The Nature of Culture

Part of the series Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology pp 41-56


Scarce but Significant: The Limestone Component of the Acheulean Site of Gesher Benot Ya'aqov, Israel

  • Nira Alperson-AfilAffiliated withThe Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, Bar Ilan University Email author 
  • , Naama Goren-Inbar

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In-depth study of Acheulean limestone artifacts from Gesher Benot Ya'aqov (0.79 Ma) has revealed that limestone nodules procured from fluvial deposits were transported to the lake margin and exploited throughout the occupational sequence (ca. 50 ka). Analyses of the limestone assemblages illustrate that individual artifacts go through several use-stages or complex life-histories within a single reduction sequence . This reduction sequence began with the targeting of nodules suitable for use as percussors . Use of the percussors sometimes resulted in breakage that produced flakes typical of working accidents. Broken percussors were shaped into a second morphotype, chopping tools, while cores comprise a third morphotype. These morphotypes are viewed as interrelated consecutive options. Once a morphotype was inadequate for use it was transformed into another, resulting in gradual reduction of dimensions from one type to the next. The ability to renovate/recycle implies flexibility and contingency . The consistent homogeneity of the limestone assemblages demonstrates conservatism of knowledge , transmission of the chaîne opératoire , specific raw materials , and flexible variations within them – all typical of a “complex” culture.


Lower Paleolithic Cognitive abilities Chopping tool Core Core-tool Flake-tool Percussor Percuteur de concassage Reduction sequence