end of the Pleistocene (∼20,000–11,000 years BP). This explanation, however, is biased by the scarcity of high-resolution c...
Article
Full-text available
Grooved items are usually regarded as tools used for modifying other implements made of bone, stone, plants or wood, whether referred to as shaft straighteners, smoothers, polishers or sharpening tools. They were also attributed to various symbolic meanings in Neolithic and Chalcolithic sites in the southern Levant and they were also associated wit...
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper summarizes past and contemporary archaeofaunal research in the newly-inscribed World Heritage Site of Nahal Me‛arot (the Mount Carmel Caves) in Israel. The site, containing the caves of Tabun, Jamal, el-Wad, and Skhul, exhibits a long Lower Paleolithic to Epipaleolithic sequence, important Mousterian human fossils, and the first Natufian...
Article
The Early Upper Palaeolithic in the Levant plays an important role in understanding the emergence, dispersal, and adaptations of the first Anatomically Modern Human (AMH) populations in the Levant and Europe. The technical exploitation of osseous raw materials, represented by the new concepts applied to the antler working, is recognized as one of s...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents an overview of the work carried out over the last decade on the Middle Palaeolithic of Georgia by a Georgian-French team, co-directed by the national Museums of Georgia and France. Since 2000, the importance of several Middle Palaeolithic key sites in the Rioni-Kvririla Basin (western Georgia) has been highlighted by this collab...