Scarce but significant: The limestone component of the acheulean site of gesher benot ya'aqov, Israel

Nira Alperson-Afil, Naama Goren-Inbar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In-depth study of Acheulean limestone artifacts from Gesher Benot Ya'aqov (0.79 Ma) has revealed that limestone nodules procured from fluvial deposits were transported to the lake margin and exploited throughout the occupational sequence (ca. 50 ka). Analyses of the limestone assemblages illustrate that individual artifacts go through several use-stages or complex life-histories within a single reduction sequence. This reduction sequence began with the targeting of nodules suitable for use as percussors. Use of the percussors sometimes resulted in breakage that produced flakes typical of working accidents. Broken percussors were shaped into a second morphotype, chopping tools, while cores comprise a third morphotype. These morphotypes are viewed as interrelated consecutive options. Once a morphotype was inadequate for use it was transformed into another, resulting in gradual reduction of dimensions from one type to the next. The ability to renovate/recycle implies flexibility and contingency. The consistent homogeneity of the limestone assemblages demonstrates conservatism of knowledge, transmission of the chaîne opératoire Operational chain, specific raw materials, and flexible variations within them – all typical of a “complex” culture.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameVertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology
ISSN (Print)1877-9077

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This study was carried out with the support of an ongoing grant awarded by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant No. 300/06) to the Center of Excellence Project Title: “The Effect of Climate Change on the Environment and Hominins of the Upper Jordan Valley between ca. 800 ka and 700 ka ago as a Basis for Prediction of Future Scenarios.” N. Alperson-Afil is grateful for the support of the Martin Buber Society of Fellows, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The authors wish to thank Gadi Herzlinger, Arik Malinsky-Buller, Gonen Sharon, Gaby Laron (photography), and Leonid Zeiger (artifact drawings). The authors are also grateful for the contributions of S. Gorodetsky who edited the manuscript with her usual professionalism.

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016.


  • Chopping tool
  • Cognitive abilities
  • Core
  • Core-tool
  • Flake-tool
  • Lower Paleolithic
  • Percussor
  • Percuteur de concassage
  • Reduction sequence


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