Archaeology

Faunal remains from the Upper Paleolithic site of Nahal Rahaf 2 in the southern Judean Desert, Israel

10.24072/pcjournal.155 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article no. e61.

Get full text PDF Peer reviewed and recommended by PCI

Nahal Rahaf 2 (NR2) is an Early Upper Paleolithic (ca. 35 kya) rock shelter in the southern Judean Desert in Israel. Two excavation seasons in 2019 and 2020 revealed a stratigraphical sequence composed of intact archaeological surfaces attributed to the ‘Arkov-Divshon’ cultural entity of the arid southern Levant. We present the faunal assemblages from the site, which are rare among the desert sites due to preservation problems. Our results suggest that the residents of the site exploited prime adult caprines (Capra cf. Capra ibex), but were also engaged in hunting of gazelles (Gazella cf. Gazella gazella), whose carcasses were selectively transported to the site and processed for within-bone nutrients. Long-range hunting trips are suggested by the body-part selection in relatively small bovids, and by the presence of species representing wetter habitat patches 20-30 km north of the site. The bi-focal emphasis on generalized gazelle and age-specific caprine hunting, is unique among Late Pleistocene sites from the Levant. The proportion of caprines increases through the stratigraphic sequence, suggesting more specialized economy through time and in inverse relations to site use intensity.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.155
Marom, Nimrod 1; Gnezdilov, Dariya Lokshin 1; Shafir, Roee 1; Barzilai, Omry 2; Shemer, Maayan 2, 3

1 Laboratory of Archaeozoology, School of Archaeology and Maritime Cultures, University of Haifa – Haifa, Israel
2 Archaeological Research Department, Israel Antiquities Authority – Jerusalem, Israel
3 Department of Bible, Archaeology and the Ancient Near East at Ben Gurion University – Beer Sheva, Israel
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
@article{10_24072_pcjournal_155,
     author = {Marom, Nimrod and Gnezdilov, Dariya Lokshin and Shafir, Roee and Barzilai, Omry and Shemer, Maayan},
     title = {Faunal remains from the {Upper} {Paleolithic} site of {Nahal} {Rahaf} 2 in the southern {Judean} {Desert,} {Israel}},
     journal = {Peer Community Journal},
     eid = {e61},
     publisher = {Peer Community In},
     volume = {2},
     year = {2022},
     doi = {10.24072/pcjournal.155},
     url = {https://peercommunityjournal.org/articles/10.24072/pcjournal.155/}
}
TY  - JOUR
AU  - Marom, Nimrod
AU  - Gnezdilov, Dariya Lokshin
AU  - Shafir, Roee
AU  - Barzilai, Omry
AU  - Shemer, Maayan
TI  - Faunal remains from the Upper Paleolithic site of Nahal Rahaf 2 in the southern Judean Desert, Israel
JO  - Peer Community Journal
PY  - 2022
DA  - 2022///
VL  - 2
PB  - Peer Community In
UR  - https://peercommunityjournal.org/articles/10.24072/pcjournal.155/
UR  - https://doi.org/10.24072/pcjournal.155
DO  - 10.24072/pcjournal.155
ID  - 10_24072_pcjournal_155
ER  - 
%0 Journal Article
%A Marom, Nimrod
%A Gnezdilov, Dariya Lokshin
%A Shafir, Roee
%A Barzilai, Omry
%A Shemer, Maayan
%T Faunal remains from the Upper Paleolithic site of Nahal Rahaf 2 in the southern Judean Desert, Israel
%J Peer Community Journal
%D 2022
%V 2
%I Peer Community In
%U https://doi.org/10.24072/pcjournal.155
%R 10.24072/pcjournal.155
%F 10_24072_pcjournal_155
Marom, Nimrod; Gnezdilov, Dariya Lokshin; Shafir, Roee; Barzilai, Omry; Shemer, Maayan. Faunal remains from the Upper Paleolithic site of Nahal Rahaf 2 in the southern Judean Desert, Israel. Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article  no. e61. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.155. https://peercommunityjournal.org/articles/10.24072/pcjournal.155/

Peer reviewed and recommended by PCI : 10.24072/pci.archaeo.100017

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

[1] Alex, B.; Barzilai, O.; Hershkovitz, I.; Marder, O.; Berna, F.; Caracuta, V.; Abulafia, T.; Davis, L.; Goder-Goldberger, M.; Lavi, R.; Mintz, E.; Regev, L.; Bar-Yosef Mayer, D.; Tejero, J.-M.; Yeshurun, R.; Ayalon, A.; Bar-Matthews, M.; Yasur, G.; Frumkin, A.; Latimer, B.; Hans, M. G.; Boaretto, E. Radiocarbon chronology of Manot Cave, Israel and Upper Paleolithic dispersals, Science Advances, Volume 3 (2017) no. 11 | DOI

[2] Andri, S. DescTools: Tools for Descriptive Statistics, 2021 (https://cran.r-project.org/package=DescTools)

[3] Baharav, D. Observation on the ecology of the mountain gazelle in the Upper Galilee, Israel, Mammalia, Volume 47 (1983) no. 1 | DOI

[4] Bar-Yosef, O. The Upper Paleolithic Revolution, Annual Review of Anthropology, Volume 31 (2002) no. 1, pp. 363-393 | DOI

[5] Bar-Yosef, O.; Belfer-Cohen, A. The Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition in western Asia In: The Upper Palaeolithic revolution in global perspective: papers in honour of sir Paul Mellars (2010), pp. 85-101

[6] Barzilai, O.; Aladjem, E.; Shemer, M.; Zituni, R.; Greenbaum, N.; Boaretto, E.; Marom, N. The Early Upper Palaeolithic in the south Judean Desert, Israel: preliminary excavation results from Nahal Rahaf 2 rockshelter, Antiquity, Volume 94 (2020) no. 377 | DOI

[7] Behrensmeyer, A. K. Taphonomic and ecologic information from bone weathering, Paleobiology, Volume 4 (1978) no. 2, pp. 150-162 | DOI

[8] Bar-Yosef, O.; Belmaker, M. Early and Middle Pleistocene Faunal and hominins dispersals through Southwestern Asia, Quaternary Science Reviews, Volume 30 (2011) no. 11-12, pp. 1318-1337 | DOI

[9] Binford L Nunamiut Ethnoarchaeology, Academic Press, New York, 1978

[10] Boaretto, E.; Hernandez, M.; Goder-Goldberger, M.; Aldeias, V.; Regev, L.; Caracuta, V.; McPherron, S. P.; Hublin, J.-J.; Weiner, S.; Barzilai, O. The absolute chronology of Boker Tachtit (Israel) and implications for the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in the Levant, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume 118 (2021) no. 25 | DOI

[11] Cayuela, L.; Gotelli, N. rareNMtests: Ecological and biogeographical null model tests for comparing rarefaction curves, R-project, 2014 (https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=rareNMtests)

[12] Chao, A.; Chiu, C.-H.; Jost, L. Unifying Species Diversity, Phylogenetic Diversity, Functional Diversity, and Related Similarity and Differentiation Measures Through Hill Numbers, Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, Volume 45 (2014) no. 1, pp. 297-324 | DOI

[13] Chao, A.; Gotelli, N. J.; Hsieh, T. C.; Sander, E. L.; Ma, K. H.; Colwell, R. K.; Ellison, A. M. Rarefaction and extrapolation with Hill numbers: a framework for sampling and estimation in species diversity studies, Ecological Monographs, Volume 84 (2014) no. 1, pp. 45-67 | DOI

[14] von den Driesch A A Guide to the Measurement of Animal Bones from Archaeological Sites, Harvard University Press, 1976

[15] Douka, K.; Bergman, C. A.; Hedges, R. E. M.; Wesselingh, F. P.; Higham, T. F. G. Chronology of Ksar Akil (Lebanon) and Implications for the Colonization of Europe by Anatomically Modern Humans, PLoS ONE, Volume 8 (2013) no. 9 | DOI

[16] Gilead, I. The Upper Paleolithic period in the Levant, Journal of World Prehistory, Volume 5 (1991) no. 2, pp. 105-154 | DOI

[17] Goren-Inbar, N.; Speth, J. Human Paleoecology in the Levantine Corridor, Oxbow Books, 2004 | DOI

[18] Goring-Morris, N.; Belfer-Cohen, A. The Ahmarian in the Context of the Earlier Upper Palaeolithic in the Near East, The Middle and Upper Paleolithic Archeology of the Levant and Beyond, Springer Singapore, Singapore, 2018, pp. 87-104 | DOI

[19] Haber, A.; Dayan, T. Analyzing the process of domestication: Hagoshrim as a case study, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 31 (2004) no. 11, pp. 1587-1601 | DOI

[20] Hammer, Ø.; Harper, D.; Ryan, P. PAST: Paleontological statistics software package for education and data analysis, Palaeontologia Electronica, Volume 4 (2001) no. 9 (https://palaeo-electronica.org/2001_1/past/past.pdf)

[21] Hershkovitz, I.; Marder, O.; Ayalon, A.; Bar-Matthews, M.; Yasur, G.; Boaretto, E.; Caracuta, V.; Alex, B.; Frumkin, A.; Goder-Goldberger, M.; Gunz, P.; Holloway, R. L.; Latimer, B.; Lavi, R.; Matthews, A.; Slon, V.; Mayer, D. B.-Y.; Berna, F.; Bar-Oz, G.; Yeshurun, R.; May, H.; Hans, M. G.; Weber, G. W.; Barzilai, O. Levantine cranium from Manot Cave (Israel) foreshadows the first European modern humans, Nature, Volume 520 (2015) no. 7546, pp. 216-219 | DOI

[22] Horwitz, L. K.; Goring-Morris, A. N. Fauna from the Early Natufian Site of Upper Besor 6 in the Central Negev, Israel., Paléorient, Volume 26 (2000) no. 1, pp. 111-128 | DOI

[23] Horwitz, L.; Tchernov, E.; Lernau, O. The Fauna from Caves in the Northern Judean Desert, ’Atiqot, Volume 41 (2002), pp. 257-280 (https://www.jstor.org/stable/23461153)

[24] Jin, J. J.; Mills, E. W. Split phalanges from archaeological sites: evidence of nutritional stress?, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 38 (2011) no. 8, pp. 1798-1809 | DOI

[25] Jones, K. T.; Metcalfe, D. Bare bones archaeology: Bone marrow indices and efficiency, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 15 (1988) no. 4, pp. 415-423 | DOI

[26] Jost, L. What do we mean by diversity? The path towards quantification, Mètode Revista de difusió de la investigació (2019) no. 9, pp. 55-61 | DOI

[27] Kadowaki, S.; Nishiaki, Y. New Epipalaeolithic assemblages from the middle Euphrates and the implications for technological and settlement trends in the northeastern Levant, Quaternary International, Volume 396 (2016), pp. 121-137 | DOI

[28] Klein, R. G. Anatomy, behavior, and modern human origins, Journal of World Prehistory, Volume 9 (1995) no. 2, pp. 167-198 | DOI

[29] Lam, Y. M.; Chen, X.; Pearson, O. M. Intertaxonomic Variability in Patterns of Bone Density and the Differential Representation of Bovid, Cervid, and Equid Elements in the Archaeological Record, American Antiquity, Volume 64 (1999) no. 2, pp. 343-362 | DOI

[30] Lazagabaster, I. A.; Égüez, N.; Ullman, M.; Porat, R.; Wachtel, I.; Davidovich, U.; Marom, N. Cave paleozoology in the Judean Desert: assembling records of Holocene wild mammal communities, Journal of Quaternary Science, Volume 37 (2022) no. 4, pp. 651-663 | DOI

[31] Lazagabaster, I. A.; Rovelli, V.; Fabre, P.-H.; Porat, R.; Ullman, M.; Davidovich, U.; Lavi, T.; Ganor, A.; Klein, E.; Weiss, K.; Nuriel, P.; Meiri, M.; Marom, N. Rare crested rat subfossils unveil Afro–Eurasian ecological corridors synchronous with early human dispersals, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume 118 (2021) no. 31 | DOI

[32] Lazagabaster, I. A.; Ullman, M.; Porat, R.; Halevi, R.; Porat, N.; Davidovich, U.; Marom, N. Changes in the large carnivore community structure of the Judean Desert in connection to Holocene human settlement dynamics, Scientific Reports, Volume 11 (2021) no. 1 | DOI

[33] Lyman, R. L. Vertebrate Taphonomy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994 | DOI

[34] Marder, O.; Shemer, M.; Abulafia, T.; Bar-Yosef Mayer, D.; Berna, F.; Caux, S.; Edeltin, L.; Goder-Goldberger, M.; Hershkovitz, I.; Lavi, R.; Shavit, R.; Tejero, J.-M.; Yeshurun, R.; Barzilai, O. Preliminary observations on the Levantine Aurignacian sequence of Manot Cave: Cultural affiliations and regional perspectives, Journal of Human Evolution, Volume 160 (2021) | DOI

[35] Marean, C.; Rodrigo, M.; Pickering, T. Skeletal Element Equifinality in Zooarchaeology Begins with Method: The Evolution and Status of the “Shaft Critique.” , Journal of Taphonomy, Volume 2 (2004), pp. 69-98

[36] Marín-Arroyo, A. B. Palaeolithic Human Subsistence in Mount Carmel (Israel). A Taphonomic Assessment of Middle and Early Upper Palaeolithic Faunal Remains from Tabun, Skhul and el-Wad, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, Volume 23 (2013) no. 3, pp. 254-273 | DOI

[37] Marks, A. The Upper Paleolithic of the Levant. In: Préhistoire du Levant. Chronologie et Organisation de l’espace depuis les origines jusqu’au VIe millénaire (eds Cauvin J , Sanlaville P ) (1981), pp. 369-374

[38] Morin, E. Fat composition and Nunamiut decision-making: a new look at the marrow and bone grease indices, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 34 (2007) no. 1, pp. 69-82 | DOI

[39] Munro, N. D.; Bar-Oz, G.; Stutz, A. J. Aging mountain gazelle (Gazella gazella): refining methods of tooth eruption and wear and bone fusion, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 36 (2009) no. 3, pp. 752-763 | DOI

[40] Naito, Y. I.; Hirose, M.; Belmaker, M.; Henry, D. O.; Osawa, M.; Nakazawa, T.; Habinger, S. G.; Tung, P.; Bocherens, H.; Massadeh, S.; Kadowaki, S. Paleoenvironment and human hunting activity during MIS 2 in southern Jordan: Isotope records of prey remains and paleosols, Quaternary Science Reviews, Volume 282 (2022) | DOI

[41] Orbach, M.; Yeshurun, R. The hunters or the hunters: Human and hyena prey choice divergence in the Late Pleistocene Levant, Journal of Human Evolution, Volume 160 (2021) | DOI

[42] Orlando, L. An Ancient DNA Perspective on Horse Evolution In: Paleogenomics. Population Genomics (2019), pp. 325-351 | DOI

[43] Rabinovich, R. The Levantine Upper Palaeolithic Faunal Record In: More than Meets the Eye: studies on Upper Palaeolithic diversity in the Near East (eds Goring-Morris AN, Belfer-Cohen A, Riel-Salvatore J) (2003), pp. 33-48 | DOI

[44] R Core Team R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing (Version 4.1.2), R Foundation for Statistical Computing, 2021 (https://www.R-project.org/)

[45] Sadhir, S.; al-Nahar, M.; Olszewski, D. I.; Petrillo, A.; Munro, N. D. Human hunting adaptations at Wadi Madamagh, Jordan at the peak of the Last Glacial Maximum, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Volume 34 (2020) | DOI

[46] Stiner, M. The faunas of Hayonim Cave, Israel: A 200,000-year record of Paleolithic diet, demography, and society, Peabody Museum, MA, USA, 2005, 330 pages

[47] Tchernov, E. Some late Quaternary faunal remains from the Avdat/Aqev area In: Prehistory and Paleoenvironments in the Central Negev, Israel, Vol. I (ed Marks AE) (1976), pp. 69-73

[48] Tchernov, E.; Dayan, T.; Yom-Tov, Y. The paleogeography of Gazella gazella and Gazella dorcas during the Holocene of the southern Levant, Israel Journal of Zoology (1986)

[49] Tejero, J.-M.; Rabinovich, R.; Yeshurun, R.; Abulafia, T.; Bar-Yosef, O.; Barzilai, O.; Goder-Goldberger, M.; Hershkovitz, I.; Lavi, R.; Shemer, M.; Marder, O.; Belfer-Cohen, A. Personal ornaments from Hayonim and Manot caves (Israel) hint at symbolic ties between the Levantine and the European Aurignacian, Journal of Human Evolution, Volume 160 (2021) | DOI

[50] Timmermann, A.; Friedrich, T. Late Pleistocene climate drivers of early human migration, Nature, Volume 538 (2016) no. 7623, pp. 92-95 | DOI

[51] Torfstein, A.; Goldstein, S. L.; Kushnir, Y.; Enzel, Y.; Haug, G.; Stein, M. Dead Sea drawdown and monsoonal impacts in the Levant during the last interglacial, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 412 (2015), pp. 235-244 | DOI

[52] Vaks, A.; Bar-Matthews, M.; Ayalon, A.; Matthews, A.; Frumkin, A.; Dayan, U.; Halicz, L.; Almogi-Labin, A.; Schilman, B. Paleoclimate and location of the border between Mediterranean climate region and the Saharo–Arabian Desert as revealed by speleothems from the northern Negev Desert, Israel, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 249 (2006) no. 3-4, pp. 384-399 | DOI

[53] Vaufrey, R. Etude paleontologique In: Le paleolithique et le mesolithique du desert de Judee Archives de l’Institute de paleontologie humaine. (ed Neuville R ) (1951), pp. 198-217

[54] Wickham, H.; Averick, M.; Bryan, J.; Chang, W.; McGowan, L.; François, R.; Grolemund, G.; Hayes, A.; Henry, L.; Hester, J.; Kuhn, M.; Pedersen, T.; Miller, E.; Bache, S.; Müller, K.; Ooms, J.; Robinson, D.; Seidel, D.; Spinu, V.; Takahashi, K.; Vaughan, D.; Wilke, C.; Woo, K.; Yutani, H. Welcome to the Tidyverse, Journal of Open Source Software, Volume 4 (2019) no. 43 | DOI

[55] Yeshurun, R.; Schneller-Pels, N.; Barzilai, O.; Marder, O. Early Upper Paleolithic subsistence in the Levant: Zooarchaeology of the Ahmarian–Aurignacian sequence at Manot Cave, Israel, Journal of Human Evolution, Volume 160 (2021) | DOI

[56] Yom-Tov, Y.; Mendelssohn, H. Fauna Palaestina, Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Section of Sciences, 1975

[57] Zeder, M. Reconciling rates of long bone fusion and tooth eruption and wear in sheep (Ovis) and goat (Capra), Recent advances in ageing and sexing animal bones, Volume 9 (2006), pp. 87-118

[58] Zituni, R.; Greenbaum, N.; Porat, N.; Benito, G. Magnitude, frequency and hazard assessment of the largest floods in steep, mountainous bedrock channels of the Southern Judean Desert, Israel, Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, Volume 37 (2021) | DOI

Cited by Sources: