Looking for sharp edges: Modes of flint recycling at Middle Pleistocene Qesem Cave, IsraelQuaternary International


Yoni Parush, Ella Assaf, Viviane Slon, Avi Gopher, Ran Barkai
Earth-Surface Processes



ec he


Use wear leist sui ew ech

Cav particularly pronounced when practiced within a lithic economy that enjoyed abundance rather than cene o the A wer Pa erved a

AYCC is proceeding Mousterian. The cave revealed a broad set of innovative ical contexts.

The recycling of lithic artifacts is a known, albeit little studied, phenomenon in prehistoric archaeology. The recycling of previously discarded items was also documented in ethnographic studies of contemporary hunteregatherer groups (e.g., Amick, solving and decision-making mechanisms, and other important nge in identifying ssemblages (Odell, of the archaeologl characteristics as , may be related to 9; Vaquero, 2011; ve stages of modification and use of an artifact for a purpose different than the original one. Although the archeological evidence for resharpening and recycling may be difficult to discern, these are different behaviors that should be interpreted differently. Resharpening is a maintenance procedure aimed at extending the use life of an artifact as it was originally used (Vaquero et al., 2012). In contrast, recycling may be defined by a phase of discard between the different use events e the original one and the one following the recycling procedure. It represents not the extension of the use life of * Corresponding author.

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Quaternary In .e l

Quaternary International 361 (2015) 61e87E-mail address: yoniparush@gmail.com (Y. Parush).behaviors, including: the habitual use of fire; hearth-centered activities and other functionally distinct activity areas; sophisticated acquisition of lithic raw material; intensive and systematic blade production employing an efficient, innovative, and thoughtful technology; a noticeable presence of precursory Quina scrapers; and intensive flint recycling practices (Barkai and Gopher, 2013).

The recycling of lithic artifacts at Qesem Cave is a conspicuous phenomenon, present in all lithic assemblages and all archaeologfacets of human behavior. Recognizing the challe indications of recycling in archaeological lithic a 1996), recent studies show that certain aspects ical data, including technological and typologica well as spatial distribution of archaeological finds recycling behaviors (Galup, 2007; Hiscock, 200

Vaquero et al., 2012).

Recycling is a behavior that implies successientity clearly distinguished from the preceding Acheulian and the raw material, technological complexity and flexibility, problem-1. Introduction

Qesem Cave is a Middle Pleisto 420,000e200,000 ka and assigned t tural Complex (AYCC) of the late Lo

The cave yielded a rich andwell-pres remains as well as human teeth. Thehttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2014.07.057 1040-6182/© 2014 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. All rightsscarcity of stone. Our observations provide a more coherent view of AYCC lithic recycling which might be applied to the study of lithic recycling in other Paleolithic contexts. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. All rights reserved. site in Israel dated to cheulo-Yabrudian Culleolithic in the Levant. rray of lithic and faunal a unique, local cultural 2007). The data regarding lithic “scavenging” in ethnographic contexts suggest that recycling was fully integrated in the provisioning strategies of these groups, influencing strategies of waste disposal and, consequently, of the formation of the archaeological record (Smith, 1974; Camilli and Ebert, 1992; Amick, 2007).

The study of recycling among archaeological records facilitates our understanding of prehistoric human behavior, availability ofLower Paleolithic

Lithic technologyLithic recycling from “old” flakes. We argue that the study of lithic recycling provides a significant glance at human decision-making processes and the technological repertoire of the late Lower Paleolithic, which areLooking for sharp edges: Modes of flint r

Qesem Cave, Israel

Yoni Parush a, *, Ella Assaf a, Viviane Slon b, Avi Gop a Institute of Archaeology, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, 69978, Israel b Department of Anatomy and Anthropology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv, Tela r t i c l e i n f o

Article history:

Available online 12 September 2014


Qesem Cave

Acheuleo-Yabrudian Cultural Complex a b s t r a c t

Qesem Cave is a Middle P (AYCC). The cave reveals a this paper, we present a n

Cave. Through the careful t recycling modes at Qesem journal homepage: wwwreserved.ycling at Middle Pleistocene r a, Ran Barkai a

University, Israel ocene site in Israel assigned to the Acheulo-Yabrudian Cultural Complex te of innovative behaviors including intensive flint recycling activities. In classification system, developed for the study of lithic recycling at Qesem nological analysis of hundreds of recycled items we have identified several e, including a specific production trajectory of blades and knives recycled le at ScienceDirect ternational sevier .com/locate/quaint

Intethe artifact, but rather the beginning of a new use life (Schiffer, 1976; Camilli and Ebert, 1992; Vaquero, 2011).

Several studies on lithic recycling suggested that the phenomenon would be more likely to occur as a consequence of relative scarcity of raw materials and, therefore, a need to maximize the profitability of lithic resources (Kelly, 1988; Dibble and Rolland, 1992; Close, 1996; Amick, 2007; Galup, 2007; Hiscock, 2009).

Recycling nonetheless is also documented in areas where raw material is evidently abundant (Verri et al., 2004, 2005;

Shimelmitz, 2015; Assaf et al., 2015) and in such cases should be viewed in social or cultural terms (Preysler et al. 2015). For example, cores and bifaces were recycled into hammerstones at several Middle Paleolithic sites in Western Europe. This behavior seems to be independent of environmental constraints or subsistence behavior since most of the raw material used in these assemblages originated from the immediate, 5 km radius surroundings (Thiebaut et al., 2010). Alternatively, the recycling behavior identified in levels L and Ja of Abric Romani, Spain, could be seen as an integral component of a technological context defined by the production of small flakes. This “micro-lithic” production is not exclusively associated with recycling events, but is a general feature of the technological system of this site characterizing most reduction sequences present in these levels (Vaquero, 2011).