Intra-site variability – Analysis, characterization, and cultural affiliation of the Upper Paleolithic sequence of Manot Cave (western Galilee, Israel)

Maayan Shemer, Omry Barzilai, Elisabetta Boaretto, Israel Hershkovitz, Ron Lavi, Lotan Edeltin, Ofer Marder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The site of Manot Cave in western Galilee, Israel, has been a focus of research on the Levantine Upper Paleolithic since its discovery in 2008. Thick archaeological accumulations and good preservation of organic remains, including charcoal fragments, provided a stable base for the study of the Upper Paleolithic chrono-cultural sequence, alongside the paleoenvironmental conditions at the time of human occupations. Past research indicated the presence of at least three cultural entities in the cave: Early Ahmarian, Levantine Aurignacian, and a younger entity temporarily referred to as ‘post-Levantine Aurignacian’, while radiocarbon and isotope dating provided a preliminary chronological frame ca. 46–34 ky calBP. This paper presents a comprehensive study of the unpublished, in-situ occupation layers identified near the entrance to the cave (Area E). This study, encompassing stratigraphic reconstruction and lithic analysis of eight distinct occupation layers, presents a refined chronological frame and revised cultural affiliations. It suggests a division of the sequence from Area E into three main occupation phases: Phase 3, containing a combination of technological and typological attributes comparable to both the Early Ahmarian and Levantine Aurignacian, to which a secure cultural affiliation is pending further research; Phase 2, containing ‘classic’ Levantine Aurignacian industries, dated ca. 37.5–36.0 ky calBP; and Phase 1, contains industries with increasing microlithic dominance, and the prominent presence of truncation burins and items with lateral carination, affiliated here with the Atlitian of the Levantine Mediterranean region. Radiocarbon chronology indicates a maximum age of ca. 34.5–33.1 ky calBP for this occupation phase. This study establishes Manot Cave as a key site for the study of Levantine Upper Paleolithic cultural dynamics, providing a unique, well-dated sequence and comparable techno-typological data of the flint industries.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number100501
JournalArchaeological Research in Asia
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2024


  • Atlitian
  • Cultural dynamics
  • Flint technology
  • Levantine Aurignacian
  • Radiocarbon chronology
  • Southern Levant

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


Dive into the research topics of 'Intra-site variability – Analysis, characterization, and cultural affiliation of the Upper Paleolithic sequence of Manot Cave (western Galilee, Israel)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this