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Journal of World Prehistory

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 313–394 | Cite as

The Middle Paleolithic of the East Mediterranean Levant

  • John J. Shea
Article

Abstract

This paper reviews recent developments in geochronology, archaeology, and behavioral interpretations of the Middle Paleolithic Period (ca. 47–250 Kyr) in the East Mediterranean Levant. Neandertals and early modern humans both occupied the Levant during this period. Both these hominids are associated with the Levantine Mousterian stone tool industry and similar sets of faunal remains. The Levant has long been seen as preserving evidence for the origin of modern humans out of Neandertal ancestors. Recent radiometric dates for Levantine Middle Paleolithic contexts challenge this hypothesis. Instead, they suggest the evolutionary relationships between these hominids were far more complicated. Proposed models for Neandertal and early modern human coevolutionary relationships are examined. Intense competition between Neandertals and early modern humans for a narrow human “niche” may be the context out of which the Upper Paleolithic behavioral “revolution” arose.

Levant Southwest Asia Middle Paleolithic Mousterian Neandertals early modern humans 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • John J. Shea
    • 1
  1. 1.Anthropology DepartmentStony Brook UniversityStony Brook

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