Journal of World Prehistory

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 217–266 | Cite as

Extensive Paleolithic Flint Extraction and Reduction Complexes in the Nahal Dishon Central Basin, Upper Galilee, Israel

  • Meir Finkel
  • Avi Gopher
  • Ran Barkai


Recently found open-air flint extraction and workshop sites in the Eastern Galilee, Israel, are the focus of this paper. Lithic assemblages from among a few of the thousands of tailing piles documented in a field survey, indicate mostly late Lower Palaeolithic/Middle Palaeolithic and rarely Neolithic/Chalcolithic affinities. These discoveries substantially increase our knowledge of the scope of lithic extraction and reduction in northern Israel in these periods. The new sites are located on a 25 km2 outcrop of flint-bearing Eocene limestone indicating intensive extraction of large amounts of flint, possibly beyond immediate local consumption requirements. After describing the new sites, we discuss their relation to nearby Middle and Lower Palaeolithic sites; possible resource management scenarios; chronology and duration of the extraction and reduction activity; and the sites as possible landmarks. A key question is the extent of the flint distribution area, or, more precisely, whether this region was a dominant mega-quarry for northern Israel and/or Southern Lebanon in the periods discussed.


Palaeolithic Acheulean/Mousterian Flint extraction Quarry sites Galilee Israel 


מאמר זה מתאר מרחב רחב-היקף של אתרי חציבה וסיתות צור מהתקופות הפרהיסטוריות שנמצא לאחרונה בגליל המזרחי, ישראל. ממצאי תעשיית הצור שתועדו במסגרת הסקר, בדגימה של מספר ערמות פסולת סיתות מתוך אלפים רבים של ערימות, מלמדים כי עיקר פעולות החציבה והסיתות בוצעו בתקופה הפלאוליתית התחתונה והתיכונה, ובחלק מהמקרים יש גם עדויות לפעילות בתקופה הניאוליתית-כלכוליתית. גילוי זה מרחיב במידה משמעותית את ידיעותינו על היקף תופעת החציבה והסיתות של צור בצפון ישראל בתקופות אלו. אתרים אלו, הנמצאים בשטח כולל של 25 קמ”ר על שכבת סלעי גיר איאוקני ובה צור, מעידים על פעולות חציבה אינטנסיביות של כמות צור גדולה, שהיקפה נראה גדול מזה הנדרש לצריכה מקומית. אחרי תיאור האתרים החדשים, נדון בקשר בינהם לבין אתרים ארכיאולוגיים קרובים מהפליאולית התחתון והתיכון; בתרחישים אפשריים של ניהול משאב הצור; בכרונולוגיה ובמשך פעולת החציבה והסיתות; ובאתרים כסמני נוף. שאלת מפתח היא מה גודלו של האיזור הגיאוגרפי שבו הופץ הצור שנחצב באזורי החציבה והסיתות המתוארים במאמר זה, ובאופן ממוקד יותר – האם היה האזור הזה מקור מרכזי לאספקת צור בצפון ישראל ו/או דרום לבנון בתקופות המדוברות۔



We want to thank Pavel Srago for the studio photography, Itamar Ben-Ezra for the graphics, Natalya Solodenko and Hagai Ettinger for their wholehearted assistance in working on the figures.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern CulturesTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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