The oldest human groups in the Levant

Avraham RONEN

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 5 (1-2) - Pages 343-351

Published on 28 February 2006

This article is a part of the thematic issue Climates - Culture - Society in prehistoric times. From the appearance of hominids to the Neolithic.

Between 2.5 and 0.8 Myr, at least four episodes of hominine dispersal from Africa to the Levant are known, each culturally distinct. All have settled on lakes or river banks. The oldest occurrence is Yiron, in the northern portion of the Israeli Rift, with flint artefacts in a fluviatile deposit below a basalt layer dated 2.4 Myr. Yiron was followed by the Ubeidiya group in the central Rift ca. 1.4 Myr, with a Lower Acheulean industry. Somewhat later, the Bizat Ruhama group has settled (1.0 Myr) in the eastern coastal plain, with a small, microlith-size industry. Around 0.8 Myr, newcomers have settled at Gesher Benot Yaaqov (GBY) in the northern Rift, introducing the cleaver tradition. None of the sites yielded human remains. The cultures of Bizat Ruhama and GBY have subsequently disappeared. During the Lower Palaeolithic the Levant remained largely an Acheulean province, probably evolved from Ubeidiya. The Late/Final Acheulean, with developed Levallois technology is the possible ancestor of the Middle Palaeolithic ‘Levallois–Mousterian’.


Levant, Hominine dispersal, Lower and Middle Palaeolithic, Acheulean, pre-Acheulean

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