A Late Pleistocene high-resolution paleoclimate reconstruction: insights from the archaeobotanical assemblage and the carbon isotope analysis of wild almond (Amygdalus sp.) from Raqefet Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel

Chiara Belli, Valentina Caracuta, Mina Weinstein-Evron, Reuven Yeshurun, Elisabetta Boaretto, Dani Nadel

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8 Scopus citations

Abstract

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 deposits consisting of various species. Drawing on Δ13C values of dated Amygdalus sp. (almond) charcoal specimens, we sought to reconstruct Late Pleistocene precipitation patterns from a high-resolution archaeological record. The results produced the longest, single-site, plant-based paleoclimatic sequence in the southern Levant, and they generally correspond to other paleoclimatic proxies generated for the region. They indicate that the plant taxa and reconstructed precipitation levels were all in the range of modern eastMediterranean climate but with some notable fluctuations. Specifically, we highlight the rainfall differences between the dryer Levantine Aurignacian and the wetter Natufian cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107138
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume268
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

Funding

This article is part of Chiara Belli's Ph.D. dissertation, supervised by D.N. M.W-E. and V.C. We thank Prof. Danny Rosenberg from the Laboratory for Ground Stone Tools Research (Zinman Institute of Archaeology) and Dr. Nicolas Waldmann from the Basin Analysis and Petrophysical Lab (PetroLab, Dr. Moses Strauss Department of Marine Geosciences) of the University of Haifa for providing access to the microscope equipment used in this research and for useful discussion. The radiocarbon and stable isotopes research was supported by the Exilarch Foundation for the Dangoor Research Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (D-REAMS) Laboratory. The Irene Levi-Sala CARE Archaeological Foundation, the National Geographic Society (Grant #8915–11), and the Wenner-Gren Foundation (Grant #7481–2008) generously supported the Raqefet Cave project. Fieldwork at Raqefet Cave was carried out under license numbers G-50/2004, G-34/2006, G-64/2008, G-34/2010, and G-22/2011 of the Israel Antiquities Authority and permits of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Sapir Haad assisted in the preparation of Fig. 1. We thank two anonymous reviewers for the insightful suggestions that helped improve our paper. This article is part of Chiara Belli's Ph.D. dissertation, supervised by D.N., M.W-E., and V.C. We thank Prof. Danny Rosenberg from the Laboratory for Ground Stone Tools Research (Zinman Institute of Archaeology) and Dr. Nicolas Waldmann from the Basin Analysis and Petrophysical Lab (PetroLab, Dr. Moses Strauss Department of Marine Geosciences) of the University of Haifa for providing access to the microscope equipment used in this research and for useful discussion. The radiocarbon and stable isotopes research was supported by the Exilarch Foundation for the Dangoor Research Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (D-REAMS) Laboratory. The Irene Levi-Sala CARE Archaeological Foundation , the National Geographic Society (Grant # 8915–11 ), and the Wenner-Gren Foundation (Grant # 7481–2008 ) generously supported the Raqefet Cave project. Fieldwork at Raqefet Cave was carried out under license numbers G-50/2004, G-34/2006, G-64/2008, G-34/2010, and G-22/2011 of the Israel Antiquities Authority and permits of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Sapir Haad assisted in the preparation of Fig. 1 . We thank two anonymous reviewers for the insightful suggestions that helped improve our paper.

FundersFunder number
CARE Archaeological Foundation
D-REAMS
Exilarch Foundation for the Dangoor Research Accelerator Mass Spectrometer
Israel Antiquities Authority and permits of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority
PetroLab
Zinman Institute of Archaeology
Wenner-Gren Foundation7481–2008
National Geographic Society8915–11
University of Haifa

    Keywords

    • Almond
    • Archaeobotany
    • Late Pleistocene
    • Paleoclimate reconstruction
    • Southern Levant
    • Stable carbon isotope analysis

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