Revadim Project

Revadim Quarry, a Late Acheulian site is located at the southern coastal plain, 40 km south of Tel-Aviv, near Kibbutz Revadim on a ridge 71-73 meters above sea level. Uranium series dating performed on carbonate coating archaeological flint items indicated that the site is at least 300-500 thousand years old and paleomagnetism tests indicate that the site is no older than 780,000 years ago (normal polarity). In addition, the flint and fauna assemblages found at the site strongly suggest a Late Acheulian assignment of the site. Four excavation seasons were conducted at the site. The last excavation season was a salvage excavation in summer 2004 under the direction of excavation director Dr. Ofer Marder. The excavation concentrated on two main areas, B and C, two trenches 12 and 23, and two new areas D and C east, that is near the area C.

Area C excavation

Area C excavation

Area B excavation

Area B excavation

Area B excavation

Area B excavation

Area C general view

Area C general view

Area C general view

Area C general view

The geological sequence at the site is 20 meters thick and is composed of 6 layers: dark brown grumusol, quarrzic gray-brown paleosol, red paleosol (Hamra and Husmas) and loose dune sand.

The archeological layers are in the quarrzic gray-brown paleosol (unit II) and in its contact with the red paleosol, Hamra and Husmas.

The stratigraphic sequence in area B is divided into two archeological layers: B1 and B2. Layer B1 situated 30-40 sm above Hamra. This layer represents separated finds clusters, and not a continuous horizontal layer. In contrast, layer B2 is a continuous layer rich in finds, and is situated in contact with Hamra.

Area B. Handaxe and chopper

Area B. Handaxe and chopper

Area B Handaxe

Area B Handaxe

In area C five stratigraphic layers were identified: C1-C5. Layers C1-C4 are within the geological unit II, while C5 is in contact with Hamra. While layers C1 and C4 are probably the result of post-depositional processes, layers C2, C3 and C5 are rich in finds and represent continuous layers.

Layer C3, Area C

Layer C3, Area C

Elephant tooth

Elephant tooth

The faunal assemblage of the site is rich. In each layer hundreds of animal remains were found, including remains of  straight-tusk elephants, deer, red rams, Carmel rams, fallow deer, wild oxen, wild hog and horses. The prominent faunal remains in Revadim Quarry are elephant bones, including pelvis, jaw, tusk, ribs, vertebra, large appendages bones and teeth. The elephant bones from Revadim Quarry represent one of the largest assemblage in the southern Levant so far.

The presence of the faunal remains with the flint items and the appearance of specific tools meant for a specific activity related to skin and meat processing, the absence of all of the elephant’s body parts, broken and scattered bones that were not found in accordance with their anatomic position, signs of bone cutting (a pelvis found in 2008) and bones utilization in tools production (two items defined as tools, a long elephant bone with one side smoothed and a designed flake) – are all criterions that can indicate that butchering of great mammals took place at Revadim Quarry site. The findings in Revadim Quarry site and other sites in the world lead to an assumption that the organizational and social skills as well as planning ability of the ancient people living in the area was very high, thus, the possibility of  hunting large game is probable.

Area B. Locus 2 (elephant pelvis with flint artifacts)

Area B. Locus 2 (elephant pelvis with flint artifacts)

Area B. Locus 2 (elephant pelvis with flint artifacts)

Area B. Locus 2 (elephant pelvis with flint artifacts)

Area B. Locus 21 (elephant rib in association with flint artifacts, including handaxe)

Area B. Locus 21 (elephant rib in association with flint artifacts, including handaxe)

Area B lithic assemblage includes 27,591 items recovered from an area of 94 square meters, of which a volume of 50.17 meter 3 was excavated, meaning that the average item density in area B is 550 items per meter 3. The debitage and the shaped items include 4,727 items, approximately 17.14% of the area’s assemblage. Area B was divided into three excavation parts – northern, central and southern. Two archeological layers were identified in this area – B1 and B2. Layer B1 is in geological unit II, while layer B2 is in the contact with red paleosol.

The lithic assemblage in question is very diversified technologically and includes the following kinds of items: primary element flakes, flakes, primary element blades, blades, broken flakes, cores, core trimming elements (CTE), core on flake, tools, special spall, microflakes, chips and chunks, flaked pebbles, and raw material. The items in the Revadim Quarry are made from a wide variety of flints, and very diversified in shape, size and properties.

Handaxe from Area B

Gallery

Handaxe from Area B

Handaxe from Area B

Handaxe from Area B

Chopper from Area B2

Chopper from Area B2

Chopper from Area B2

Chopper from Area B2

Chopper from Area B2

Levallois cores from layers B2 and C5

It appears that the treatment of the raw material and the production techniques were complicated and diverse. Therefore, several strategies of raw material utilization can be detected, as well as a number of techniques that were used to produce flakes in the area. The usage of raw material and intensive reduction of cores appear alongside primary processing and almost immediate abandonment of other items. In addition, the lack of core preparation and treatment in some of the cases appear alongside with thorough preparation and treatment,which indicate depth of planning in artifacts design.

In layers B1 and B2  14 flint and bones concentrations were detected and defined as locus which may represent areas of specific activity. These areas are well defined stratigraphically and spatially with high density of finding relatively to the surrounding area or in areas with specific features in comparison to areas nearby (special sediments or special items condition). Some of these concentrations (locus 20 and 21 and locus 5, 23 and 24) may be defined as “Living floor”, a layer well defined stratigraphically, found in the defined and limited area, items in an unrolled “fresh”condition, the ability to identify a certain connection between the items (preferably through refitting), the presence of small items that can indicate a primary and original deposition context, with no significant drift or transportation. The “Living floor” can represent a short living event in the defined area, that reflects the ancient population’s behavior in the given area.

Locus 22. Area B

Locus 22. Area B

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Locus 21 (clay floor). Area B

The Revadin Quarry site provides a lithic assemblage of a defined context that might indicate the complexity of the lithic industry in the Acheulian culture; the behavioral patterns of the ancient people associated with space organization, preplan of a specific activities, groups mobility and more; and the life style of the ancient hominins.

Revadim

General View

Lithic assemblages of area B and C  from salvage excavation of 2004 are being analyzed at the Institute of Archaeology, Tel-Aviv University, under the direction of Excavation Director Prof. Ran Barkai.

Natalya Solodenko Ph.D CandidatePh.D topic:Use-wear Analysis of Two Late Lower Paleolithic Lithic Assemblages: Case Studies from Revadim Quarry and Qesem CaveM.A. topic: On Tools and Elephants: An Analysis of a Lithic Assemblage from Area B of the Late Acheulian Site Revadim Quarry
Aviad Agam M.A. candidateM.A. topic: An Analysis of a Lithic Assemblage from Layer C3 from Area C of the Late Acheulian Site Revadim Quarry
Avraham Cohen M.A. candidateM.A. topic: Handaxes from Late Acheulian Site Revadim Quarry: Similarity and differences in time and spice
Tamar Rosenberg-Yefet M.A. candidateLithic analysis of layer C5
   

Reference:

Gvirtzman, G., Wieder, M., Marder, O., Khalaily, H., Rabinovich, R. and Ron, H., 1999. Geological and pedological aspects of an Early-Paleolithic site: Revadim, central coastal plain, Israel. Geoarchaeology: An International Journal14(2):101-126.

Malinsky-Buller, A., 2008. Site Formation Processes in Area C East in the Lower Palaeolithic Site of Revadim Quarry.M.A. thesis, Institute of Archaeology the HebrewUniversity of Jerusalem.

Malinsky-Buller, A., Hovers, E. and Marder, O., 2011. Making time: ‘Living floors’, ‘palimpsests’ and site formation processes – A perspective from the open-air Lower Paleolithic site of Revadim Quarry, Israel. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology30(2):89-101.

Marder, O., Gvirtzman, G., Ron, H., Khalaily, H., Wieder, M., Bankirer, R., Rabinovich, R., Porat, N. and Saragusti, I., 1999. The Lower Paleolithic site Revadim Quarry, Preliminary finds. Journal of the Israel Prehistoric Societ28:21-53.

Marder, O., Milevski, I. and Matskevich, Z., 2006. The handaxes of Revadim Quarry: Typo-technological consideration and aspects of intra-site variability. In: Goren-Inbar, N. and Sharon, G. (eds). Axe Age: Acheulian Tool-making from Quarry to Discard.Equinox Publishing: London.

Marder, O., Malinsky-Buller, A., Shahack-Gross, R., Ackermann, O., Ayalon, A., Bar-Matthews, M., Goldsmith, Y., Inbar, M., Rabinovich, R. and Hovers, E., 2011. Archaeological horizons and fluvial processes at the Lower Paleolithic open-air site of Revadim (Israel). Journal of Human Evolution 60(4):508-522.

Rabinovich, R., Bar-Gal, G. and Marder, O., 2005. Taphonomy of elephants from the Lower Paleolithic site of Revadim Quarry (Israel). In: Agenbroad, L.D. and Symington, R.L. (eds). The World of Elephants, Proceedings of the 2nd InternationalCongress. Hot Spring, SD, Pp. 142-144.

Rabinovich, R., Ackermann, O., Aladjem, E., Barkai, R., Biton, R., Milevsky, I., Solodenko, N. and Marder, O., 2011. Elephants at the Middle Pleistocene Acheulian open-air site of Revadim Quarry, Israel. Quaternary International276-277:183-197.

Solodenko, N., 2010. On Tools and Elephants: An Analysis of a Lithic Assemblage from Area B of the Late Acheulian Site Revadim Quarry.A. thesis, Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern Cultures, Tel Aviv University. (Heb)

Wieder, M. and Gvirtzman, G., 1999. Micromorphological indications on the nature of the Late Quaternary Paleosols in the southern coastal plain of Israel. Catena35:219-237.