Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2023, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (05): 626-637.doi: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0035

Special Issue: 英文专辑

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The origins and destinations of the Levantine Initial Upper Paleolithic: A view from the Negev Desert, Israel

Omry BARZILAI()   

  1. Archaeological Research Department, Israel Antiquities Authority, POB 586, Jerusalem 91004, Israel
  • Received:2021-07-01 Revised:2021-11-05 Online:2023-10-15 Published:2022-07-19


The Initial Upper Paleolithic (IUP) is a chrono-cultural phase corresponding with the onset of systematic production of pointed blades in various regions in Eurasia. This phenomenon is often conceived to correlate with the MIS 3 modern human expansion. Originally defined after the site Boker Tachtit in the Negev Desert, Israel, the Levantine IUP is composed of two consecutive superimposed lithic industries. The lower, named Emiran, is characterized with bidirectional blade technology, whereas the upper industry with unidirectional blades. Until recently the chronology of Boker Tachtit was insecure but new radiometric ages have shown that the Emiran is contemporaneous with the local Late Mousterian, thus supporting the assumption of this industry being imported. Similar technological features and chronological proximities between Boker Tachtit and assemblages from the Nile Valley and southern Arabia suggest the early Boker Tachtit inhabitants may have originated from these regions. The Emiran industry developed in Boker Tachtit into a later variant, the unidirectional industry, but it also expanded northward to central Europe and north-central Asia. The later variant acted in a similar manner as it developed locally into the early Ahmarian techno-complex but also expanded into the northern Levant and the Balkans. It is proposed the IUP phase featured at least two dispersal events. The first is the expansion from the Nile Valley/Arabia to the Levant from where it expanded rapidly to central Europe and north-central Asia. The second dispersal occurred slightly later and began in the southern Levant from where it spread to the northern Levant and the Balkans.

Key words: Initial Upper Paleolithic, Boker Tachtit, Emiran, lithic technology, human dispersals

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