The Excavations

Four seasons of excavations were conducted at the site since 1996 (Mitekufat Haeven 28, 1998:21–54; ESI 20:113*–114*). Two main areas of excavation (A, B) were opened in the first season to salvage the remains found in a collapsing section and to determine the extent of the archaeological deposits. A third excavation area (C) was opened in the second and third seasons (1998–1999). During the 2004 season, work was concentrated in Areas B and C that were substantially enlarged and a fourth area (D) was opened. Furthermore, two trenches (length 12 and 23 m respectively), aiming to correlate the stratigraphy of Areas B and C, were excavated. Altogether, a total of 250 sq m, composed of 170 sq m at the site and c. 80 sq m in the trenches, were investigated.


Area B was divided into three sub-areas, North, Center and South and Area C––into two sub-areas, West and East. The majority of the archaeological remains in Area B was excavated directly on the contact of Unit 3 with Unit 2. Two archaeological layers were discerned (B1 and B2 from top to bottom; Fig. 3). While Layer B1 was very limited in extent, containing a few finds and identified mostly in sub-area North, B2 was a most distinct layer (c. 70 sq m). The greater part of finds in both layers was exposed in horizontal position, whereas the large animal bones were found in pits.

The most complete stratigraphical sequence was encountered in Area C (c. 80 sq m), where five archaeological layers (C1–C5) were identified in sub-Area West (see Fig. 2). Layers C1–C4 were discerned within Unit 2, while Layer C5 was exposed directly on the contact between Units 2 and 3. Layers C2 and C3 (each c. 15–20 cm thick) in sub-areas West and East (Figs. 4, 5) contained the highest density of flint artifacts and bones at the site (c. 150–200 per sq m). Layer C5 apparently correlated with Layer B2.


The Flint Tools

Flakes formed 90% of the flint-tool assemblage. A small number of core-tools, mainly hand axes and core-choppers, especially in Layers B1, B2 and C5, were also found (Fig. 6). A few spheroids were encountered in Area D. The hand axes were divided into two groups according to their stratigraphic ascription. Those originating from the earlier layers (the majority of the hand axes at the site) are characterized by thick pointed shapes, namely amigdaloids, lanceolates and thick pointed ovates (Fig. 7:1); thin, unpointed forms are rare. The hand axes from the later layers are short and relatively thin. Typologically, the later assemblage is characterized by discoidal forms, mostly irregular in shape with a low level of symmetry (Fig. 7:2). The bifacial shaping is usually partial, showing a low number of scars. In some cases where shaping was more intensive, it was probably performed by large, thick, thinning flakes. An interesting phenomenon is the recycling of hand axes into cores, most common in Area C. The detached pieces constituted the main component of lithic assemblages, wherein tools had a relatively high percentage. The typical tool kit consisted of a large variety of types, including awls, notches, denticulates and scrapers.


The Fauna

Hundreds of animal bones that appeared in all levels of occupation were retrieved from all seasons of excavation. The bones included bovids (Bos primigenius, Gazella gazella), cervids (Dama mesopotamica, Cervus elaphus, Capreolus cf. capreolus), pigs (Sus scrofa), equids, carnivores (Felis silvestris), rodents (Microtus guentheri, Spalax Ehrenbergi), carapace of chelonia and ophidia vertebrates. Although the faunal remains encompass numerous species, most of the bones are splinters that can rarely be identified as a body-sized group. However, the outstanding faunal remains from the Revadim Quarry are represented by the straight-tusk elephant (Palaeloxodon antiquus), which form the largest assemblage in the southern Levant, to date. The numerous bones from this species, which represent at least seven individuals, include mandible and teeth, scapula and pelvis (Fig. 8), a tusk (Fig. 9), vertebrae, ribs and long-bone shafts. The age of the elephants varies from young to old, including prime adults. Two items are possible bone tools; one is an elephant long bone whose one edge has been smoothed (Fig. 10) and the second is a modified detached flake.

Several large elephant bones were deposited in depressions in Layer B2, including the deposition of a pelvis on top of a mandible, on top of a tusk. These accumulations, not anatomically articulated, were found within an area of human activity that contained stone artifacts and bone ‘lumps’. However, at the present stage of research, it is not clear whether the presence of large bones within the pits was due to water action, probably over-bank flows and other post-depositional processes on the site, or direct human activity.



Paleomagnetic analyses on the geological sequence of the Revadim Quarry indicate that the site is of normal polarity (younger than 780,000 years BP). In addition, more samples were obtained in the last season to provide a more accurate dating of the occupation levels. Some samples analyzed the carbonate cortex of flint artifacts, utilizing the Uranium-Isotopic Series (M. Bar-Mathews) and gave new minimum dates of 400,000 years BP. Other samples will eventually be analyzed, using the Luminescence and the Electro Spin Resonance (ESR) methods.