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Title: When discarded bones became important: new bone retouchers from the lower sequence of Qesem Cave, Israel (ca. 300-420 ka)
Authors: Rosell, Jordi
Blasco, Ruth
Martín Lerma, Ignacio
Barkai, Ran
Gopher, Avi
Keywords: Middle Pleistocene;Levant;Bone retouchers;Acheulo-Yabrudian Cultural Complex (AYCC);Qesem Cave
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Verlag des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums
Citation: Retouching the Palaeolithic, 2018, 33-51
Series/Report no.: RGZM-TagungenBand;35
Abstract: Pleistocene archaeological sites contain a high diversity of bone fragments resulting from activities related to anthropogenic processing of animal carcasses and other biostratinomic and fossil diagenetic phenomena. Specifically, intentional bone breakage to access marrow generates a high number of small and large-sized bone fragments, which are eventually discarded. Yet, some of these bones are morphologically suitable for human use and are introduced into the lithic tool manufacturing processes. Here, we present some new early cases of bone retouchers from the Middle Pleistocene site of Qesem Cave, Israel. This site shows a long stratigraphic sequence of over 11 m of sediments, dated between 420 and 200 ka by U-series, TL and ESR, all assigned to the late Lower Palaeolithic Acheulo-Yabrudian Cultural Complex (AYCC). Among the many technological and socio-economic innovations of this post-Acheulian/pre-Mousterian entity is the use of bone retouchers. In previous studies we reported nine bone retouchers from the hearth area at the top part of the lower sequence of Qesem Cave (dated to ca. ~300 ka). Here, we present 15 new items from a deeper sedimentary deposit located under the rock shelf (> 300 ka, closer to 400 ka). These objects are fragments of long bone shafts with a slight pattern of selection towards specific ungulate size categories. Nine retouchers belong to small ungulates, four to medium-sized animals, and two to large ungulates. We suggest that some of these implements may have played a role in the shaping and/or re-sharpening of Quina and demi-Quina scrapers, as well as in the shaping of other tools. Bone retouchers became a signifi cant part of knapping toolkits in the subsequent cultural complexes and served a specific role within lithic reduction sequences.
Description: "Retouching the Palaeolithic: Becoming Human and the Origins of Bone Tool Technology" Conference at Schloss Herrenhausen in Hannover, Germany, 21- 23 October 2015.
ISBN: 978-3-88467-305-8
DOI: 10.11588/propylaeum.408.590
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Type: Book chapter
Appears in Collections:Arqueología

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