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Composite Sickles and Cereal Harvesting Methods at 23,000-Years-Old Ohalo II, Israel

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ABSTRACT

Use-wear analysis of five glossed flint blades found at Ohalo II, a 23,000-years-old fisher-hunter-gatherers’ camp on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Northern Israel, provides the earliest evidence for the use of composite cereal harvesting tools. The wear traces indicate that tools were used for harvesting near-ripe semi-green wild cereals, shortly before grains are ripe and disperse naturally. The studied tools were not used intensively, and they reflect two harvesting modes: flint knives held by hand and inserts hafted in a handle. The finds shed new light on cereal harvesting techniques some 8,000 years before the Natufian and 12,000 years before the establishment of sedentary farming communities in the Near East. Furthermore, the new finds accord well with evidence for the earliest ever cereal cultivation at the site and the use of stone-made grinding implements.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Artifact C86c with micrographs of the semi-ripe cereal use-wear polish and prehension wear: a: cereal prehension wear similar in its characteristics to the cereal use-wear polish, observed all along the right lateral edge, surpassing the distal part to the opposite left lateral indicating the area in contact with the palm (x100); b-c: semi-ripe cereal use-wear polish developed to a low degree, characterized by a reticular distribution and domed polish that developed on protruding surfaces of the flint, with linked polished surface observed right on the edge (x200, x100).
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pone.0167151.g008: Artifact C86c with micrographs of the semi-ripe cereal use-wear polish and prehension wear: a: cereal prehension wear similar in its characteristics to the cereal use-wear polish, observed all along the right lateral edge, surpassing the distal part to the opposite left lateral indicating the area in contact with the palm (x100); b-c: semi-ripe cereal use-wear polish developed to a low degree, characterized by a reticular distribution and domed polish that developed on protruding surfaces of the flint, with linked polished surface observed right on the edge (x200, x100).

Mentions: The glossed blades vary in morphology and dimensions (Table 1). The blades were produced of local flint nodules commonly used at the site. A study of 300 complete blades from six loci clearly illustrates the general tendency to manufacture and use small blades: the average length in all six samples ranges between 32.1 mm and 39.1 mm (Table 2). Thus, all five specimens discussed here are much longer and, for that matter, are also wider and thicker than the average blade at the site. The glossed blades may have been produced on-site, as blade cores, large primary elements and large core trimming elements are present.


Composite Sickles and Cereal Harvesting Methods at 23,000-Years-Old Ohalo II, Israel
Artifact C86c with micrographs of the semi-ripe cereal use-wear polish and prehension wear: a: cereal prehension wear similar in its characteristics to the cereal use-wear polish, observed all along the right lateral edge, surpassing the distal part to the opposite left lateral indicating the area in contact with the palm (x100); b-c: semi-ripe cereal use-wear polish developed to a low degree, characterized by a reticular distribution and domed polish that developed on protruding surfaces of the flint, with linked polished surface observed right on the edge (x200, x100).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5120854&req=5

pone.0167151.g008: Artifact C86c with micrographs of the semi-ripe cereal use-wear polish and prehension wear: a: cereal prehension wear similar in its characteristics to the cereal use-wear polish, observed all along the right lateral edge, surpassing the distal part to the opposite left lateral indicating the area in contact with the palm (x100); b-c: semi-ripe cereal use-wear polish developed to a low degree, characterized by a reticular distribution and domed polish that developed on protruding surfaces of the flint, with linked polished surface observed right on the edge (x200, x100).
Mentions: The glossed blades vary in morphology and dimensions (Table 1). The blades were produced of local flint nodules commonly used at the site. A study of 300 complete blades from six loci clearly illustrates the general tendency to manufacture and use small blades: the average length in all six samples ranges between 32.1 mm and 39.1 mm (Table 2). Thus, all five specimens discussed here are much longer and, for that matter, are also wider and thicker than the average blade at the site. The glossed blades may have been produced on-site, as blade cores, large primary elements and large core trimming elements are present.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Use-wear analysis of five glossed flint blades found at Ohalo II, a 23,000-years-old fisher-hunter-gatherers’ camp on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Northern Israel, provides the earliest evidence for the use of composite cereal harvesting tools. The wear traces indicate that tools were used for harvesting near-ripe semi-green wild cereals, shortly before grains are ripe and disperse naturally. The studied tools were not used intensively, and they reflect two harvesting modes: flint knives held by hand and inserts hafted in a handle. The finds shed new light on cereal harvesting techniques some 8,000 years before the Natufian and 12,000 years before the establishment of sedentary farming communities in the Near East. Furthermore, the new finds accord well with evidence for the earliest ever cereal cultivation at the site and the use of stone-made grinding implements.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus