Bulb retouchers half a million years ago: New evidence from late Acheulean Jaljulia, Israel

Cyrielle Mathias, Cristina Lemorini, Flavia Marinelli, Sol Sánchez-Dehesa Galán, Maayan Shemer, Ran Barkai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bulb retouchers (or flint retouchers) are a specific tool category applied in stone knapping activities, commonly associated with Middle Palaeolithic assemblages and late Pleistocene hominins in north Africa, the Levant and Europe. A few flint flakes with pits on the ventral surface were identified in the lithic assemblage of Area D at late Acheulean Jaljulia, dated to ca. 500 ka. Here we present a techno-typological analysis of these items as well as the percussive marks. Like many Middle Palaeolithic bulb retouchers, those used at Jaljulia consist mainly of retouched items or combined matrices (a tool and/or a core). Here we present the earliest evidence for the use of bulb retouchers during late Acheulean times in the Levant, thus demonstrating their roots in the Lower Palaeolithic lithic repertoire. Further analyses will allow us to more accurately interpret their use as a percussor. This study constitutes the first step in understanding the role and significance of bulb retouchers in early human tool-kits during the late Lower Palaeolithic in the Levant and demonstrates that such items were envisioned and employed hundreds of thousands of years earlier than previously known.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103821
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • Acheuleo-Yabroudian
  • Bulb retoucher
  • Late Acheulean
  • Percussion
  • Retouch
  • Tool-kit

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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