Polygenic Red Calcic Soils in Coastal Middle Palaeolithic Environments, Israel: Taxonomy and Pedosedimentary Reconstructions

  • Alexander TsatskinEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Environment, Security, Development and Peace book series (BRIEFSSECUR, volume 8)


This paper reports the results of the ongoing multidisciplinary research of the Late Pleistocene palaeosol sequences in cemented aeolianite in the Carmel coastal plain. The sequence at the Habonim quarry (Tsatskin et al. 2009) is proposed as type section for the Habonim pedocomplex, related to the Last Interglacial sensu lato at least. In other localities in the Carmel coast numerical dates obtained thus far substantially deviate from those at Habonim. Although lacking the degree of chronological resolution found at the type section, other palaeosols with Mousterian finds are also polygenetic and include several pedogeomorphic stages. This allows us to roughly correlate red calcic palaeosols with the Habonim pedocomplex. Macrorhizoliths embedded in such welded palaeosol sequences are shown to post-date the major phase of pedogenesis. The major palaeosol at the site near Atlit is taxonomically identified as polygenetic Hamra or Hamra-Husmas (Israeli classification), which developed under wetter than today climate, stronger desert dust deposition, carbonate leaching, and reddening. Before burial, the palaeosol likely developed in an unstable environment under accelerated sand accretion, plausible dust events, and incipient calcretization. Comparisons with surface sandy soils, though poorly preserved in the studied area, are attempted.


Aeolianite Hamra Husmas Late pleistocene Carmel coast 



This research was supported by the Research Authority of the University of Haifa. The author thanks Dr Tatyana S. Gendler (United Institute of Physics of the Earth, RAS, Moscow, Russia) for magnetic measurements, Prof. Amotz Dafni for help in coastal plants identification, and Prof. Avraham Ronen for persistent collaboration.


  1. Alonso-Zarza, AM, Genise, JF, Cabrera, MC, Mangas, J, Martín-Pérez, A, Valdeolmillos, A, Dorado-Valiño, M, 2008: “Megarhizoliths in Pleistocene Aeolian Deposits from Gran Canaria (Spain): Ichnological and palaeo environmental significance”, in: Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol, 265: 39–51.Google Scholar
  2. Bar-Yosef, O, Belfer-Cohen, A, 1989: “The Origins of Sedentism and Farming Communities in the Levant”, in: J. World Prehist, 3, 4: 447–498.Google Scholar
  3. Czernik, J, Goslar, T, 2001: “Preparation of graphite targets in the Gliwice Radiocarbon Laboratory for AMS 14C dating”, in: Radiocarbon, 43, 2A: 283–291.Google Scholar
  4. Dan, J, Fine, P, Lavee, H, 2007: Soils of the land of Israel, The “ERETZ” Series (Geographic Research & Publication (in Hebrew, with English summary)).Google Scholar
  5. Dan, J, Koyumdjiski, H (Eds.), 1979: The classification of Israel soils. [The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan (in Hebrew, with English summary)].Google Scholar
  6. Dan, J, Yaalon, DH, Koyumdjisky, H, 1969: “Catenary Soil Relationships in Israel, the Netanya Catena on Coastal Dunes of the Sharon”, in: Geoderma, 2: 95–120.Google Scholar
  7. Danin, A, Yaalon, DH, 1982: “Silt Plus Clay Sedimentation and decalcification During Plant Succession in Sands of the Mediterranean Coastal Plain of Israel”, in: Isr J Earth Sci, 31: 101–109.Google Scholar
  8. Evans, ME, Heller, F, 2003: Environmental Magnetism. Principles and Applications of Enviromagnetics (USA: Academic Press).Google Scholar
  9. Farrand, WR, Ronen, A, 1974: “Observations on the Kurkar–Hamra Succession on the Carmel Coastal Plain”,in: Tel-Aviv,1: 45–54.Google Scholar
  10. Fedoroff, N, 1997: “Clay Illuviation in Red Mediterranean Soils”, in: Catena, 28: 171–189.Google Scholar
  11. Fedoroff, N, Courty, M-A, Guo, Z, 2010: Palaeosoils and Relict Soils. In: Stoops, G, Marcelino, V, Mees, F (Eds.), Interpretation of Micromorphological Features of Soils and Regoliths, (Elsevier Science): 623–662.Google Scholar
  12. Flora of Israel Online 2003–2006 (retrieved on the Internet 15.1.11.
  13. Frechen, M, Neber, A, Tsatskin, A, Boenigk, W, Ronen, A, 2004: “Chronology of Pleistocene Sedimentary Cycles in the Carmel Coastal Plain of Israel”, in: Quatern. Int, 121: 41–52.Google Scholar
  14. Frumkin, A, Stein, M, 2004: “The Sahara-East Mediterranean Dust and Climate Connection Revealed by Strontium And Uranium Isotopes in a Jerusalem Speleothem”, in: Earth Planetary Sci. Let, 217: 451–464.Google Scholar
  15. Gile, LH, Petterson, FF, Grossman, RB, 1966: “Morphological and Genetic Sequences of Carbonate Accumulation in Desert Soils”, in: Soil Sci, 101: 347–360.Google Scholar
  16. Golik, A, 2000: Sediment Transport Pattern Along the Israeli Coast as Indicated by Sand Grain Size. National Institution of Oceanography, Report H 11/2000.Google Scholar
  17. Gvirtzman, G, Netser, M, Katsav, E, 1998: “Late Glacial to Holocene Kurkar Ridges, Hamra Soils, and Dune Fields in the Coastal Belt of Central Israel”, in: Isr J. Earth Sci, 47: 29–46.Google Scholar
  18. Gvirtzman, G, Wieder, M, 2001: “Climate of the Last 53,000 Years in the Eastern Mediterranean, Based on Soil-Sequence Stratigraphy in the Coastal Plain of Israel”,in: Quaternary Sci Rev, 20: 1827–1849.Google Scholar
  19. Hall, GK, Calvo, R, 2005: Digital shaded relief map of Israel (retrieved on the Internet 15.1.11.
  20. Holliday, VT, 2004: Soil in Archaeological Research (Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  21. Kapur, S, Karaman, C, Akca, E, Aydin, M, Dinc, U, Fitzpatrick, EA, Pagliai, M, Kalmar, D, Mermut, AR, 1997: “Similarities and Differences of the Spheroidal Microstructure in Vertisols from Turkey and Israel”, in: Catena, 28: 297–311.Google Scholar
  22. Khadkikar, AS, Chamyal, LS, Ramesh, R, 2000: “The Character and Genesis of Calcrete in Late Quaternary Alluvial Deposits, Gujarat, Western India, and its Bearing on the Interpretation of Ancient Climates, in: Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol, 162: 239–261.Google Scholar
  23. Kutiel, P, 2001: “Conservation and Management of the Mediterranean Coastal Sand Dunes in Israel, in: J Coast Conservat, 7: 183–192.Google Scholar
  24. McLaren, S, Gardner, R, 2004: “Late Quaternary Vadose Carbonate Diagenesis in Coastal and Desert Dune and Beach Sands: Is There a Palaeo Climatic Signal?”,in: Earth Surf. Process Landforms, 29: 1441–1458.Google Scholar
  25. Neber, A, 2002: Sedimentological properties of Quaternary deposits on the Central coastal plain, Israel. PhD thesis, (Haifa, Israel: University of Haifa).Google Scholar
  26. Paton, TR, Humphreys, GS, Mitchell, PB, 1995: Soils––A New Global View (New Haven and London: Yale University Press).Google Scholar
  27. Porat, N, Wintle, AG, Ritte, M, 2004: “Mode and Timing of Kurkar and Hamra Formation, Central Coastal Plain, Israel”, in: Isr J Earth Sci, 53: 13–25.Google Scholar
  28. Priori, S, Costantini, EAC, Capezzuoli, E, Protano, G, Hilgers, A, Sauer, D, Sandrelli, F 2008: “Pedostratigraphy of Terra Rossa and Quaternary Geological Evolution of a Lacustrine Limestone Plateau in Central Italy”, in: J. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci, 171: 509–523.Google Scholar
  29. Ronen, A, 1977: Mousterian Sites in Red Loam in the Coastal Plain of Mount Carmel, in: Erez Israel, 13: 183–190.Google Scholar
  30. Ronen, A, Tsatskin, A, Laukhin, SA, 1999: “Genesis and Age of the Mousterian Paleosols in the Carmel Coastal plain, Israel”, in: Davies W, Charles R (Eds.): Dorothy Garrod and the Progress of the Palaeolithic Studies In the Prehistoric Archaeology of the Near East and Europe, (Oxford: Oxbow Books): 135–151.Google Scholar
  31. Singer, A, 2007: The Soils of Israel (Berlin, NewYork: Springer).Google Scholar
  32. Sivan, D, Porat, N, 2004: “Evidence from Luminescence for Late Pleistocene Formation of Calcareous Aeolianite (Kurkar) and Paleosol (Hamra) in the Carmel Coast, Israel”, in: Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol, 211: 95–106.Google Scholar
  33. Soil Taxonomy, A Basic Classification for Making and Interpreting Soil Surveys, 2nd edition 1999: Agriculture Handbook 436. USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Washington.Google Scholar
  34. Stoops, G, 2003: Guidelines for Analysis and Description of Soil and Regolith Thin Sections (USA: Soil Science Society of America).Google Scholar
  35. Tsatskin, A, Ronen, A, 1999: “Micromorphology of Mousterian Paleosol in Aeolianites at the Site of Habonim, Israel”,in: Catena, 34: 365–384.Google Scholar
  36. Tsatskin, A, Gendler, TS, Heller, F, Dekman, I, Frey, GL, 2009: “Towards Understanding Paleosols in Southern Levantine Eolianites: Integration of Micromorphology, Environmental Magnetism and Mineralogy”, in: J Mt Sci, 6: 113–124.Google Scholar
  37. Tsoar, H, 2000: “Geomorphology and Paleogeography of Sand Dunes that have Formed the Kurkar Ridge in the Coastal Plain of Israel”, in: Isr. J. Earth Sci, 49: 189–196.Google Scholar
  38. Wieder, M, Gvirtzman, G, 1999: “Micromorphological Indications on the Nature of the Late Quaternary Paleosols in the Southern Coastal Plain of Israel”, in: Catena, 35: 219–237.Google Scholar
  39. Wieder, M, Yaalon, DH, 1974: “Effect of Matrix Composition on Carbonate Nodule Crystallization”, in: Geoderma, 11: 95–121.Google Scholar
  40. Wieder, M, Yaalon, DH, 1982: “Micromorphological Fabrics and Developmental Stages of Carbonates Nodular Forms Related to Soil Characteristics”, in: Geoderma, 28: 203–220.Google Scholar
  41. WRB (World Reference Base for Soil Resources), 1998: IUSS, ISRIC and FAO, Rome.Google Scholar
  42. Yaalon, DH, 1967: “Factors Affecting the Lithification of Eolianite and Interpretation of its Environmental Significance in the Coastal Plain of Israel”, in: J Sediment Petrol, 37: 1189–1199.Google Scholar
  43. Yaalon, DH, 1997: “Soils in the Mediterranean Region: What Makes Them Different?, in: Catena, 28: 157–169.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zinman Institute of ArchaeologyUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael

Personalised recommendations