Climatic and environmental conditions in the Western Galilee, during Late Middle and Upper Paleolithic periods, based on speleothems from Manot Cave, Israel

Gal Yasur, Avner Ayalon, Alan Matthews, Tami Zilberman, Ofer Marder, Omry Barzilai, Elisabetta Boaretto, Israel Hershkovitz, Miryam Bar-Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Early Ahmarian, Levantine Aurignacian and Post-Levantine Aurignacian archeological assemblages show that the karstic Manot Cave, located 5 km east of the Mediterranean coast in the Western Galilee region of Israel, was intensively occupied during the Early Upper Paleolithic. The coexistence of these rich archaeological layers with speleothems in Manot Cave provides a window of opportunity for determining the relationships between climatic conditions and the nature of human activity and mobility patterns in the Western Galilee region during the Early Upper Paleolithic period. This study, based on four stalagmites that grew almost continuously from ∼75 to 26.5 ka, covers most of the last glacial, and overlaps with the human occupation of the cave. The speleothems oxygen (δ18O) and carbon (δ13C) isotopic records indicate that climate and environmental conditions fluctuated during the last glacial, some of which correspond with Dansgaard–Oeschger (D-O) cycles 12, 10, 7 and Heinrich (H) events VI and V. Consistent with independent evidence from botanic and faunal remains, these climatic shifts brought about significant environmental changes in the region, ranging from dominant thick Mediterranean forest to more open landscape. A good correlation with less negative δ13C values is most pronounced during the Early Ahmarian time period, but there was also a change to less negative δ13C values during the Levantine Aurignacian and Post-Levantine Aurignacian industries in the Levant. These positive δ13C shifts suggest that environmental transformation towards a more open grassy landscape dominated by C4 vegetation might have played an important role in the development of these cultural entities (mainly the Early Ahmarian) in Manot Cave region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102605
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Volume160
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd

Funding

The Manot research is supported by the Dan David Foundation , the Irene Levi-Sala CARE Foundation , the Binational Science Foundation (grant no. 2015303 ), the Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 2632/18 ), the Leaky Foundation and Case Western Reserve University . Radiocarbon research was supported by the Exilarch Foundation for the Dangoor Research Accelerator Mass Spectrometer and Max Planck-Weizmann Center for Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology “Timing of Cultural Changes”. U-Th dating was supported by the Geological Survey of Israel . We would like to thank Natalya Tapliakov, Dr. Irena Segal and Dr. Olga Yoffe for their help with laboratory work and U-Th mass spectrometric analyses. Many thanks to the Manot team, and in particular to: Talia Abulafia, Mae Goder-Goldberger, Ron Lavi and Bridget Alex. We thank Yoav Ben Dor for his technical assistence. We thank the three anonymous reviewers and the editors Sarah Elton and Mike Plavcan, for the constructive review which highly improved the manuscript. The Manot research is supported by the Dan David Foundation, the Irene Levi-Sala CARE Foundation, the Binational Science Foundation (grant no. 2015303), the Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 2632/18), the Leaky Foundation and Case Western Reserve University. Radiocarbon research was supported by the Exilarch Foundation for the Dangoor Research Accelerator Mass Spectrometer and Max Planck-Weizmann Center for Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology ?Timing of Cultural Changes?. U-Th dating was supported by the Geological Survey of Israel. We would like to thank Natalya Tapliakov, Dr. Irena Segal and Dr. Olga Yoffe for their help with laboratory work and U-Th mass spectrometric analyses. Many thanks to the Manot team, and in particular to: Talia Abulafia, Mae Goder-Goldberger, Ron Lavi and Bridget Alex. We thank Yoav Ben Dor for his technical assistence. We thank the three anonymous reviewers and the editors Sarah Elton and Mike Plavcan, for the constructive review which highly improved the manuscript.

FundersFunder number
Dan David Foundation
Exilarch Foundation for the Dangoor Research Accelerator Mass Spectrometer
Irene Levi-Sala CARE Foundation
Max Planck-Weizmann Center for Integrative Archaeology
Case Western Reserve University
Leaky Foundation
Dan David Prize
United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation2015303
British Geological Survey
Israel Science Foundation2632/18
Geological Survey and Mineral Exploration of Iran

    Keywords

    • Manot Cave
    • Paleoclimate
    • Speleothems
    • Upper paleolithic
    • δC
    • δO

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