Scholarly article on topic 'Variability in Early Ahmarian lithic technology and its implications for the model of a Levantine origin of the Protoaurignacian'

Variability in Early Ahmarian lithic technology and its implications for the model of a Levantine origin of the Protoaurignacian Academic research paper on "History and archaeology"

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{"Upper Palaeolithic" / Levant / "Lithic technology" / Ahmarian / Protoaurignacian / " Homo sapiens "}

Abstract of research paper on History and archaeology, author of scientific article — Seiji Kadowaki, Takayuki Omori, Yoshihiro Nishiaki

Abstract This paper re-examines lithic technological variability of the Early Ahmarian, one of the early Upper Palaeolithic cultural entities in the Levant, which has often been regarded as a precursor of the Protoaurignacian (the early Upper Palaeolithic in Europe) in arguments for the occurrence of a cultural spread in association with the dispersal of Homo sapiens from the Levant to Europe. Using quantitative data on several lithic techno-typological attributes, we demonstrate that there is a significant degree of variability in the Early Ahmarian between the northern and southern Levant, as previously pointed out by several researchers. In addition, we suggest that the technology similar to the southern Early Ahmarian also existed in the northern Levant, i.e., the Ksar Akil Phase 4 group (the KA 4 group), by introducing new Upper Palaeolithic assemblages from Wadi Kharar 16R, inland Syria. We then review currently available stratigraphic records and radiocarbon dates (including a new date from Wadi Kharar 16R), with special attention to their methodological background. As a result, we propose alternative chronological scenarios, including one that postulates that the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA 4 group appeared later than the northern Early Ahmarian with little or no overlap. On the basis of the alternative scenarios of chronological/geographical patterns of the Early Ahmarian variability, we propose four possible relationships between the Protoaurignacian and the Early Ahmarian, including a new scenario that the appearance of the Protoaurignacian preceded those of similar technological entities in the Levant, i.e., the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA 4 group. If the last hypothesis is substantiated, it requires us to reconsider the model of a Levantine origin of the Protoaurignacian and its palaeoanthropological implications.

Academic research paper on topic "Variability in Early Ahmarian lithic technology and its implications for the model of a Levantine origin of the Protoaurignacian"

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Journal of Human Evolution

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jhevol

Variability in Early Ahmarian lithic technology and its implications for the model of a Levantine origin of the Protoaurignacian

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Seiji Kadowaki a , Takayuki Omori b, Yoshihiro Nishiaki

a Nagoya University Museum, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, 464-8601, Japan b The University Museum, The University of Tokyo, Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo, Tokyo, 113-0033, Japan

ARTICLE INFO

Article history: Received 18 March 2014 Accepted 24 February 2015 Available online 25 April 2015

Keywords:

Upper Palaeolithic

Levant

Lithic technology Ahmarian Protoaurignacian Homo sapiens

ABSTRACT

This paper re-examines lithic technological variability of the Early Ahmarian, one of the early Upper Palaeolithic cultural entities in the Levant, which has often been regarded as a precursor of the Proto-aurignacian (the early Upper Palaeolithic in Europe) in arguments for the occurrence of a cultural spread in association with the dispersal of Homo sapiens from the Levant to Europe. Using quantitative data on several lithic techno-typological attributes, we demonstrate that there is a significant degree of variability in the Early Ahmarian between the northern and southern Levant, as previously pointed out by several researchers. In addition, we suggest that the technology similar to the southern Early Ahmarian also existed in the northern Levant, i.e., the Ksar Akil Phase 4 group (the KA 4 group), by introducing new Upper Palaeolithic assemblages from Wadi Kharar 16R, inland Syria. We then review currently available stratigraphic records and radiocarbon dates (including a new date from Wadi Kharar 16R), with special attention to their methodological background. As a result, we propose alternative chronological scenarios, including one that postulates that the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA 4 group appeared later than the northern Early Ahmarian with little or no overlap. On the basis of the alternative scenarios of chronological/geographical patterns of the Early Ahmarian variability, we propose four possible relationships between the Protoaurignacian and the Early Ahmarian, including a new scenario that the appearance of the Protoaurignacian preceded those of similar technological entities in the Levant, i.e., the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA 4 group. If the last hypothesis is substantiated, it requires us to reconsider the model of a Levantine origin of the Protoaurignacian and its palaeoanthropological implications.

© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND

license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Introduction

An Upper Palaeolithic technological tradition named "Early Ahmarian" or "Ahmarian" in the Levant has often been mentioned in key palaeoanthropological/archaeological discussions related to Late Pleistocene Out-of-Africa models of Homo sapiens (Zilhao, 2006, 2007, 2013; Bar-Yosef, 2007; Mellars, 2006a,b; Hublin, 2014). These discussions suggest that the Early Ahmarian was likely a precursor of similar, blade/bladelet-dominated technology in Europe (i.e., the Protoaurignacian, modeled to date between ca. 42.0 and 39.2 ka cal BP by Banks et al., 2013a,b) and then raise the possibility that this technological/cultural spread from the Levant to Europe was caused by the geographic expansion of H. sapiens (meaning anatomically modern H. sapiens according to Brauer,

* Corresponding author. E-mail address: kadowaki@num.nagoya-u.ac.jp (S. Kadowaki).

2008), which chronologically corresponds with the modern human Oase 1 mandible found in Romania (Trinkaus et al., 2003). However, this dispersal event may not represent the initial colonization of Europe by H. sapiens populations if one accepts arguments for their earlier dispersals into Europe (ca. 48—42 ka cal BP) proposed on the basis of fossil records from Grotta del Cavallo and Kent's Cavern (Benazzi et al., 2011; Higham et al., 2011; but see White and Pettitt, 2012 and Zilhao, 2013 for cautious views) or archaeological arguments for the appearance of the Early Auri-gnacian at Willendorf II around 43.5 ka cal BP (Nigst et al., 2014) and the cultural spread from the Emiran in the Levant to the Bachokirian/Bohunician in eastern/central Europe (Skrdra, 2003; Svoboda and Bar-Yosef, 2003; Kozlowski, 2007; Svoboda, 2007; Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen, 2013; Hublin, 2014). If these earlier diffusion scenarios are accepted, a subsequent dispersal at the time of the Early Ahmarian and the Protoaurignacian would indicate that European colonization by H. sapiens proceeded in a stepwise

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/johevol.2015.02.017

0047-2484/© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

manner with multiple waves of migrations from the Levant (Hublin, 2013, 2014).

Although the presence of H. sapiens in the Levant and eastern Europe by the time of the Early Ahmarian and the Protoaurignacian is suggested by the modern human fossil records from Manot Cave (Hershkovitz et al., 2015), Ksar Akil Level XVII (i.e., Egbert; Bergman and Stringer, 1989), and the Pestera cu Oase (Trinkaus et al., 2003), here we reconsider the archaeological argument that this geographic expansion of H. sapiens was accompanied by technological/cultural spread from the Levant to Europe. As one of the reasons to re-examine this model (i.e., the Levantine origin of the Protoaurignacian), we are particularly concerned with the variability of Early Ahmarian lithic technology and its implications for the suggested relationship with the Protoaurignacian. We aim to show variants of Early Ahmarian lithic technology and their chronological/geographical patterns by using published data, as well as new data from our fieldwork at Wadi Kharar 16R, inland Syria. Then, we discuss the results in relation to the model of the Levantine origin of the Protoaurignacian by referring to currently available radiocarbon dates from the Early Ahmarian and the Pro-toaurignacian. Finally, we propose refined insights into the relationship between the two lithic traditions.

The term "Ahmarian" was originally proposed by Gilead (1981) and Marks (1981) for a group of Upper Palaeolithic assemblages that are chrono-stratigraphically later than the Emiran and characterized by the production of fine blades and bladelets (with small, abraded platforms) that are modified into pointed, backed, and retouched blades/bladelets. The Ahmarian assemblages were contrasted with the other group of Upper Palaeolithic assemblages ("Levantine Aurignacian") that are flake-oriented and dominated by end scrapers and burins. Gilead (1981) and Marks (1981) also suggested the co-existence of these two different traditions that represent synchronic cultural variability in the Levantine Upper Palaeolithic, which had been organized before as a unilinear cultural sequence (Neuville, 1934). However, it has been evident since this first definition of Ahmarian that its assemblages encompassed a significant degree of variation in tool type frequency (Gilead, 1991:121-125) and core reduction strategy (Marks, 1981:347), some of which were subsequently shown to represent diachronic changes. This led to the subdivision of the Ahmarian into the early and late phases (i.e., Early Ahmarian and Late Ahmarian) that are now widely accepted in Levantine Upper Palaeolithic studies (Goring-Morris and Belfer-Cohen, 2003; Marks, 2003; Shea, 2013:150-154; Kadowaki, 2014). The Late Ahmarian (or Masra-qan: Belfer-Cohen and Goring-Morris, 2003) is distinguished from the Early Ahmarian by the increase of Ouchtata bladelets replacing el-Wad points, which are the hallmark of the Early Ahmarian (Ferring, 1988; Coinman, 2003; Goring-Morris and Davidzon, 2006). Technologically, the Late Ahmarian employs multiple core-reduction strategies, including ones specialized for bladelets, thus creating a bimodal distribution of blade/bladelet dimension (Ferring, 1977; Marks, 2003:254). In contrast, the size distribution of Early Ahmarian blades/bladelets tends to be uni-modal because a single core-reduction strategy continuously produces blades and bladelets (Monigal, 2003). The chronological boundary between the two phases is ca. 29-25 ka BP (ca. 33-29 ka cal BP; Kadowaki, 2013). Here we examine the Early Ahmarian assemblages defined by this research background.

Despite the subdivision of the Ahmarian into the early and late phases, the variability within each of the phases is still significant. In the case of the Early Ahmarian, and thus of particular relevance here, several researchers (e.g., Bergman, 1988; Kuhn et al., 2003; Marks, 2003:255; Goring-Morris and Davidzon, 2006; Tsanova et al., 2012) have noted the regional variability between the southern arid zone (Negev, Sinai, and Jordan) and the northern

Levant. Specifically, Goring-Morris and Davidzon (2006:106-107) suggest that the Ahmarian assemblages in the northern Mediterranean zone (including U^agizk B, B4-1 and C, Ksar Akil XX-XV, Yabrud II, Kebara IV—III, and Qafzeh E—D) are characterized by the use of a bi-directional blade/bladelet knapping method in addition to a single platform core reduction that is predominant in the southern Ahmarian assemblages. Goring-Morris and Davidzon (2006) also mention that blades/bladelets removed from opposed-platform cores in the northern Ahmarian appear to be relatively straight and robust in comparison with the slender and pointed blades/bladelets from single-platform narrow-fronted cores in the southern Ahmarian. Such differences in blank forms are related to the variability in the size and form of points and their retouch patterns in the Ahmarian assemblages. This aspect has been examined through the definition of various point types (e.g., el-Wad points, Ksar Akil points, and pointes a face plane; Bergman, 1981) that have been noted to occur in different frequencies between the southern and northern Ahmarian assemblages (Kuhn et al., 2003).

In re-examining this regional variability of the Early Ahmarian, we use quantitative data on the core reduction methods and the forms of points and blades/bladelets that were noted as key attributes in the studies mentioned above (e.g., Goring-Morris and Davidzon, 2006; Tsanova et al., 2012). We employ a quantitative approach for two purposes: 1) to substantiate the variability through systematic comparisons of lithic attributes (rather than their descriptions), and 2) to make broader comparisons among assemblages beyond the category of lithic traditions. Specifically, we analyze not only assemblages widely accepted as the Early Ahmarian but also others whose technological similarity to the Early Ahmarian has been newly noted and deserves further scrutiny. For the latter, we included two groups of assemblages: Ksar Akil Levels X-IX (Phase 4; Williams and Bergman, 2010) and new assemblages from our excavations at Wadi Kharar 16R, inland Syria (Nishiaki et al., 2012). We selected these two sites because of their potential technological similarity to the southern Early Ahmarian despite their locations in the northern Levant. If their technological similarity to the southern Early Ahmarian is substantiated, we are required to reconsider our understanding of geographical and chronological patterns of Early Ahmarian technological variation.

Materials and methods

Lithic assemblages

Fig. 1 and Table 1 show sites and layers that yielded lithic assemblages examined here. They consist of three groups. Two are so-called "northern" and "southern" groups of the Early Ahmarian. We classed the assemblages into the two groups according to the research background described above. However, the list lacks some assemblages that have been described as Early Ahmarian in previous studies, such as Erq el-Ahmar E—F, Qafzeh E, the Qadesh Barnea sites, Sde Divshon, and Yabrud II (Gilead, 1991; Belfer-Cohen and Goring-Morris, 2003; Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen, 2004; Goring-Morris and Davidzon, 2006), because we could not obtain quantitative data on the techno-morphological attributes we examined (see below) for these sites.

The third group in the analysis includes two assemblages (Ksar Akil Phase 4 and Wadi Kharar 16R) that are located in the northern Levant but potentially show southern Early Ahmarian technological characteristics. This notion is based on the most recent studies of the Ksar Akil assemblages by Williams and Bergman (2010:144), who suggested strong similarity of the Phase 4 assemblages to "the Early Ahmarian of the marginal zone." We separated Ksar Akil Phase 4 as an independent group instead of including it a priori in

Figure 1. Map of the Levant showing the locations of the Early Ahmarian-related sites analyzed in this study.

the southern Early Ahmarian because the assemblages in Phase 4 (Levels X—IX) were once classed as part of the Levantine Aurigna-cian tradition (Copeland, 1975; see Supplementary Online Material [SOM] Section 1 for a brief research background of the Levantine Aurignacian). In addition to Ksar Akil Phase 4, we use data from Wadi Kharar 16R obtained from our excavations in inland Syria (Fig. 2), which are newly reported here (Figs. 3—6). As described in detail in SOM Section 2, the Wadi Kharar 16R assemblages are techno-typologically similar to Ksar Akil Phase 4. This technological similarity is associated with similar radiocarbon dates. We obtained from Wadi Kharar 16R a single AMS date using the ABA method on charcoal (33,130 ± 160 BP: IAAA-103837). This date falls within the chronological range of Ksar Akil Phase 4, for which Douka et al. (2013) reported two AMS dates on Nassarius gibbosulus (30,360 ± 140 BP: OxA-20023; 34,550 ± 250 BP: OxA-25585), although there are differences in dated materials (shell versus wood) and the pretreatment methods (CarDS versus ABA). These dates also overlap with a previously obtained AMS date on charcoal

(32,000 ± 1500: MC-1192) from the corresponding level defined by Tixier's excavations at Ksar Akil (Williams and Bergman, 2010). Therefore, on the basis of the technological and chronological similarity between Ksar Akil Phase 4 and Wadi Kharar 16R, we group them together in the following analyses and call them tentatively "the Ksar Akil Phase 4 group (the KA4 group)."

Techno-morphological attributes

To make comparisons in lithic technology among the three groups of assemblages described above (i.e., the northern Early Ahmarian, the southern Early Ahmarian, and the KA4 group), we selected four techno-morphological attributes that previous studies noted represent the regional variability of the Early Ahmarian (i.e., differences between the northern and southern Ahmarian; Kuhn et al., 2003; Marks, 2003:255; Goring-Morris and Davidzon, 2006; Tsanova et al., 2012). They are 1) the length and width of points, 2) the distal shape of blade/bladelet blanks, 3) the

Table 1

Three groups of Early Upper Palaeolithic lithic assemblages examined in this study.

Site Layer/Level/Unit References

Northern Early Ahmarian Ksar Akil XVIII—XVI (Phase 2) Bergman, 1981; Ohnuma, 1988; Ohnuma and Bergman, 1990; Williams and Bergman, 2010

Ûçagizli C—B Kuhn et al., 2003, 2009

Kebara IV—III and E Ziffer, 1978; Bar-Yosef et al., 1996; Rebollo et al., 2011; Tostevin, 2012

Southern Early Ahmarian Boker A NA Jones et al., 1983; Monigal, 2003

Boker BE 4—3 Jones et al., 1983

Nahal Nizzana XIII NA Davidzon and Goring-Morris, 2003; Goring-Morris and Davidzon, 2006

'Ein Qadis IV NA Goring-Morris, 1995

Lagama V and VII NA Bar-Yosef and Belfer, 1977

Abu Noshra I and II NA Phillips, 1988

Tor Sadaf Early UP Fox, 2003

EHLPP1 NA Coinman, 2003

Tor Hamar G—F Coinman and Henry, 1995

Tor Aeid NA Coinman and Henry, 1995

Ksar Akil Phase 4 group Ksar Akil X—IX (Phase 4) Bergman, 1981; Ohnuma and Bergman, 1990; Williams and Bergman, 2010

Wadi Kharar 16R NA This paper

| E39°20'00"

Figure 2. Satellite image (Google Earth) of the middle Euphrates region, showing survey paths and archaeological sites, including the Upper Palaeolithic site at Wadi Kharar 16R.

dorsal scar patterns of blade/bladelet blanks, and 4) the number and location of striking platform on the core.

For the length and width of points, we collected measurement data on el-Wad points sensu lato (including Ksar Akil points and other types; Goring-Morris and Davidzon, 2006:107), whose sources are shown in Table 2. We plotted mean values of length and width of points (except for Kebara E that uses median values) for each assemblage. For statistical comparison among the three groups of assemblages, we used the mean/median values of each assemblage and used t-tests in IBM SPSS 20.0 to compare the different groups.

For the analysis of the distal shape of blade/bladelet blanks, we collected data on the frequency of the blunt form and the pointed form of blades/bladelets and showed their relative frequency. We compared the occurrences of the blunt and pointed forms among the three groups of assemblages and calculated the statistical significance of the difference between the groups by Fisher's Exact Test using IBM SPSS 20.0 Statistics.

For the analysis of the dorsal scar patterns of blade/bladelet blanks, we collected data on the frequency of the uni-directional pattern and the bi-directional pattern and showed their relative

frequency. The occurrences of the uni-directional and bi-directional scar patterns were statistically compared between the different groups by Fisher's Exact Test using IBM SPSS 20.0 Statistics.

For the last attribute (i.e., the number and location of striking platform on the core), we collected data on the frequency of the single platform core and the opposed/opposite platform core and showed their relative frequency. We compared the occurrences of the two types of cores among the three groups and calculated the statistical significance of the difference between the groups by Fisher's Exact Test using IBM SPSS 20.0 Statistics.

Radiocarbon dates

In discussing the analytical results of the above lithic attributes, we refer to the chronology of the Early Ahmarian and the Proto-aurignacian assemblages. For this purpose, we used previously published data on radiocarbon ages (see Table 7 for sources) and also added a single new radiocarbon age for Wadi Kharar 16R (SOM Section 2). The dates for Early Ahmarian-related assemblages were selected according to the research background described above. We

Figure 3. Retouched tools from Wadi Kharar 16R (1—16, 20 from Area 1; 17—19 from Area 2). 1—2: El-Wad points; 3—6: Retouched bladelets; 7—9: End scrapers on blade; 10—11: Double end scrapers; 12,20: Lateral carinated scrapers; 13: Burin on natural surface, made on a crested flake; 14,17: Dihedral burin with multiple facets; 15: Transversal burin with multiple facets; 16: Transversal burin on lateral notch with multiple facets; 18: End scraper on flake; 19: Double dihedral burin.

selected the Protoaurignacian dates primarily according to the list in Banks et al. (2013b), although we also included marine shell dates (Douka et al., 2012) as well as the results from Wood et al. (2014), which were published after Banks et al. (2013b). The original sources of the collected data are shown in Table 7. For the discussion of chronological relationships among lithic assemblages, we calibrated the radiocarbon ages from terrestrial and marine

samples by lntCal13 and Marine13, respectively, using the OxCal program version 4.2 (Bronk Ramsey, 2009).

In presenting the radiocarbon data, we explicitly note the information on sample materials (e.g., charcoal, bone, and marine shell), the pretreatment methods (e.g., Acid-Based-Acid, Acid-Base-Oxidation and Stepped Combustion, and Ultrafiltration), and the measurement methods (e.g., AMS, gas proportional counting, and

liquid scintillation counting). The techniques of radiocarbon measurement have developed rapidly in recent years with greater precision and accuracy of ages, and it is becoming difficult to draw reliable interpretations from chronological data without consideration of the methodological background (Douka et al., 2013), such as the ABOx-SC method for charcoal (Bird et al., 1999), the ultrafiltration method for bones (Bronk Ramsey et al., 2004), and the CarDS method for shells (Douka et al., 2010, 2012), which were applied to many of the dates of the Protoaurignacian (Table 7). Recent improved pretreatments are considered to be able to reduce the contaminants. In the case of old samples of five half-lives or more, even a few weight percentages of young contaminants can affect dating results. In theory, the radiocarbon ages derived from conventional pretreatments should become older if the young contaminants are removed by the improved pretreatments.

However, there is currently no theoretical or empirical background to reliably estimate a priori the degree of influence on dating results of different pretreatments.

Results

Point size and morphology

The scatterplot in Fig. 7 shows the distribution of mean length and width of retouched points (see Table 2 for data). The points of the northern Early Ahmarian (i.e., Ksar Akil XVII and Kebara E) are larger and broader than those of assemblages belonging to the southern Early Ahmarian or the KA4 group. The points of the latter two groups vary in size, but their linear distribution indicates that a narrow form was standardized. Although the measurements of

Figure 5. Debitage from Wadi Kharar 16R (1-5, 8,10-11,19 from Area 1; 6-7, 9,12-18, 20-21 from Area 2). 1-2,4-7: Single platform cores; 3: Opposed platform core; 8-11,15: Crested or half crested pieces; 12-14,17: Blade/Bladelets; 16: Spall; 18-21: Platform rejuvenation flakes.

points from Tor Aeid deviate from this pattern, this may be due to its small sample size (n = 2; see Table 1).

The results of a t-test show that there are significant differences between the northern and southern Early Ahmarian in length

(t-value = 3.24, df = 6.10, p = 0.02), width (t-value = 5.37, df = 7, p = 0.01), and the ratio of length to width (t-value = -3.00, df = 7, p = 0.02) of points, while there are no significant differences between the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA4 group in length

Figure 6. Debitage from Wadi Kharar 16R (1—3, 5—6 from Area 1; 4, 7 from Area 2). 1—4, 7: Single platform cores; 5—6: Crested pieces.

(t-value = 2.11, df = 7, p = 0.07), width (t-value = 1.29, df = 7, p = 0.24), and the ratio of length to width (t-value = -0.38, df = 7, p = 0.72) of points. A significant difference between the northern Early Ahmarian and the KA4 group is indicated in width (t-value = 63.06, df = 1.47, p = 0.002) of points.

The dimensional difference in points between the northern Early Ahmarian and the KA4 group is also discernible in the cross-sectional area of the point tip. Shea (2006) compared the value of the tip cross-sectional area (0.5 x maximum width x maximum thickness of a point) among various Levantine Upper Palaeolithic point types, including unifacial points, Ksar Akil points, backed points, obliquely-truncated points, and el-Wad points from Ksar Akil and Uçagizli. All of these point types are from assemblages of the northern Early Ahmarian (partly from earlier Ksar Akil Phase 1),

except for el-Wad points from Ksar Akil XII—IX, which include assemblages of Phase 4 (i.e., Ksar Akil X—IX). Notably, the latter point type (i.e., el-Wad points from Ksar Akil XII—IX) shows distinctively smaller values of the tip cross-sectional area than the former (see Table 5 and Figure 8 in Shea, 2006) that characterize the northern Early Ahmarian.

Distal morphology of blades/bladelets

Table 3 shows the relative frequency of the blunt versus pointed distal form of debitage (including blades and flakes) from the Ksar Akil levels corresponding with the northern Early Ahmarian (XVIII—XVI) and Phase 4 (X—IX), in addition to the data on blades from Boker A that belong to the southern Early Ahmarian. The blunt

Table 2

Sample size and references for the dimensional comparison (Fig. 7) of points from the assemblages examined in this study.

Sample size References

Northern Early Ahmarian Kebara E El-Wad and Chatelperron-like points (n = 78)a Ziffer, 1978

Ksar Akil XVII Ksar Akil points (n = 75) Bergman, 1981

Southern Early Ahmarian Tor Sadaf Early UP El-Wad points (n = 20 for length, n = 152 for width) Fox, 2003:93

Boker A El-Wad points (n = 18) Jones et al., 1983:301

Boker BE IV Points and backed pieces (n = ca. 10) Jones et al., 1983:310—12

Lagama VII El-Wad points (n = 182 for length, n = 186 for width) Bar-Yosef and Belfer, 1977:47

EHLPP1 El-Wad points (n = 3 for length, n = 52 for width) Coinman, 2003:166

Tor Hamar G-F El-Wad points (n = 10) Coinman and Henry, 1995:168

Tor Aeid El-Wad points (n = 2) Coinman and Henry, 1995:177

Ksar Akil Phase 4 group Ksar Akil X El-Wad points (n = 36) Bergman, 1981

Wadi Kharar 16R El-Wad points (n = 1 for length, n = 2 for width) This study

a Median length and width.

Boker A

Tor Hamar G-F о Ksar Akil XVII °o Kebara E

Lagama VII о о Boker BE L4

Tor Sadaf Early UP

EHLPP1 о о Wadi Kharar 16R Tor Aeid о

Ksar Akil X о

i-1-1-г

6.00 8.00 10.00 12.00 14.00 16.00

Width (mm)

Figure 7. Scatterplot showing mean length and width of points from the assemblages listed in Table 2.

form occurs most frequently in the northern Early Ahmarian levels at Ksar Akil, while it is partly replaced by the pointed form in Phase 4. The relative frequency of the blunt versus pointed distal form in the northern Early Ahmarian differs significantly from the southern Early Ahmarian and Ksar Akil Phase 4 (p < 0.01 for the comparisons between the northern and southern Early Ahmarian and between the northern Ahmarian and Ksar Akil Phase 4).

The pointed distal end occurs frequently in the blades from Boker A. This pattern has also been noted by Monigal (2003) and is consistent with the observations by Davidzon and Goring-Morris

(2003) on refitted lithic artifacts from Nahal Nizzana XIII. They note that "all knapping sequences were primarily focuses upon the production of thin, elongate symmetrical and convergent blade/let blanks" (Goring-Morris and Davidzon, 2006:100). The selection of already pointed bladelet blanks ("suitable for modification into el-Wad points" sensu Goring-Morris and Davidzon, 2006:100) does not require invasive retouch or a greater degree of modification to manufacture points, and thus results in the dominance of fine, marginal retouch in the southern Early Ahmarian. Instead, invasive or a greater degree of retouch is necessary (e.g., pointes a face plane and obliquely truncated points) to make blunt ends of blanks pointed in the northern Early Ahmarian (Bergman, 1981; Ohnuma, 1988; Kuhn et al., 2003).

The occurrence of the blunt versus pointed distal shape also differs significantly between Ksar Akil X—IX (Phase 4) and Boker A (p < 0.01). However, this difference may be due to the difference in their samples. While only blades are included for Boker A, both blades and flakes are included in the Ksar Akil samples. Because the production of pointed blades is the particular ("predetermined") aim in core reduction in the southern Early Ahmarian (Goring-Morris and Davidzon, 2006), the percentage of the pointed form is likely inflated for the Boker A samples in comparison with the Ksar Akil samples, which also include flakes removed in more varied situations, such as initial core preparation and core maintenance.

Dorsal scar patterns of blades/bladelets

Table 4 shows the relative frequencies of uni-directional and bidirectional dorsal scar patterns of blades/bladelets. The results show that the bi-directional scar pattern occurs more frequently in the northern Early Ahmarian assemblages than in those of the southern Early Ahmarian and the Ksar Akil Phase 4 group. The

Table 3

Relative frequencies of blunt and pointed forms of distal ends of debitage (Ksar Akil) or blades (Boker A), demonstrating the more frequent occurrence of the blunt form in the northern Early Ahmarian assemblages.

Blunt Pointed Total References

Northern Early Ahmarian Ksar Akil XVIII (n = 152) 89% 11% 100% Ohnuma, 1988:215

Ksar Akil XVII (n = 377) 89% 11% 100% Ohnuma, 1988:215

Ksar Akil XVI (n = 185) 94% 6% 100% Ohnuma, 1988:215

Southern Early Ahmarian Boker A (n = 241)a 53% 47% 100% Jones et al., 1983:286

Ksar Akil Phase 4 Ksar Akil X 8.65 (n = 359) 65% 35% 100% Ohnuma and Bergman, 1990:130

Ksar Akil X 8.4 (n = 231) 60% 40% 100% Ohnuma and Bergman, 1990:130

Ksar Akil X 8.1 (n = 321) 66% 34% 100% Ohnuma and Bergman, 1990:130

Ksar Akil IX 7.75 (n = 221) 72% 28% 100% Ohnuma and Bergman, 1990:130

Ksar Akil IX 7.65 (n = 77) 71% 29% 100% Ohnuma and Bergman, 1990:130

Ksar Akil IX 7.25 (n = 174) 64% 36% 100% Ohnuma and Bergman, 1990:130

a This sample size is for blades with blunt or pointed tips. We calculated the number from the total sample size of complete blades (n = 281) shown in Table 9-4 of Jones et al. (1983).

Table 4

Relative frequencies of uni- and bi-directional dorsal scar patterns of blades/bladelets from the assemblages examined in this study, demonstrating the greater frequencies of bi-directional patterns in the northern Early Ahmarian

Uni-directional Bi-directional Total Reference

Northern Early Ahmarian Ksar Akil XVIII (n = 111) 36% 64% 100% Ohnuma, 1988:140

Ksar Akil XVII (n = 281) 33% 67% 100% Ohnuma, 1988:154

Kebara IV (n = 206)a 61% 39% 100% Tostevin, 2012:344

Kebara III (n = 273)a 51% 49% 100% Tostevin, 2012:352

Southern Early Ahmarian Boker A(n = 281) 91% 9% 100% Jones et al., 1983:287

Boker BE III (n = 94) 91% 9% 100% Jones et al., 1983:303

Tor Hamar G-F (n = 257) 88% 12% 100% Coinman and Henry, 1995:204

Tor Aeid (n = 106) 97% 3% 100% Coinman and Henry, 1995:207

Ksar Akil Phase 4 group Ksar Akil X 8.65 (n = 353) 98% 2% 100% Ohnuma and Bergman, 1990:131

Ksar Akil X 8.4 (n = 249) 97% 3% 100% Ohnuma and Bergman, 1990:131

Ksar Akil X 8.1 (n = 307) 97% 3% 100% Ohnuma and Bergman, 1990:131

Ksar Akil IX 7.75 (n = 220) 95% 5% 100% Ohnuma and Bergman, 1990:131

Ksar Akil IX 7.65 (n = 76) 97% 3% 100% Ohnuma and Bergman, 1990:131

Ksar Akil IX 7.25 (n = 178) 99% 1% 100% Ohnuma and Bergman, 1990:131

Wadi Kharar 16R (n = 232) 99% 1% 100% This paper

a The samples from Kebara IV—III include flakes and tools in addition to blades/bladelets.

difference between the northern Early Ahmarian and each of the other two groups is statistically significant (p < 0.01).

Number and location of striking platform on the core

Table 5 shows that opposed/opposite platform cores occur more frequently in the northern Early Ahmarian, while single platform cores are dominant in the assemblages of the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA4 group. The difference between the northern Early Ahmarian and each of the other two groups is statistically significant (p < 0.01). In contrast, there is no significant difference in the frequency of the two core types between the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA4 group (p = 0.70).

Summary

The above results are summarized in Table 6. First of all, the northern Early Ahmarian differs from the other two technological groups in the size and shape of points ("el-Wad points sensu lato" in Goring-Morris and Davidzon, 2006:107) made on blades/blade-lets. The points of the northern Early Ahmarian tend to be larger and broader, while those of the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA4 group are generally smaller and narrower. Such dimensional and morphological variations of points are also associated with the variability in the patterns of retouch, although this aspect could not be quantified in our analysis. Some points of the northern Early Ahmarian are made by invasive retouch (e.g., pointes a face plane) or

Table 5

Relative frequencies of single and opposed/opposite platform cores from the assemblages examined in this study, demonstrating the greater frequencies of opposed/opposite platform cores in the northern Early Ahmarian

Single platform Opposed/Opposite platform Total References

Northern Early Ahmarian Ksar Akil XVIII (n = 22) 23% 77% 100% Ohnuma, 1988:197

Ksar Akil XVII (n = 121) 32% 68% 100% Ohnuma, 1988:197

Kebara IV (n = 24) 50% 50% 100% Tostevin, 2012:346

Kebara III (n = 62) 37% 63% 100% Tostevin, 2012:353

Kebara E (n = 63) 59% 41% 100% Ziffer, 1978

Oçagizh B-B4 (n = 34) 26% 74% 100% Kuhn et al., 2009

Southern Early Ahmarian Boker A (n = 98) 88% 12% 100% Jones et al., 1983:289

Boker BE III (n = 122) 80% 20% 100% Jones et al., 1983:306

Lagama VII (n = 73) 73% 27% 100% Bar-Yosef and Belfer, 1977:82

Lagama V (n = 54) 78% 22% 100% Bar-Yosef and Belfer, 1977:82

'Ein Qadis (n = 27) 83% 17% 100% Goring-Morris, 1995:4

Abu Noshra I (n = 34) 91% 9% 100% Phillips, 1988

Abu NoshraII (n = 11) 55% 45% 100% Phillips, 1988

Tor Hamar G-F (n = 9) 67% 33% 100% Coinman and Henry, 1995:163

Tor Aeid (n = 45) 73% 27% 100% Coinman and Henry, 1995:172

Ksar Akil Phase 4 group Wadi Kharar 16R (n = 10) 90% 10% 100% This study

Table 6

Summary of techno-typological differences that distinguish the northern Early Ahmarian from the southern Early Ahmarian and the Ksar Akil Phase 4 group.

Northern Early Ahmarian

Southern Early Ahmarian and the Ksar Akil Phase 4 group

Size and shape of points Retouch on points

Plan form of blades and

bladelets Core reduction method

Larger and broader (e.g., Ksar Akil points)

More invasive (e.g., pointes a face plane) or greater degree of

modification (e.g., obliquely truncated points) in addition to

marginal retouch (e.g., Ksar Akil points)

Blunt distal ends are dominant.

Blades/bladelets are produced by bi-directional flaking from opposed platform cores more frequently than the other groups.

Smaller and narrower (e.g., el-Wad points and backed bladelets) Marginal (e.g., el-Wad points and backed/retouched pointed bladelets)

Pointed ends occur more frequently than the northern Early Ahmarian.

A uni-directional flaking is predominantly employed for the production of blades/bladelets from single platform cores.

a greater degree of modification (e.g., obliquely truncated points) (Bergman, 1981; Ohnuma, 1988; Kuhn et al., 2003, 2009), while fine, marginal retouch is predominant in the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA4 group.

These variations in the shape, size, and retouching technology of points are probably related to differences in the blank morphology. Most blades and bladelets of the northern Early Ahmarian show blunt distal ends. In comparison, blades and bladelets of the other two groups show greater proportions of pointed ends. In addition, this difference in the blank morphology is associated with the difference in the core reduction method. The northern Early Ahmarian assemblages are characterized by the frequent employment of bi-directional flaking for the production of blades/bladelets from opposed/opposite platform cores. In contrast, the other two assemblage groups predominantly employ uni-directional flaking for the production of pointed blades/bladelets from single platform cores.

Discussion

Variability between the northern and southern Early Ahmarian

The results of the above analyses are consistent with previous studies of Early Ahmarian lithic technology and descriptions about the variability between the northern and southern Ahmarian. For example, the predominance of uni-directional flaking in the southern Early Ahmarian has been suggested by refitting studies of lithic artifacts from Boker A (Monigal, 2003) and Nahal Nizzana XIII (Davidzon and Goring-Morris, 2003). These refitting studies suggest that the employment of uni-directional convergent flaking is closely linked with the production of pointed blade/lets through the predetermination of converging blank forms on narrow removal surfaces of single platform "N-fronted" cores. In contrast, Tostevin (2012:346—353) suggested for the Kebara IV—III assemblages (the northern Early Ahmarian here) that bi-directional flaking is more frequently employed than uni-directional flaking, particularly in the early stages of core reduction.

In the report of the Kebara IV—III assemblages, Bar-Yosef et al. (1996:302) and Rebollo et al. (2011:2426) specifically refer to Ksar Akil XIX—XV (northern Early Ahmarian) as similar assemblages. Bar-Yosef et al. (1996:303) also note that the Kebara IV—III lithic artifacts are similar to the assemblages excavated by Stekelis and analyzed by Ziffer (1978). In earlier descriptions of the Kebara E assemblages (comparable to Kebara IV—III), Ziffer (1978) distinguishes "Chatelperron-like points" from el-Wad points because the former is "a bit wider" (Ziffer, 1978:279). The results of our quantitative comparison of point size (Fig. 7) confirm Ziffer's observations (regardless of the name for this point type) and also indicate that "Chatelperron-like points" of Kebara E are dimensionally similar to the Ksar Akil points that characterize the northern Early Ahmarian (Bergman, 1981; Ohnuma, 1988).

The techno-typological uniqueness of the northern Early Ahmar-ian has also been recognized by Mellars (2009) in his description of Ksar Akil XX—XIV. He notes that "these levels have been attributed to ..."Ahmarian"—though apparently deriving from the underlying "Phase A" or "Emiran" levels" (Mellars, 2009:343—344). The difference between the northern and southern Early Ahmarian is also illustrated by an anecdotal remark byJ. Phillips, who stated that, "my material doesn't look anything like this" (Bergman, 1988:224), when he visited London to compare Early Ahmarian assemblages from Ksar Akil XVII—XVI (the northern group) with his Early Ahmarian materials from the Abu Noshra basin (the southern group) (Phillips, 1988; Phillips and Gladfelter, 1989).

Although this northern versus southern distinction applies to many Early Ahmarian assemblages, as shown above, some

assemblages may show mixed features, such as Qafzeh layer E (Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen, 2004), which could not be included in our analysis due to the unavailability of necessary quantitative data. This assemblage has been suggested to show some technological characteristics of the northern Early Ahmarian, such as the employment of bi-directional flaking for producing blades/blade-lets (Goring-Morris and Davidzon, 2006). The recent report of the Qafzeh Upper Palaeolithic assemblage (Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen, 2004) indeed shows frequent occurrences of bi-polar cores in comparison with uni-polar cores (22 versus 13 pieces). Additionally, most of the illustrated blades from layer E (twelve pieces) in the report show bi-directional scar patterns, and their distal ends tend to be blunt rather than pointed. However, the authors of the Qafzeh report suggest "technological affinity of the E assemblage with the southern Ahmarian," particularly the Lagaman, on the basis of "the morphological attributes and frequency of the el-Wad points" (Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen, 2004:175). These mixed features could be explained by the site's intermediate location (Galilee) between the southern and northern Levant. In fact, Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen (2004:176) also note "a northern tinge" in the end scraper and burin categories from Qafzeh E.

Similarity between the southern Early Ahmarian and the Ksar Akil Phase 4 group

As summarized in Table 6, our analyses also indicate techno-typological similarity between the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA4 group in comparison with the northern Early Ahmarian. This result is consistent with the recent suggestion by Williams and Bergman (2010) for the technological similarity between Ksar Akil Phase 4 (levels X—IX) and the Early Ahmarian of the marginal zone (see Introduction and SOM Section 1 for background). We support this view as a result of our quantitative comparisons, including the new assemblages from Wadi Kharar 16R that closely resemble Ksar Akil Phase 4 (SOM Section 2).

This observation, however, does not immediately necessitate the inclusion of the KA4 group in the southern Early Ahmarian because the two groups could be distinguished from each other. For example, the above analysis on retouched points could indicate that the points of the KA4 group might be smaller than those of the southern Early Ahmarian (Fig. 7), although their difference is not statistically significant. The uni-directional scar pattern occurs more frequently on blades/bladelets of the KA4 group than on those of the southern Early Ahmarian (Table 4). In addition, the two groups might differ from each other in other technological differences not quantified in this paper. For example, the KA4 technology can be characterized by the production of bladelets through multiple strategies and the presence of twisted blades/bladelets like other assemblages from Ksar Akil XIII—VI (Williams and Bergman, 2010). However, these technological aspects may not be strong for the KA 4 group because the size frequency of blades/bladelets from Wadi Kharar 16R shows a uni-modal distribution (SOM Fig. 4) like the southern Early Ahmarian (Marks, 2003:254; Monigal, 2003). Moreover, the Ksar Akil Phase 4 technology is oriented towards "the production of curved or straight, rather than twisted, blades and bladelets" (Williams and Bergman, 2010:144) in comparison to other assemblages from Ksar Akil XIII—VI. The percentage of the twisted blade/bladelet is also low (19%) at Wadi Kharar 16R (SOM Section 2).

We consider it reasonable to suggest technological similarity between the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA4 group, particularly in the exploitation of single-platform cores for the production of distally pointed bladelets that are made into small, slender el-Wad points with marginal retouch. This observation indicates that lithic technology similar to the southern Early Ahmarian

existed in the northern Mediterranean and inland zones. A similar suggestion has also been made by Ploux and Soriano (2003) through their technological studies of the Upper Palaeolithic assemblages from Umm el-Tlel, inland Syria. These assemblages were not included in our analyses because they do not include el-Wad points and they are associated with radiocarbon dates slightly later than Ksar Akil Phase 4. However, they are characterized by bladelets with a straight profile produced by convergent uni-polar flaking from single platform cores like the southern Ahmarian.

Chronological relations among the northern and southern Early Ahmarian and the Ksar Akil Phase 4 group

Here we discuss what the above technological comparisons indicate regarding chronological and geographic patterns of the early Upper Palaeolithic technology in the Levant. First, the strati-graphic relationship between the northern Early Ahmarian and the KA 4 group is an important chronological benchmark. Ksar Akil Phase 4 (levels X-IX) is stratigraphically located above Ksar Akil Phase 2 (levels XX-XVI, representing the northern Early Ahmarian). The two phases are separated by ca. two meters of deposits, including "Stony Complex 2" (XV), a major occupational hiatus (XIV), and Phase 3 assemblages (XIII— XI) (Williams and Bergman, 2010). According to a recent chronological study of Ksar Akil levels by Douka et al. (2013), the end boundary of the Early Ahmarian (Phase 2) is estimated at ~40.1 -39.5 ka cal BP (Model 1) or 39-37.5 ka cal BP (Model 2). Their models also indicate that the span of Stony Complex 2 (overlying the Early Ahmarian levels) is close to Heinrich Event 4 (around 40-38 ka cal BP). Located above these layers, Phase 3 has been estimated to start at 40.0-39.3 ka cal BP (Model 1) or 38.1-34.6 ka cal BP (Douka et al., 2013:e72931). For the subsequent Phase 4, Douka et al. (2013) reported two AMS dates on N. gibbosulus (30,360 ± 140 BP: 0xA-20023; 34,550 ± 250 BP: OxA-25585), which are 34.6-34.1 ka cal BP and 39.4-38.7 cal BP, respectively. As mentioned earlier, the spread of these dates encompasses a previously obtained date on charcoal (32,000 ± 1500: MC-1192 calibrated to 38-35 ka cal BP) from Tixier's Phase VII (corresponding with Phase 4) and a newly obtained AMS date on charcoal (33,130 ± 160 BP: IAAA-103837 calibrated to 37.7-36.8 ka cal BP) from Wadi Kharar 16R. These chrono-stratigraphic records suggest that the KA4 group, which is technologically similar to the southern Early Ahmarian, occurred in the northern Levant sometime during ca. 39-34 ka cal BP after the northern Early Ahmarian and probably Heinrich Event 4 (if it corresponds with Stony Complex 2). Additionally, Ksar Akil Phase 4 is overlain by Phase 5 levels (vIII-VII) that show "classic" Levantine Aurignacian features in lithic and bone industry (Goring-Morris and Belfer-Cohen, 2006; Williams and Bergman, 2010).

Radiocarbon dates from the northern Ahmarian layers at Ü^agizk (C-B according to Kuhn et al., 2009) range roughly between 34,000 and 29,000 BP (ca. 40-33 ka cal BP), which appear younger than the estimates for the Early Ahmarian at Ksar Akil (see above). This apparent discrepancy may be explained by possible underestimation for the Ü^agizk samples "by at least 3500-5000 years," as suggested by the investigators (Kuhn et al., 2009:91), possibly due to the difference in the pretreatment method (ABA instead of ABOx-SC or CarDS) or post-depositional processes.

Another set of radiocarbon dates for the northern Early Ahmarian have been reported from Kebara Units VI-III (Bar-Yosef et al., 1996; Rebollo et al., 2011). Rebollo et al. (2011:2431) propose that the earliest appearance of the Kebara VI-III assemblages is between 47 and 46 ka cal BP. These dates for the Early Ahmarian at Kebara precede the KA4 group and thus are not inconsistent with their temporal relationship suggested above. However, most of the dates from Kebara VI-III are considerably older than the estimates

for the Early Ahmarian layers at Ksar Akil and U^agizk, and they have recently been critically assessed by considering the potential effects of the complicated site-formation processes between the Mousterian (Unit V) and Upper Palaeolithic deposits (Units IV—III) (Douka et al., 2013; Zilhao, 2013). We take into account this ongoing issue regarding the Kebara dates in the following discussion.

In comparison with the northern Levant, it is more difficult to define a chronological range of the southern Early Ahmarian assemblages because most of them have been recovered from small open-air sites with limited occurrence of stratigraphic sequences or datable samples. In addition, thus far no dates have been provided with rigorous pretreatment methods (e.g., ABOx-SC), and many of the dates were measured before the application of AMS (Table 7; Fig. 8). This methodological background may explain the large deviations of dates that wrap the chronological range of the northern Early Ahmarian and the KA4 group except for the controversially old dates for Kebara IV—III.

For example, the dates from Abu Noshra II range widely between 45 and 31 ka cal BP (68.2% probability). However, if only AMS dates are counted, this range reduces to 39.4—36.8 ka cal BP, which largely overlaps with the distribution of radiocarbon dates of the KA4 group in the north (ca. 39—34 ka cal BP). This chronological correspondence is notably associated with the lithic technological similarity between the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA4 group (Table 6). This observation suggests that we need more precise dating results to determine the chronological relationship of the southern Early Ahmarian to the northern traditions. For example, although currently available dates for the southern Early Ahmarian include the deviation range that overlaps with the northern Early Ahmarian, arguments for their contemporaneity needs to be verified by dating additional samples from southern Ahmarian sites with recent pretreatment/measurement methods.

Alternative hypotheses for the chronological relationship between the southern and northern Early Ahmarian

As a result of the above discussions on the lithic technological comparisons between the southern and northern Levant (Table 6), as well as currently available chronological data (Table 7), we consider two alternative hypotheses for the chronological relationship between the southern Early Ahmarian and the northern traditions (Fig. 9).

The first scenario (Fig. 9: Hypothesis A) is the co-existence of the southern and northern Early Ahmarian, as currently postulated by many researchers. After this period of their co-existence, other technological entities (Ksar Akil Phase 3 and the KA4 group) occurred in the northern Levant, while the Early Ahmarian continued in the south. Given the technological similarity between the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA4 group, this scenario means that lithic technology in the northern Levant became similar to that of the southern Levantine origin. Although this technological homogenization might have been caused by convergent technological evolution, it may well have been caused by the northern spread of southern Early Ahmarian populations or by the northern inhabitants' adoption of the southern technology given the geographic proximity between the northern and southern Levant. Whichever the case, this technological change in the north did not occur continuously or gradually, as indicated by the stratigraphic separation of Ksar Akil Phase 4 from Phase 2 (the northern Early Ahmarian) by ca. two meters of deposits, including "Stony Complex 2" (XV), a major occupational hiatus (XIV), and Phase 3 assemblages (XIII—XI) (Williams and Bergman, 2010). Ksar Akil Phase 3 (layers XIII—XI) is similar to Phase 4 in the frequent occurrences of single-platform cores but is distinct in its higher proportions of twisted blanks, with blades more numerous than bladelets (Ohnuma and

Table 7

Entity name

Site name

Layer or Locus name

Lab. code

Sample typea Pretreatment Measurement methodb methodc

4C age (BP)

Calibrated date (cal BP)

References

68.2% Prob.

95.4% Prob.

Northern Early Kebara Ahmarian

Ksar Akil

Oçagizh

Ksar Akil Phase Ksar Akil 4 group

E (IV) Pta-5141 Charcoal C GPC 43,700 ± 1800 49,000 -

Pta-5002 Charcoal C GPC 42,500 ± 1800 48,000 -

Pta-4987 Charcoal C GPC 42,100 ± 2100 48,000 -

IV OxA-X-2264-29 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS 40,500 ± 1200 45,000 -

OxA-V-2269-35 Charcoal C AMS 36,110 ± 330 41,200 -

0xA-18801 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS 35,160 ± 310 40,200 -

0xA-18402 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS 40,300 ± 550 44,400 -

OxA-V-2253-45 Charcoal C AMS 43,600 ± 600 47,500 -

OxA-18459 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS 40,400 ± 400 44,400 -

OxA-V-2253-44 Charcoal C AMS 41,650 ± 450 45,500 -

III OxA-X-2222-32 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS 41,400 ± 1200 46,000 -

OxA-V-2220-41 Charcoal C AMS 42,850 ± 550 46,700 -

OxA-18791 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS 42,800 ± 650 46,700 -

OxA-V-2220-42 Charcoal C AMS 42,600 ± 500 46,400 -

OxA-18458 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS 41,050 ± 450 45,100 -

OxA-V-2253-42 Charcoal C AMS 40,600 ± 400 44,600 -

OxA-V-2253-43 Charcoal C AMS 40,500 ± 400 44,500 -

E (III) OxA-3977 Charcoal C AMS >43,800 >46,600

OxA-3976 Charcoal C AMS 43,500 ± 2200 49,000 -

Gif-TAN-90037 Charcoal C AMS >42,500 >45,500

Gif-TAN-90168 Charcoal C AMS >41,700 >44,900

Pta-4267 Charcoal C GPC 36,100 ± 1100 42,000 -

OxA-1567 Charcoal C AMS 35,600 ± 1600 42,000 -

XX OxA-20879 Marine shell CarDS AMS 35,010 ± 240 39,400 -

XIX OxA-X-2361-14 Marine shell CarDS AMS 32,960 ± 160 36,700 -

OxA-22664 Marine shell CarDS AMS 35,510 ± 240 40,000 -

XVIII OxA-20488 Marine shell CarDS AMS 34,230 ± 210 38,700 -

OxA-25653 Marine shell CarDS AMS 34,830 ± 240 39,200 -

OxA-X-2338-8 Marine shell CarDS AMS 33,760 ± 210 38,200 -

XVII OxA-20486 Marine shell CarDS AMS 35,780 ± 240 40,300 -

OxA-25652 Marine shell CarDS AMS 33,300 ± 230 37,300 -

OxA-20487 Marine shell CarDS AMS 33,930 ± 220 38,400 -

OxA-22269 Marine shell CarDS AMS 35,390 ± 250 39,900 -

OxA-20877 Marine shell CarDS AMS 36,270 ± 240 40,900 -

OxA-X-2342-57 Marine shell CarDS AMS 28,130 ± 110 31,600 -

XVI OxA-22665 Marine shell CarDS AMS 36,040 ± 240 40,600 -

C AA-42321 Charcoal C AMS 29,060 ± 330 33,700 -

B1-3 AA-42317 Marine shell C AMS 34,580 ± 620 39,600 -

AA-38021 Marine shell C AMS 32,670 ± 760 37,300 -

AA-42320 Marine shell C AMS 31,900 ± 450 35,900 -

AA-38203 Marine shell C AMS 29,130 ± 380 33,500 -

Tixier's VII MC-1192 Charcoal C GPC 32,000 ± 1500 38,000 -

X OxA-25585 Marine shell CarDS AMS 34,550 ± 250 38,900 -

46,000 >45,000 44,000 50,000 -44,000 50,000 -43,000 47,000 -40,300 41,500 -

39,300 40,500 -43,300 45,000 46,100 48,400 -

43,500 44,800 -44,600 46,000

44,000 48,000 45,500 47,400

45,400 47,600 -45,300 47,000 -

44,100 45,500 -43,700 45,000 -43,600 44,900 -

>46,400 45,000 >44,000 >45,300 >44,700 40,000 43,000 -39,000 44,000 -

38,700 36,200 39,300 38,000 38,600 37,200 39,600 36,400 37,600 39,100 40,100 31,300 39,900 32,800 37,900 35,300 34,900 32,200 35,000

39,800

37,000

40,300

38,900

39,600

38,400

40,600

37,900

38,600

40,200

41,200

31,800 -

40,900

34,000

40,200

38,500

36,400

33,700

41,000 -

44,000 43,000 42,000 40,000

38,900 42,900 45,600

43,200 44,200

43,000 45,000

44,900 44,900

43,600 43,300 43,200

39,000 37,000

38,500 36,000 39,000 37,600 38,400 36,800 39,300 36,200 37,000 38,800 39,900 31,200 39,600 32,300 36,900 34,800 34,500 31,700 34,000

OxA-X-2264-29 and V-2269-35 are from the same sample (Sample name: R19alV_4). OxA-18402, 18801 and V-2253-45 are from the same sample (Sample name: R19alV_2). OxA-18459 and V-2253-44 are from the same sample (Sample name: R17alV). OxA-X-2222-32 and V-2220-41 are from a same sample (Sample name: R16clllb_1).

OxA-18791 and V-2220-42 are from the same sample (Sample name: R17alllb,f). OxA-18458, V-2253-42 and V-2253-43 are from the same sample (Sample name: R16clllb_2).

Bar-Yosefet al., 1996 Bar-Yosefet al., 1996 Bar-Yosefet al., 1996 Rebollo et al., 2011

Rebollo et al., 2011

Rebollo et al., 2011

Rebollo et al., 2011

Rebollo et al., 2011

Rebollo et al., 2011

Correction by estimated 5 C values.

No correction for isotopic fractionation

38,400 39,400 - 38,100

Housley, 1994 Housley, 1994 Bar-Yosef et al., 1996 Bar-Yosef et al., 1996 Bar-Yosef et al., 1996 Hedges et al., 1990

Douka et al., 2013 Douka et al., 2013 Douka et al., 2013 Douka et al., 2013 Douka et al., 2013 Douka et al., 2013 Douka et al., 2013 Douka et al., 2013 Douka et al., 2013 Douka et al., 2013 Douka et al., 2013 Douka et al., 2013 Douka et al., 2013 Kuhn et al., 2009 Kuhn et al., 2009 Kuhn et al., 2009 Kuhn et al., 2009 Kuhn et al., 2009 Mellars and Tixier, 1989

Douka et al., 2013 (continued on next page)

Table 7 (continued)

Entity name

Ahmarian

Site name Layer or Locus name Lab. code Sample type3 Pretreatment methodb Measuren methoc

IX OxA-20023 Marine shell CarDS AMS

Wadi Kharar 16R Area 2 IAAA-103837 Charcoal C AMS

Qafzeh 11 GifA-97338 Charcoal C AMS

AA-27290 Charcoal C AMS

Abu Noshra II SMU-2122 Charcoal C LSC

ETH-3076 Charcoal C AMS

ETH-3075 Charcoal C AMS

SMU-1762 Charcoal C LSC

SMU-1772 Charcoal C LSC

Abu Noshra VI SMU-2371 Charcoal C LSC

Abu Noshra I SMU-2254 Charcoal C LSC

SMU-2007 Charcoal C LSC

SMU-1824 Charcoal C LSC

B-13,898 Charcoal C GPC

B-13897 Sediment C GPC

Boker A 1 SMU-578 Charcoal C LSC

Lagama VII SMU-172 Charcoal C LSC

SMU-185 Charcoal C LSC

Boker BE III SMU-188 Charcoal C LSC

SMU-229 Charcoal C LSC

SMU-228 Charcoal C LSC

II SMU-227 Charcoal C LSC

SMU-565 Charcoal C LSC

Thalab al-Buhayla Locus E Beta-129817 Charcoal C AMS

Thalab al-Buhayla Locus C Beta-129818 Charcoal C AMS

Arbreda H AA-3779 Charcoal C AMS

AA-3780 Charcoal C AMS

AA-3781 Charcoal c AMS

AA-3782 Charcoal c AMS

OxA-3730 Bone c AMS

SANU-29018 Bone UF AMS

SANU-29017 Bone UF AMS

SANU-29019 Bone UF AMS

SANU-29016 Bone UF AMS

SANU-29014 Bone UF AMS

OxA-21674 Bone UF AMS

OxA-21665 Bone UF AMS

OxA-21784 Bone UF AMS

OxA-21664 Bone UF AMS

Grotte du Renne VII OxA-21569 Bone UF AMS

OxA-21682 Bone UF AMS

OxA-21570 Bone UF AMS

OxA-21572 Bone UF AMS

OxA-21571 Bone UF AMS

Les Cottés MAMS-10808 Bone UF AMS

OxA-V-2382-47 Bone UF AMS

Esquicho-Grapaou SLC lb MC-2161 Charcoal C GPC

Fumane A2 OxA-19584 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS

OxA-17569 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS

OxA-17570 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS

OxA-19412 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS

4C age (BP) Calibrated date (cal BP) Note References

68.2% Prob. 95.4% Prob.

30,360 ± 140 34,200 - 33,800 34,400 - 33,700 Douka et al., 2013

33,130 + 160 37,700 - 36,800 38,100 - 36,600 This study

31,520 + 490 36,000 - 34,900 36,500 - 34,500 Bar-Yosef and

Belfer-Cohen, 2004

29,320 + 360 33,900 - 33,100 34,200 - 32,600 Bar-Yosef and

Belfer-Cohen, 2004

38,924 + 1529 44,000 - 42,000 47,000 - 41,000 Phillips and

Gladfelter, 1989

33,940 + 790 39,400 - 37,200 40,300 - 36,300 Phillips, 1988

33,470 + 680 38,600 - 36,800 39,500 - 36,100 Phillips, 1994

31,585 + 2275 39,000 - 34,000 43,000 - 31,000 Phillips, 1988

31,023 + 8537 45,000 - 31,000 >28,500 Phillips, 1988

31,100 + 300 35,400 - 34,600 35,700 - 34,400 Phillips, 1994

35,824 + 1090 42,000 - 39,000 43,000 - 38,000 Phillips, 1994

35,805 + 1520 42,000 - 39,000 44,000 - 37,000 Phillips, 1988

31,330 + 2880 40,000 - 33,000 46,000 - 31,000 Phillips, 1994

29,580 + 1610 35,000 - 32,000 38,000 - 31,000 Lab. code B-13198? Phillips, 1988

25,950 + 360 30,700 - 29,700 31,000 - 29,300 Lab. code B-13197? Phillips, 1994

37,920 + 2810 45,000 - 40,000 50,000 - 39,000 Weinstein, 1984

34,170 + 3670 43,000 - 35,000 49,000 - 34,000 No correction for isotopic Haas and Haynes,

fractionation 1975

31,210 + 2780 40,000 - 33,000 45,000 - 31,000 No correction for isotopic Haas and Haynes,

fractionation 1975

27,450 + 1300 33,000 - 31,000 35,000 - 29,000 Marks, 1983

26,660 + 500 31,300 - 30,300 31,600 - 29,600 Marks, 1983

26,030 + 600 30,900 - 29,600 31,200 - 28,900 Marks, 1983

26,950 + 520 31,500 - 30,600 32,200 - 29,800 Marks, 1983

24,630 + 390 29,200 - 28,200 29,600 - 27,800 Marks, 1983

24,900 + 130 29,100 - 28,700 29,400 - 28,600 Coinman, 2003

25,680 + 100 30,100 - 29,500 30,300 - 29,400 Coinman, 2003

37,700 + 1000 43,000 - 41,000 44,000 - 40,000 Straus, 1993

37,700 + 1000 43,000 - 41,000 44,000 - 40,000 Straus, 1993

39,900 + 1300 45,000 - 43,000 47,000 - 42,000 Straus, 1993

38,700 + 1200 44,000 - 42,000 45,000 - 41,000 Straus, 1993

35,480 + 820 41,000 - 39,200 41,800 - 38,500 Zilhao, 2006

32,100 + 540 36,700 - 35,300 37,700 - 34,800 Wood et al., 2014

34,800 + 760 40,300 - 38,500 41,300 - 37,700 Wood et al., 2014

35,900 + 860 41,500 - 39,700 42,100 - 38,800 Wood et al., 2014

35,700 + 830 41,300 - 39,500 41,900 - 38,700 Wood et al., 2014

31,900 + 530 36,400 - 35,100 37,300 - 34,700 Wood et al., 2014

33,800 + 550 38,900 - 37,300 39,600 - 36,600 Wood et al., 2014

35,850 + 700 41,300 - 39,700 41,900 - 39,000 Wood et al., 2014

36,000 + 700 41,400 - 39,900 42,000 - 39,200 Wood et al., 2014

35,900 + 650 41,300 - 39,800 41,800 - 39,100 Wood et al., 2014

36,500 + 1300 42,000 - 40,000 44,000 - 39,000 Higham et al., 2010

35,000 + 650 40,300 - 38,800 41,200 - 38,300 Higham et al., 2010

34,600 + 800 40,200 - 38,300 41,200 - 37,100 Higham et al., 2010

34,600 + 750 40,100 - 38,300 41,100 - 37,300 Higham et al., 2010

34,050 + 750 39,600 - 37,500 40,300 - 36,500 Higham et al., 2010

35,150 + 280 40,100 - 39,300 40,400 - 38,900 Talamo et al., 2012

34,430 + 180 39,200 - 38,600 39,500 - 38,500 Talamo et al., 2012

34,540 + 2000 41,000 - 37,000 44,000 - 35,000 Evin et al., 1983

35,850 + 310 40,900 - 40,100 41,300 - 39,700 Higham et al., 2009

35,640 + 220 40,600 - 39,900 40,900 - 39,700 Higham et al., 2009

35,180 + 220 40,100 - 39,400 40,400 - 39,100 Higham et al., 2009

34,940 + 280 39,900 - 39,100 40,200 - 38,700 Higham et al., 2009

OxA-19414 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS 34,180 ± 270 39,000 - 38,400 39,500 - 38,100 Higham et al., 2009

Isturitz C 4c4 AA-69184 Bone C AMS 40,200 ± 3600 48,000 - 42,000 >40,600 Szmidt et al., 2010b

AA-69183 Bone C AMS 37,580 ± 780 42,600 - 41,400 43,200 - 40,600 Szmidt et al., 2010b

AA-69180 Bone C AMS 37,300 ± 1800 43,000 - 40,000 46,000 - 39,000 Szmidt et al., 2010b

AA-69179 Bone C AMS 37,000 ± 1600 43,000 - 40,000 45,000 - 39,000 Szmidt et al., 2010b

AA-69185 Bone C AMS 36,990 ± 720 42,200 - 40,900 42,700 - 40,200 Szmidt et al., 2010b

AA-69181 Bone C AMS 36,800 ± 860 42,100 - 40,500 42,800 - 39,700 Szmidt et al., 2010b

4d GifA-98232 Charcoal C AMS 36,510 ± 610 41,700 - 40,500 42,200 - 39,900 Szmidt et al., 2010b

GifA-98233 Charcoal C AMS 34,630 ± 560 39,800 - 38,500 40,700 - 37,900 Szmidt et al., 2010b

Kozarnika VII GifA-99706 Charcoal C AMS 36,200 ± 540 41,400 - 40,300 41,900 - 39,700 Tsanova, 2008

GifA-101050 Charcoal C AMS 37,170 ± 700 42,300 - 41,100 42,800 - 40,400 Tsanova, 2008

Krems-Hundsteig KN-654 Charcoal C GPC 35,500 ± 2000 42,000 - 38,000 45,000 - 36,000 Hahn, 1977

La Mère Clochette OxA-19622 Bone C AMS 35,460 ± 250 40,400 - 39,700 40,800 - 39,400 Szmidt et al., 2010a

Riparo Mochi OxA-3588 Charcoal C AMS 32,280 ± 580 37,000 - 35,400 38,100 - 35,000 Hedges et al., 1994

OxA-3589 Charcoal C AMS 33,400 ± 750 38,600 - 36,600 39,600 - 35,900 Hedges et al., 1994

OxA-3590 Charcoal C AMS 34,680 ± 760 40,200 - 38,400 41,200 - 37,400 Hedges et al., 1994

OxA-3591 Charcoal C AMS 35,700 ± 850 41,300 - 39,400 42,000 - 38,600 Hedges et al., 1994

OxA-3592 Charcoal C AMS 34,870 ± 800 40,400 - 38,500 41,400 - 37,700 Hedges et al., 1994

Rome-2 Charcoal C LSC 37,400 ± 1300 43,000 - 41,000 45,000 - 40,000 Bietti et al., 2004

OxA-20360 Marine shell CarDS AMS 31,960 ± 150 35,700 - 35,200 35,900 - 35,000 Douka et al., 2012

0xA-19802 Marine shell CarDS AMS 30,770 ± 150 34,600 - 34,100 34,700 - 34,000 Douka et al., 2012

OxA-20630 Marine shell CarDS AMS 33,180 ± 230 37,100 - 36,300 37,700 - 36,100 Douka et al., 2012

0xA-19290 Marine shell CarDS AMS 36,750 ± 210 41,300 - 40,700 41,500 - 40,400 Douka et al., 2012

OxA-19569 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS 36,350 ± 260 41,400 - 40,700 41,600 - 40,300 Douka et al., 2012

Morin 8 GifA-96263 C AMS 36,590 ± 770 41,900 - 40,400 42,500 - 39,700 Maíllo Fernández

et al., 2001

Paglicci 24b1 Utc? C AMS 34,000 ± 900 39,600 - 37,200 40,700 - 36,200 Palma di Cesnola, 1 ooo

Serino Cult. level OxA-21869 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS 34,830 ± 330 39,800 - 38,900 40,200 - 38,600 1999 Wood et al., 2012

OxA-22061 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS 34,300 ± 1100 40,000 - 37,000 41,000 - 36,000 Wood et al., 2012

OxA-21870 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS 34,530 ± 310 39,400 - 38,600 39,800 - 38,400 Wood et al., 2012

OxA-22626 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS 34,760 ± 360 39,700 - 38,800 40,200 - 38,500 Wood et al., 2012

OxA-22583 Charcoal ABOx-SC AMS 34,400 ± 450 39,500 - 38,400 40,100 - 37,900 Wood et al., 2012

La Vina Xlll-lower Ly-6390 Charcoal C LSC 36,500 ± 750 41,800 - 40,400 42,400 - 39,600 Fortea Párez, 1999

a Sample type information has been classified into four basic groups (i.e., charcoal, bone, sediment, marine shell) on the basis of published original information.

b C: Conventional pretreatment (i.e., Acid-Base-Acid for charcoal, Collagen extraction for bone, etc.), ABOx-SC: Acid-Base-Oxidation and Stepped Combustion, CarDS: Carbonates Density Separation, UF: Ultrafiltration. c AMS: accelerator mass spectrometry, GPC: gas proportional counting, LSC: liquid scintillation counting.

OxCal v4.2.3 Bronk Ramsay (2013); r5

Kebara

Pta-5141 Pta-5002 Pta-4987 OxA-X-2264-29 OxA-V-2269-35 OxA-18801 OxA-18402 OxA-V-2253-45 OxA-18459 OxA-V-2253-44 OxA-X-2222-32 OxA-V-2220-41 OxA-18791 OxA-V-2220-42 OxA-18458 OxA-V-2253-42 OxA-V-2253-43 OxA-3977 OxA-3976 Gif-TAN-90037 Gif-TAN-90168 Pta-4267 OxA-1567

AA-42321 AA-42317 AA-38021 AA-42320 AA-38203

Qafzeh

GifA-97338 AA-27290

Abu Noshra II

SMU-2122 ETH-3076 ETH-3075 SMU-1762 SMU-1772

Abu Noshra I

SMU-2254 SMU-2007 SMU-1824

Lagama VII

SMU-172 SMU-185

Boker BE

SMU-188 SMU-229 SMU-228 SMU-227 SMU-565

Thalab al Buhiyla E

Arbreda

AA-3779

AA-3780

AA-3781

AA-3782

OxA-3730

SANU-29018

SANU-29017

SANU-29019

SANU-29016

SANU-29014

OxA-21674

OxA-21665

OxA-21784

OxA-21664

Grotte du Rei

OxA-21569 OxA-21682 OxA-21570 OxA-21572 OxA-21571

Les Cottés MAMS-10808 OxA-V-2382-47

Fumane

OxA-19584 OxA-17569 OxA-17570 OxA-19412 OxA-19414

Isturitz

Kozarnika

GifA-99706 GifA-101050

Krems Hunds

Riparo Mochi

OxA-3588

OxA-3589

OxA-3590

OxA-3591

OxA-3592

Rome-2

OxA-20360

OxA-19802

OxA-20630

OxA-19290

OxA-19569

Serino

OxA-21869 OxA-22061 OxA-21870 OxA-22626 OxA-22583

La Vifta

Ly-6390 .

Calibrated date (calBP)

Figure 8. Distribution of calibrated dates associated with the Early Ahmarian, the Ksar Akil Phase 4 group, and Protoaurignacian assemblages. Radiocarbon ages have been calibrated against the IntCal13 and Marine13 datasets in OxCal 4.2, and calibrated

Bergman, 1990; Bergman, 2003; Williams and Bergman, 2010). Typologically, the Phase 3 assemblages include few of the el-Wad points and retouched blades/bladelets that characterize Phase 4. Pointed blades/bladelets in Phase 3 are asymmetrical in plan and twisted in profile, unlike those of Phase 4 (and the southern Early Ahmarian). As a consequence, such discontinuous technological shifts from Ksar Akil Phase 2 to Phase 4 (also separated by the occupational hiatus) clearly contrast with the continuous technological shifts from the Emiran to the Early Ahmarian recorded at Ksar Akil levels XXV—XV (Ohnuma, 1988) and U^agizli layers I-B (Kuhn et al., 2009).

The second chronological hypothesis (Fig. 9: Hypothesis B) is the appearance of the southern Early Ahmarian at roughly the same time as the KA 4 group in the northern Levant. This scenario relates the technological similarity between the two lithic entities to their chronological correspondence, which is indicated by their radiocarbon dates (particularly by the AMS dates). In this scenario, we are required to postulate the appearance of the southern Early Ahmarian later than the northern Early Ahmarian with little or no chronological overlap between them given the chrono-stratigraphic relationship between the northern Early Ahmarian and the KA4 group as described above.

If we have to place the chronological position of the southern Early Ahmarian later than the northern Early Ahmarian, we need to explain what existed in the south at the same time as the northern Ahmarian. An important piece of stratigraphic evidence for this question has been recorded at Tor Sadaf, Jordan, where the southern Early Ahmarian assemblage (Tor Sadaf Early Upper Palaeolithic) is underlain by two assemblages (Tor Sadaf A and B; Fox, 2003; Fox and Coinman, 2004). The Tor Sadaf A and B assemblages are similar to each other in the production of elongated, convergent points with large striking platforms ("elongated Levallois-like points") from single platform cores, but Tor Sadaf B (later) can be distinguished from Tor Sadaf A (earlier) by some technological aspects, such as the decline of platform faceting and the increase in core tables. Overall, Tor SadafA is similar to the assemblage from Boker Tachtit Level 4 (Marks, 1983; Volkman, 1983), while Tor Sadaf B can be considered to represent a subsequent technological development. Moreover, this technological shift may have been further followed by an intermediate stage (before the southern Early Ahmarian) that can be represented by the assemblages from Boker D, Wadi Aghar, Tor Fawaz, Sde Zin 7, and Nahal Eilonim (Goring-Morris and Davidzon, 2006:108).

Consequently, if the appearance ofthe southern Early Ahmarian is later than the northern Early Ahmarian, the technological shifts from the Emiran (particularly its late phase, represented by Boker Tachtit Level 4), through Tor Sadaf B, to the intermediate stage may chronologically correspond to the development from the Emiran to the northern Early Ahmarian found at Ksar Akil XXV—XV and U^agizli I—B (Fig. 9). Although we cannot currently test this idea due to the absence of dates for Tor Sadaf and other relevant sites, a single radiocarbon date on charcoal from Boker Tachtit Level 4 (35,055 ± 4100: SMU-579) has a mean value close to the dates from Ksar Akil Phase 1 (Emiran) reported by Douka et al. (2013). The date for Boker Tachtit Level 4, however, needs to be verified with recent pretreatment/measurement methods.

dates have been shown as boxes. The 68.2% and 95.4% probability ranges are illustrated in inner and outer boxes, respectively. Open boxes indicate data from conventional pretreatments (i.e., Acid-Base-Acid for charcoal, and Collagen extraction for bones), while filled boxes indicate improved pretreatments (ABOx-SC: Acid-Base-Oxidation and stepped Combustion; Ultrafiltration; CarDS: Carbonates Density Separation). The calibrated dates are organized by color depending on the measurement methods: blue for AMS, orange for LSC, and red for GPC. See Table 7 for details of the data.

Wadi Kharar 1

IAAA-103837

Abu Noshra VI

SMU-2371

Thalab al Buhiyla C

Beta-129818

Esquicho Grapaou

MC-2161

La Mere Cloct.

OxA-19622

GifA-96263

Paglicci

Hypothesis A

Aurignacian Proto-

aurignacian -

West-South Europe

Classic Levantine Aurignacian (KA 5) o

Kebara ^ 4 group ||_| KA4 &

W. KharaM6R

North Early Ahmarian

KA 2 & Üg C-B

Emiran

KAUÜgl-D

Kebara VI—III

Northern Levant

South Early Ahmarian

Sourthem Levant

cal BP

Hypothesis B

Classic Levantine Aurignacian (KA 5} 3

Aurignacian

Proto-aurignacian

Kebara group ||_| KA4 &

W.Kharar16R

North Early Ahmarian ^

' wüSrüge^B

Kebara VI—III

Emiran

KA 1 & lljj l-D

West-South Europe

Northern Levant

South Early Ahmarian

"Intermediate Stage 4QQQQ

Tor Sadaf B

Emiran

TorSadafA BokerTachtit4

Sourthern Levant

J cal BP

Figure 9. Chrono-stratigraphic diagram showing two alternative hypotheses (A and B) for the chronological span of the southern Early Ahmarian in relation to the northern Levantine cultural entities and the Protoaurignacian. See text for the explanations of the two hypotheses. The diagram also shows four possible links between the Protoaurignacian and the Early Ahmarian (dashed lines numbered 1—4). The three cultural entities colored in orange (the southern Early Ahmarian, the KA4 group, and the Protoaurignacian) are techno-typologically similar to each other and can be distinguished from the northern Early Ahmarian (colored in blue; see Table 6). The chronological ranges of these four cultural entities are based on radiocarbon dates in Table 7 (see references therein). KA #: Ksar Akil Phase number; Ug: U^agizli; Hiatus: Occupation hiatus at Ksar Akil XV—XIV.

A critical difference between the two hypotheses outlined above is the start date of the southern Early Ahmarian in relation to the northern traditions, that is, whether it coincided with the northern Ahmarian or the KA4 group. On the other hand, both scenarios postulate that the southern Early Ahmarian appeared by the time of the KA4 group and continued later as well. This is indicated by a cluster of dates from Boker BE levels III—II and Thalab al-Buhayla C and E, which are clearly younger than other southern Early Ahmarian sites and the KA4 group. These young dates may be acceptable because of their small deviations and the use of AMS for Thalab al-Buhayla C and E. Although one could argue that the actual dates could be revealed to be older with the use of a more rigorous pretreatment method such as ABOx-SC, the late chronological positions of these sites are also suggested by the lithic assemblages that show some technological developments towards the Late Ahmarian (Coinman, 2003; Marks, 2003). The late occurrence of technology similar to the southern Early Ahmarian is also indicated by radiocarbon dates of the Qafzeh E assemblage (Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen, 2004). As described above, this assemblage likely shows both northern and southern characteristics of the Early Ahmarian, and two AMS dates on charcoal have been obtained for Qafzeh layer 11 (corresponding with layer E; 31,520 ± 490: GifA-97338 and 29,320 ± 360: AA-27290; Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen, 2004), indicating the deposition of Qafzeh layer E around ca. 36—33 cal BP (68.2% probability). These dates are distinctively younger than the end boundary of the northern Early Ahmarian at Ksar Akil (Douka et al., 2013) and overlap with the temporal range for the southern Early Ahmarian. In addition to the geographic location of Qafzeh, this relatively late chronological position can also explain the mixed techno-typological features of this assemblage.

Implications for the model of a Levantine origin of Protoaurignacian technology

On the basis of the above results and discussions, here we discuss the technological and chronological relationship between

the Protoaurignacian and the Early Ahmarian, a purported origin of the former cultural entity.

The technological similarity between the two cultural entities has been suggested by several researchers (Zilhao, 2006, 2007, 2013; Mellars, 2006a,b; Bar-Yosef, 2007; Hublin, 2014). However, if we consider the variability in Early Ahmarian technology (Table 6) and the techno-typological descriptions of the Proto-aurignacian (e.g., Bordes, 2006; Mellars, 2006a; Le Brun-Ricalens et al., 2009; Tsanova et al., 2012), it is the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA 4 group that are techno-typologically more comparable to the Protoaurignacian, particularly in the occurrence of fine, marginally retouched points (Font-Yves points) manufactured from bladelets that are detached by uni-directional convergent flaking from single platform cores. Cores are made on either blocks or flakes. As described above, the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA 4 group are not exactly the same. For example, the KA 4 group is characterized by multiple reduction strategies, including those specialized for bladelets from cores-on-flakes or carinated scrapers/burins in addition to the continuous production of both blades and bladelets in a single core reduction process (SOM Section 2). This technological feature may parallel regional variations of the Protoaurignacian technology at Isturitz or in the Italian Peninsula (Tsanova et al., 2012; Ronchitelli et al., 2014).

On the other hand, the northern Early Ahmarian assemblages from Kebara IV—III, Ksar Akil XX-XV, and Ü^agizli C-B, which have been chronologically or techno-typologically linked to the Proto-aurignacian by several scholars (Mellars, 2006a:175; Zilhao, 2006:190, 2007:19; Hublin, 2014), can be distinguished from the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA 4 group (as discussed above; Table 6), and are less comparable to the technological variations of the Protoaurignacian.

This view is essentially in agreement with the suggestion by Mellars (2006a:172—175) for the similarity between the Proto-aurignacian (or the Fumanian) and the assemblages from Boker A (the southern Early Ahmarian) and Ksar Akil Levels XI—IX (mainly Phase 4) that are commonly characterized by small, lightly retouched bladelet points of Font Yves and el-Wad types. Mellars

(2009:343—344) differentiates these bladelet assemblages from the Ksar Akil XX—XIV assemblages (the northern Early Ahmarian) by stating that "these levels have been attributed to..."Ahmarian" — though apparently deriving from the underlying "Phase A" or "Emiran" levels".

This detailed recognition of the correspondence between the Protoaurignacian and the Early Ahmarian technological variants leads to the issue of their chronological relationship. In his comparison between the Protoaurignacian (or the Fumanian) and the assemblages from Boker A and Ksar Akil XI—IX, Mellars (2006a) referred to a single radiocarbon date from Boker A (37,920 ± 2810 BP: SMU-578) along with age estimates of Ksar Akil XI—IX (Mellars and Tixier, 1989) in a comparison with dates from the Protoaurignacian. As a result, he suggested that "the Near Eastern bladelet technologies are either of the same age as or slightly earlier than the similar bla-delet industries on the Mediterranean coast" (Mellars, 2006a:175). Since this study, only a few radiocarbon dates for the southern Early Ahmarian assemblages have been obtained (Table 7). Given the large deviations of the age estimates obtained before the use of AMS or rigorous pretreatment methods, the chronological contemporaneity or precedence of the Early Ahmarian assemblages to the Proto-aurignacian cannot be substantiated with the currently available data. On the other hand, there are some new dates for the KA 4 group (Ksar Akil Phase 4 as reported by Douka et al., 2013 and Wadi Kharar 16R as reported here), which is techno-typologically similar to the southern Early Ahmarian and the Protoaurignacian. The dates for the KA 4 group coincide with the two oldest AMS dates for the southern Early Ahmarian (from Abu Noshra II). Combining these relatively precise dating results, we estimate the co-existence of the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA 4 group around 39.4—34.1 ka cal BP (68.2% probability). The southern Early Ahmarian is likely to have continued after this period with some technological changes, while the KA 4 technology was followed by Ksar Akil Phase 5 (the Levantine Aurignacian sensu stricto) at Ksar Akil. Consequently, the temporal range we suggest for the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA 4 group appears younger than the Protoaurignacian range (Table 7; Figs. 8 and 9).

These observations regarding the technological and chronological data on the Protoaurignacian and the Early Ahmarian variants allow us to evaluate four possible sets of relationships among them and the implications of each for the model of a Levantine origin of the Protoaurignacian. The first two are alternative scenarios for the chronological relationship between the Proto-aurignacian and the northern Early Ahmarian (Fig. 9: dashed lines with 1 and 2), while the latter two are alternative chronological relationships between the Protoaurignacian and the southern Early Ahmarian (Fig. 9: dashed lines with 3 and 4).

The first possible scenario (Fig. 9:1) is the appearance of the northern Early Ahmarian earlier than the Protoaurignacian, according to the radiocarbon dates from Kebara IV—III (Rebollo et al., 2011). This chronological relationship is suggested by Bar-Yosef (2007) and Hublin (2014) to support their arguments for the Levantine origin of the Protoaurignacian. For this scenario to be established, the old dates of Kebara IV—III preceding the Proto-aurignacian need to be defended against the critical assessments of their validity (Douka et al., 2013; Zilhao, 2013). In addition, given the techno-typological differences between the Protoaurignacian and the northern Early Ahmarian, as discussed above, it has to be explained how the latter transformed into the former in the cultural spread from the Levant to Europe.

The second scenario (Fig. 9:2) is the contemporaneity between the Protoaurignacian and the northern Early Ahmarian, according to the recent chronological study of the Ksar Akil levels (Douka et al., 2013). Based on this chronological model, Douka et al. (2013:8) suggested that "the northern Mediterranean Levantine

coast might not be the point of origin for the dispersal of the earliest Upper Palaeolithic outwards and into Europe." This view is also supported by the techno-typological differences between the northern Early Ahmarian and the Protoaurignacian, as suggested above. One could still argue for a very rapid cultural spread from the Levant to Europe, but then it has to be explained how northern Ahmarian technology transformed into the Protoaurignacian during such a rapid spread.

In either the first or the second chronological relationship, seeking the origin of the Protoaurignacian in the northern Early Ahmarian has to explain their techno-typological differences. In contrast, the third and fourth scenarios that relate the Proto-aurignacian to the southern Early Ahmarian or the KA 4 groups are grounded more securely techno-typologically.

The third possible relationship (Fig. 9:3) is the appearance of the southern early Ahmarian at the same time or slightly earlier than the Protoaurignacian, as suggested by Mellars (2006a). If this chronological relationship is established, it provides support for the model of a Levantine origin of the Protoaurignacian given its techno-typological similarity to the southern Early Ahmarian. However, this chronological model is currently indicated only by the earlier end of the large deviation range of radiocarbon dates that were obtained before the application of AMS or rigorous pre-treatment methods (Table 7; Fig. 8).

The fourth possible scenario (Fig. 9:4) is the appearance of the Protoaurignacian earlier than those of the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA 4 group in the Levant. We newly propose this possibility by considering the chrono-stratigraphic records for the KA 4 group and relying on only precise AMS measurements for the southern Early Ahmarian, as discussed above. Given the techno-typological similarity among the three cultural entities, this chronological scenario indicates that similar lithic technology appeared earlier in Europe than in the Levant. Currently, we can only speculate whether this means a cultural spread from Europe to the Levant, as postulated for the Levantine Aurignacian (Garrod, 1953; Goring-Morris and Belfer Cohen, 2006), but at the very least this scenario requires us to reconsider the model of a Levantine origin of the Protoaurignacian.

Conclusion

This paper re-examined the variability of Early Ahmarian lithic technology, which has often been regarded as a precursor of the Protoaurignacian in Europe in arguments for the occurrence of the cultural spread in association with the dispersal of H. sapiens from the Levant to Europe. Using quantitative data on lithic techno-typological attributes, we demonstrated that there are significant differences between the northern and southern Early Ahmarian assemblages and also suggested that technology similar to the southern Early Ahmarian also existed in the northern Levant (i.e., the KA 4 group). We then referred to currently available strati-graphic evidence and radiocarbon dates with special attention to their methodological background, and proposed the possibility that the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA 4 group appeared later than the northern Early Ahmarian with little or no overlap. On the basis of this newly suggested chronological/geographical pattern of Early Ahmarian variability, we concluded by proposing the possibility that the appearance of the Protoaurignacian preceded those of similar technological entities in the Levant (i.e., the southern Early Ahmarian and the KA 4 group). If this hypothesis is substantiated, it requires us to reconsider the model of a Levantine origin of the Protoaurignacian.

In discussing the chronological relationships among the lithic technological entities, we outlined several different hypotheses according to the uncertainties deriving from available radiocarbon

datasets. Future work that increases the number of more accurate and precise dates, particularly for the Early Ahmarian assemblages, may negate our new suggestion for the chronological relationship between the Protoaurignacian and the Early Ahmarian. Even in such a case, any inter-regional comparisons between the two cultural entities will be more securely grounded by focusing on the southern Early Ahmarian or the KA 4 group, instead of the northern Early Ahmarian given their technological differences (Table 6).

There is little doubt regarding the presence of H. sapiens in the Levant and eastern Europe by the time of the northern Early Ahmarian and the Protoaurignacian, as suggested by modern human fossil records from Manot Cave (Hershkovitz et al., 2015), Ksar Akil Level XVII (i.e., Egbert; Bergman and Stringer, 1989) and the Pestera cu Oase (Trinkaus et al., 2003). On the other hand, our results suggest that it may be necessary to reconsider previous arguments for the cultural/technological spread from the Levant to Europe, as represented by the model of a Levantine origin of the Protoaurignacian. A possible revision of this model has two palaeoanthropological implications regarding the geographic expansion of H. sapiens. First, if we have no clear archaeological records indicating a cultural spread from the Levant to Europe at the time of the Protoaurignacian and the Early Ahmarian, we have to reconsider the suggestion of the concomitant wave of H. sapiens from the Levant to Europe. This implies either that the H. sapiens group at the Pestera cu Oase came through another route (see Douka et al., 2013 for a similar suggestion) or that they are descendants from earlier H. sapiens colonizers in Europe that have been suggested by a fossil record from Grotta del Cavallo (Benazzi et al., 2011; Ronchitelli et al., 2014; Higham et al., 2014) or by archaeological records of the Early Aurignacian at Willendorf II (Nigst et al., 2014) and the Bachokirian/Bohunician in eastern/ central Europe (Skrdra, 2003; Svoboda and Bar-Yosef, 2003; Kozlowski, 2007; Svoboda, 2007; Hublin, 2014).

The second implication is related to a question of whether the spread of H. sapiens was associated with innovative technology (e.g., Bar-Yosef, 2007). In the case of the Protoaurignacian and the Early Ahmarian, lightly retouched bladelet points (e.g., Font-Yves and el-Wad points) have been suggested to represent an innovation as the tips of long-distance projectiles (Shea, 2006; Le Brun-Ricalens et al., 2009; Hublin, 2014:9). If we have no clear archaeological records for such an innovation to have spread from the Levant to Europe, we cannot argue that this cultural/technological innovation was a cause for the successful colonization of Europe by H. sapiens from the Levant. Such a reconsideration of the model of innovation-driven dispersals of early H. sapiens may be in accordance with one of the critical reviews of "the modern human superiority complex" by Villa and Roebroeks (2014).

As a consequence, additional investigations are necessary to clarify the correspondence between the Protoaurignacian and the Early Ahmarian variants and their chronological relationships, as these archaeological records can provide significant insights into key palaeoanthropological questions regarding the timing and the process of the early colonization of Europe by our direct ancestors.

Acknowledgments

This research derives from a joint investigation, entitled "Archaeological Research of the Learning Behaviors of the Neanderthals and Early Modern Humans," directed by Yoshihiro Nishiaki (The University of Tokyo), as part of the "Replacement of Neanderthals by Modern Humans" project, directed by Takeru Akazawa (Kochi University of Technology) and funded by the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas (Grant No. 22101001) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan. We are grateful to members of our archaeological

fieldwork in Syria: Shogo Kume, Hiroto Nakata, Kazuya Shimogama, and Masashi Abe. We thank Mark Diab for editorial corrections. We also appreciate comments from anonymous reviewers, who helped us clarify the paper. Any errors in this paper, however, are our own responsibility.

Appendix A. Supplementary material

Supplementary material related to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/jjhevol.2015.02.017.

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