The excavation at Ramat Rachel revealed important aspects regarding the site geology, post depositional processes, function and chronology.
Geologically, the origin of Unit 3 sediments is probably a combination of two processes: (1) Long-distance dust transport and deposition from distal sources (i.e., the Sahara). The chert of the Mishash formation usually forms a rough landscape, making it an ideal trap for eolian dust; and (2) In-situ chemical weathering of bedrock and of eolian dust that can partly explain the high amount of clay minerals. Unit 2 is assumed to be mostly of eolian origin, since no rock outcrops were available for chemical weathering during its formation.
The major post-depositional process at the site seems to have been a vertical movement (Pedo-turbation). The Paleosol of Unit 3, which contained most of the flint artifacts, shows the characteristics of a swelling clay soil (vertisol): clay texture, weakly expressed horizontality, lack of color change, slikenslides and wavy micro-relief. These findings suggest Pedo-turbation of the soil.
The upper boundary of Paleosol in Unit 3 is a sharp wavy micro-relief, known as gilgai, which is common in swelling clay soils, such as Vertisols. This boundary is also an unconformity that probably marks the decrease in the accumulation/formation rate of Unit 3. The occurrence of the calcite nodules in Unit 3 is probably related also to this unconformity, which enabled soil development and the calcite accumulation, 0.5 m below the contact. It is suggested that during this time (the unconformity between Units 3 and 2), the Palaeolithic site was active, namely knapping activity took place. Since the soil Pedo-turbation continued due to wetting and drying cycles, the flint artifacts fell into the exposed cracks, moving downward and later upward through the soil. This process is probably also responsible for the abrasion of the tools and the patina.
Nevertheless, we can not rule out the possibility that the genuine site was set in the lower part of Unit 3, close to the contact with bedrock, because the flint items, including large flint blocks, are embedded within Unit 3, having no horizontal order. Furthermore, the decrement in density along the profile (from Unit 3 to Unit 1) suggests that they had come from below.
The site function is quite difficult to estimate, since it is in secondary deposition and no organic materials (bones) were preserved. However, we assume it is related to the flint source, as large chert blocks were found embedded in Unit 3. These indicate the proximity of a flint exposure/s and even today, brecciated Campanian chert exposures are visible in at least three localities within the site area (see Fig. 2).
Chronologically, it is rather difficult to date the lithic assemblage as it comprised
mainly non-diagnostic flake products. Still, it seems to share characteristics with
levels A1–2 at ‘Emeq Refa’im, which were attributed by the excavators to the
Achelo-Yabrudian complex (Arensburg, B. and O. Bar Yosef. 1962. Emeq Rephaim
(1962 excavation). Mitekufat Haeven 4-5:1–16). Both sites have a high occurrence of
unprepared flakes, accompanied by low indices of Levallois and dominance of
scrapers within the tools is discerned. Technologically, the Ramat Rahel assemblage
fits the Late Lower Palaeolithic/early Middle Palaeolithic period, due to the high
presence of unprepared flakes that are produced from polyhedral and central surface
cores, together with a minor presence of Levallois flakes, resembling the assemblage
from Kefar Menahem Lashon (Goren N. 1979. Kefar Menahem Lashon. Mitekufat Haeven 16:69–87).
The site of Ramat Rahel, together with ‘Emeq Refa’im and the recently discovered Kalandiya site, indicate that the Jerusalem area was inhabited during the Palaeolithic period. At present, it seems that all three are open air sites located next to flint sources. Their occurrence at the top of the Judean hills must have been interlinked with other sites in the region, possibly with some of the cave sites in the Judean desert.