The excavation area was arbitrarily determined in a region where a high density of flint items was identified (1,032 per sq m; Figs. 2–4). The flint items, collected in units of 1 sq m, were thoroughly sifted. Afterward, the surface of the area was raked and sifted (4×4 mm sieve). The soil was excavated in three squares (2×2 m) until bedrock was reached, evincing a single-stratum site. It became apparent during the excavation that the original area of the site was in a region where the security road and the dirt intrusion path were situated. From a preliminary analysis of the flint assemblage, it seems that adjacent to the road there were less microliths and other small finds, as opposed to the western fringes of the excavation area. Apparently, the incline of the slope and light weight of the items caused the microliths to be washed away.
Numerous burnt stones and several dentalium shells were found. The raw material was dark brown flint that originates in the Turonian stratum and is present near the site. The flint assemblage contained a large amount of debitage items, including many bladelets, blades, flakes, bladelet cores (Fig. 5) and numerous micro-burins. The micro-burins are a by-product of the micro-burin technique used to fashion microliths in the Epi-paleolithic period; employing this technique enabled the production of the most common tool at the site, a Ramon Point, many hundreds of which were found, as well as dozens of lunates that were fabricated with a Helwan retouch (Fig. 6). Most of the debitage items and the tools are slippery and oily to the touch, which is indicative of the flint having been heated prior to knapping the tools (Nadel 1989). Moreover, many hundreds of debitage items were found that have cracks, characteristic of heating the rock, but not burning it. The heating of the flint seems to have been part of the production and knapping process of the tools at the site.
The combination of lunates and Ramon Points dates the site to the end of the Ramonian culture. Helwan lunates suggest a chronological proximity to the early phase of the Natufian culture. The site, which is located in a high region, is subject to strong winds and fierce cold in the winter months and might have been used as a campsite in the summer months. The size of the flint assemblage and the area of the scatter suggest that the site was occupied over the course of several seasons.
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Marks A.E. and A.H. Simmons. 1977. The Negev Kebaran of the Har Harif. In A.E. Marks ed. Prehistory and Paleoenvironments in the Central Negev, Israel, Vol. II. Dallas. Pp. 233–271.
Marder O. 2002. The Lithic Technology of Epipaleolithic Hunter-Gatherers in the Negev: The Implications of Refitting Studies. Ph.D. Dissertation. The Hebrew University. Jerusalem.
Nadel D. 1989. Flint Heat Treatment at the Beginning of the Neolithic Period in the Southern Levant. Journal of the Israel Prehistoric Society 22:61–67.