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The lower paleolithic of the Near East

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Journal of World Prehistory Aims and scope

Abstract

The Near East forms the geographic crossroads between Africa, Asia and Europe and was certainly a main route for the dispersal of Homo erectusinto Eurasia. The study of Lower Paleolithic sites in this region and in the neighboring Caucasus area sheds some light on several potential colonization events. Sites such as ‘Ubeidiya (Jordan Valley) and Dmanisi (Georgia) suggest the early sorties took place around 1.4-1.0 Ma. Despite the lack of radiometric dates, sequences of raised beaches, marine deposits, river terraces, and paleolake formations have enabled various investigators to identify several series of major aggradation and erosion periods within the Pleistocene. Lithic assemblages derived from a few systematic excavations and collections from stratigraphically dated outcrops led to a threefold subdivision of the Acheulian sequence into the Lower, Middle, and Upper Acheulian. The study of nonbiface assemblages, however, has not resolved the question of whether these assemblages deserve inclusion as separate entities or should be viewed as sites within the Acheulian settlement pattern. While the typotechnological definitions of each major phase can be compared to what is known from other regions of the Old World, the Acheulo-Yabrudian (or the Mugharan Tradition) is seen as a local entity. Rare human remains and scarce data concerning subsistence activities do not warrant a comparative discussion with what is known from African and some European sites.

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Bar-Yosef, O. The lower paleolithic of the Near East. J World Prehist 8, 211–265 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02221050

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