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Stratum Plus. 2000. № 1

J. Sarel, A. Ronen (Haifa, Israel), E. Boeda (Paris, France)

Is There a «Transitional Industry» in Northern Israel?

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Pages: 147-157

Shifts in the model of development from the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic have marked the Levantine research of the last three decades. Based on typological analyses of the lithic materials uncovered from caves and rockshelters in northern Israel, in Lebanon and in Syria, a six-phase sequence was first established. It begins with the Emiran which was considered as a Transitional phase because it exhibits both Levallois method and blade oriented technology. The mixed feature of the Transitional Phase has raised the problem of its credibility. It was considered that erosion and important karstic activities are responsible for this industry. Nevertheless, a Transitional phase well-stratified at Ksar Akil in Lebanon and at Boker Tachtit in the South of Israel has been later recognized. For the north of Israel, the problem of the Transition validity is not yet resolved. It is generally considered that no substantial intact layer provides evidence for the presence of this phase. We examine here, the relative frequency of the Levallois and the blade implements in four northern Israeli sites. We discuss the degree of disturbance in the Transitional layers of northern Israel. Emireh, El Wad layer F, Raqefet VIII-V and Kebara Units IV-III assemblages, all display Upper Palaeolithic blades with Levallois products. They exhibit technological and typological similarities, and seem to share a common cultural background. These results tend to confirm the validity of this phase in northern Israel, and it seems possible to attribute these assemblages to an independent cultural phase.

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