The site is located on the northern bank of Nahal Ziq, immediately to the north of the Intermediate Bronze Age site of Horbat ʻEn Ziq (Cohen 1999:137–188). The site was discovered during a geoarchaeological survey in 2017 (License No. S-756/2017), when numerous Levallois flint artifacts, mostly cores, were found on the upper surface of a fluvial terrace. An OSL sample taken from the center of the terrace gave an age of 107+/-11 ka, suggesting the artifacts and their geological contexts belong to the ‘Q2 Terrace’ cycle, which chronologically corresponds to the Middle Paleolithic period (Avni et al. 2021). Some of the artifacts found on the surface were covered with dark patina, indicating an extended surface exposure, but others, exposed by shallow fluvial channels on top of the terrace, were very fresh with light patina (Fig. 2).
In light of these results, an excavation comprising three test pits (L100, L101, L300; 1 × 1 m each; Fig. 3), a geological trench (L200) and a surface collection, sought to locate in situ archaeological horizons within the fluvial accumulation of the terrace. The test pits were opened at the highest parts of the terrace, each one near an exposure of fresh Levallois artifacts caused by shallow fluvial channels. Test Pits 100 and 101 were located in the eastern part of the fluvial terrace, and Test Pit 300—in its western part. The geological trench 200 was dug at the southern edge of the terrace’s slope, near what seemed like an artifact exposure caused by the slope’s erosion. The surface collection was conducted in the central part of the terrace (L102).
Levallois artifacts embedded within the terrace sediments were found only in Pit 100 and Trench 200, while Pits 101 and 300 yielded no archaeological finds. Among the finds in Pit 100 was one small bi-directional Levallois core, exposed in the uppermost part of the fluvial gravels. Two artifact concentrations were observed in the section of Trench 200 (B2000, B2001; Fig. 4): Concentration 2000, which lay in a silty horizon, included one Levallois core, whereas Concentration 2001, found somewhat lower on the slope, had no indicative items. It is not clear whether these artifacts represent archaeological horizons or old surfaces of the terrace.
As the 2017 survey found evidence for knapping that may represent periods later than the Middle Paleolithic, possibly associated with the Intermediate Bronze village of Horbat ʻEn Ziq, only indicative Levallois pieces were targeted in the surface collection. All the collected artifacts were plotted in three coordinates. These artifacts likely originated from more than one occurrence, but on the whole they reflect an assemblage corresponding to a later phase of the terrace accumulation.
The Lithic Assemblage comprises a total of 75 flint artifacts (Table 1), ten of which came from the excavation in Pit 100 and in Trench 200, while the others were collected from the surface (L102). The items from the excavation are very well preserved, with no abrasion on the edges of ridges, and in most cases having no patina or only limited patination of white spots. The surface collection shows a more complex accumulation and exposure history, with varying states of preservation, ranging from fresh to highly abraded, and with a mixture of white and brown patina. Due to the surface collection methodology, the assemblage is dominated by complete Levallois artifacts, both cores and products.
Table 1. The Lithic Assemblage
Primary Flakes
Levallois Flakes
Levallois Blades
Levallois Points
Naturally backed knifes
Total Debitage
The presence of natural flint nodules and the large number of cores, including core preforms, as well as debitage items, suggests that most of the Levallois reduction sequence was performed on-site. Most of the cores are Levallois cores (N=38). These are dominated by cores for flakes (74%; Fig. 5:1, 2), alongside several cores for points (Fig. 5:3) and for blades. Centripetal knapping was the dominant exploitation strategy exhibited in the Levallois knapping, recorded on 55% of the Levallois cores and 45% of the Levallois products. It is followed by bi-directional knapping (39% and 40% respectively) along with only a few items showing unidirectional or convergent patterns.
The excavation results suggest that intensive flint knapping took place on the terrace during the Middle Paleolithic. The percentage of cores and debitage in the flint assemblage implies that most of the reduction stages were carried out at the site, dominated by centripetal and bi-directional Levallois knapping.
To date, no archaeological horizons have been identified at the site, but the artifact concentrations in Trench 200 may attest to the presence of a nearby horizon. The high frequencies of surface material on the terrace indicate redeposition events, such as fluctuations of deflation and accumulation phases that exposed the artifacts in their current state.