Radiocarbon dating of human burials from Raqefet Cave and contemporaneous Natufian traditions at Mount Carmel

Omry Barzilai, Noemi Rebollo, Dani Nadel, Fanny Bocquentin, Reuven Yeshurun, György Lengyel, Gal Bermatov-Paz, Elisabetta Boaretto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


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 Natufian sites at Mount Carmel in Israel: Raqefet Cave, conventionally assigned to the Late phase of the Natufian; and el-Wad Terrace, spanning the entire Natufian sequence. Results indicate that these two sites were in fact contemporaneous at some point, but with distinct lunate assemblages. Distinguishing between Natufian phases is, therefore, more complex than previously thought; the social implications of diverse but co-existing cultural manifestations must be considered in any future reconstruction of the Natufian.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1137-1154
Number of pages18
Issue number359
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work forms part of a post-doctoral research project conducted by O.B., supervised by E.B. (ISF grant 475/10). Fieldwork was carried out under licence numbers G-2004/50, 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. 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 excavation. Teresa Cabellos Panades, Aurore Lambert and Gabrielle Bosset assisted in the excavation of the burials. Michal Birkenfeld prepared Figure 1. Anat Regev-Gisis prepared Figures 2, 6 and 7. We thank N. Taha from the Basin Analysis and

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Antiquity Publications Ltd.


  • Israel
  • Levant
  • Natufian
  • Raqefet Cave
  • el-Wad


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