Publications by authors named "Anna Belfer-Cohen"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Personal ornaments from Hayonim and Manot caves (Israel) hint at symbolic ties between the Levantine and the European Aurignacian.

J Hum Evol 2020 Sep 10:102870. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 91905, Israel.

Situated at the crossroads of Africa and Eurasia, the Levant is a crucial region for understanding the origins and spread of Upper Paleolithic (UP) traditions associated with the spread of modern humans. Of the two local Early Upper Paleolithic technocomplexes, the Ahmarian and the Levantine Aurignacian, the latter appears to be unique in the endemic UP sequence, exhibiting greater similarity to the West European 'classic' Aurignacian than to the local preceding and proceeding UP entities. Previous publications have mostly focused on the similarities between the two lithic industries and less on studies conducted on Levantine Aurignacian bone tools and ornaments. Here, we present an archaeozoological, technological and use-wear study of ornaments on animal teeth from the Levantine Aurignacian layers at Manot and Hayonim caves (the Galilee, Israel). The selection of taxa, the choice of teeth, the mode of modification, and the use-wear analysis exhibit clear similarities with the European Aurignacian. This, with the technology of the osseous raw material exploitation, the presence of antler simple-base points, and some lithic typotechnological features, suggest a link between the symbolic spheres of the Levantine and the European Aurignacian cultural entities. Such similarity also supports some contribution of European Aurignacians groups to the local cultural entities, intermingling with the local material culture features.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2020.102870DOI Listing
September 2020

Reappraisal of hominin group size in the Lower Paleolithic: An introduction to the special issue.

J Hum Evol 2020 07 1;144:102821. Epub 2020 Jun 1.

Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mt. Scopus, 919051, Jerusalem Israel.

View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2020.102821DOI Listing
July 2020

Prehistoric Perspectives on "Others" and "Strangers".

Front Psychol 2019 21;10:3063. Epub 2020 Jan 21.

The Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.

Social "connectivity" through time is currently considered as one of the major drivers of cultural transmission and cultural evolution. Within this framework, the interactions within and between groups are impacted by individuals' distinction of social relationships. In this paper, we focus on changes in a major aspect of social perceptions, "other" and "stranger." As inferred from the archaeological record, this perception among human groups gained importance during the course of the Pleistocene. These changes would have occurred due to the plasticity of cognitive mechanisms, in response to the demands on behavior along the trajectory of human social evolution. The concepts of "other" and "stranger" have received little attention in the archaeological discourse, yet they are fundamental in the perception of social standing. The property of being an "other" is defined by one's perception and is inherent to one's view of the world around oneself; when shared by a group it becomes a social cognitive construct. Allocating an individual the status of a "stranger" is a socially-defined state that is potentially transient. We hypothesize that, while possibly entrenched in deep evolutionary origins, the latter is a relatively late addition to socio-cognitive categorization, associated with increased sedentism, larger groups and reduced territorial extent as part of the process of Neolithization. We posit that "others" and "strangers" can be approached from contextual archaeological data, with inferences as regards the evolution of cognitive social categories. Our analysis focused on raw material studies, observations on style, and evidence for craft specialization. We find that contrary to the null hypothesis the archaeological record implies earlier emergence of complex socio-cognitive categorization. The cognitive, cultural and social processes involved in the maintenance and distinction between "others" and "strangers" can be defined as "self-domestication" that is still an on-going process.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.03063DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6985552PMC
January 2020

Symbolic emblems of the Levantine Aurignacians as a regional entity identifier (Hayonim Cave, Lower Galilee, Israel).

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018 05 30;115(20):5145-5150. Epub 2018 Apr 30.

Institute of Earth Sciences, National Natural History Collections, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 91904 Jerusalem, Israel;

The Levantine Aurignacian is a unique phenomenon in the local Upper Paleolithic sequence, showing greater similarity to the West European classic Aurignacian than to the local Levantine archaeological entities preceding and following it. Herewith we highlight another unique characteristic of this entity, namely, the presence of symbolic objects in the form of notched bones (mostly gazelle scapulae) from the Aurignacian levels of Hayonim Cave, Lower Galilee, Israel. Through both macroscopic and microscopic analyses of the items, we suggest that they are not mere cut marks but rather are intentional (decorative?) human-made markings. The significance of this evidence for symbolic behavior is discussed in its chrono-cultural and geographical contexts. Notched bones are among the oldest symbolic expressions of anatomically modern humans. However, unlike other Paleolithic sites where such findings were reported in single numbers, the number of these items recovered at Hayonim Cave is sufficient to assume they possibly served as an emblem of the Levantine Aurignacian.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1717145115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5960287PMC
May 2018

Morphological description and morphometric analyses of the Upper Palaeolithic human remains from Dzudzuana and Satsurblia caves, western Georgia.

J Hum Evol 2017 12 3;113:83-90. Epub 2017 Sep 3.

Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Bologna, Via Ddegli Ariani 1, 48121 Ravenna, Italy; Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, Germany. Electronic address:

View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.07.011DOI Listing
December 2017

Nahal Ein Gev II, a Late Natufian Community at the Sea of Galilee.

PLoS One 2016 27;11(1):e0146647. Epub 2016 Jan 27.

Department of Anthropology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 02138, United States of America.

The Natufian culture is of great importance as a starting point to investigate the dynamics of the transition to agriculture. Given its chronological position at the threshold of the Neolithic (ca. 12,000 years ago) and its geographic setting in the productive Jordan Valley, the site of Nahal Ein Gev II (NEG II) reveals aspects of the Late Natufian adaptations and its implications for the transition to agriculture. The size of the site, the thick archaeological deposits, invested architecture and multiple occupation sub-phases reveal a large, sedentary community at least on par with Early Natufian camps in the Mediterranean zone. Although the NEG II lithic tool kit completely lacks attributes typical of succeeding Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) assemblages, the artistic style is more closely related to the early PPNA world, despite clear roots in Early Natufian tradition. The site does not conform to current perceptions of the Late Natufians as a largely mobile population coping with reduced resource productivity caused by the Younger Dryas. Instead, the faunal and architectural data suggest that the sedentary populations of the Early Natufian did not revert back to a nomadic way of life in the Late Natufian in the Jordan Valley. NEG II encapsulates cultural characteristics typical of both Natufian and PPNA traditions and thus bridges the crossroads between Late Paleolithic foragers and Neolithic farmers.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0146647PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4729465PMC
July 2016

Upper Palaeolithic genomes reveal deep roots of modern Eurasians.

Nat Commun 2015 Nov 16;6:8912. Epub 2015 Nov 16.

Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland.

We extend the scope of European palaeogenomics by sequencing the genomes of Late Upper Palaeolithic (13,300 years old, 1.4-fold coverage) and Mesolithic (9,700 years old, 15.4-fold) males from western Georgia in the Caucasus and a Late Upper Palaeolithic (13,700 years old, 9.5-fold) male from Switzerland. While we detect Late Palaeolithic-Mesolithic genomic continuity in both regions, we find that Caucasus hunter-gatherers (CHG) belong to a distinct ancient clade that split from western hunter-gatherers ∼45 kya, shortly after the expansion of anatomically modern humans into Europe and from the ancestors of Neolithic farmers ∼25 kya, around the Last Glacial Maximum. CHG genomes significantly contributed to the Yamnaya steppe herders who migrated into Europe ∼3,000 BC, supporting a formative Caucasus influence on this important Early Bronze age culture. CHG left their imprint on modern populations from the Caucasus and also central and south Asia possibly marking the arrival of Indo-Aryan languages.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms9912DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4660371PMC
November 2015

Satsurblia: new insights of human response and survival across the Last Glacial Maximum in the southern Caucasus.

PLoS One 2014 29;9(10):e111271. Epub 2014 Oct 29.

Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.

The region of western Georgia (Imereti) has been a major geographic corridor for human migrations during the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic (MP/UP). Knowledge of the MP and UP in this region, however, stems mostly from a small number of recent excavations at the sites of Ortvale Klde, Dzudzuana, Bondi, and Kotias Klde. These provide an absolute chronology for the Late MP and MP-UP transition, but only a partial perspective on the nature and timing of UP occupations, and limited data on how human groups in this region responded to the harsh climatic oscillations between 37,000-11,500 years before present. Here we report new UP archaeological sequences from fieldwork in Satsurblia cavein the same region. A series of living surfaces with combustion features, faunal remains, stone and bone tools, and ornaments provide new information about human occupations in this region (a) prior to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) at 25.5-24.4 ka cal. BP and (b) after the LGM at 17.9-16.2 ka cal. BP. The latter provides new evidence in the southern Caucasus for human occupation immediately after the LGM. The results of the campaigns in Satsurblia and Dzudzuana suggest that at present the most plausible scenario is one of a hiatus in the occupation of this region during the LGM (between 24.4-17.9 ka cal. BP). Analysis of the living surfaces at Satsurblia offers information about human activities such as the production and utilisation of lithics and bone tools, butchering, cooking and consumption of meat and wild cereals, the utilisation of fibers, and the use of certain woods. Microfaunal and palynological analyses point to fluctuations in the climate with consequent shifts in vegetation and the faunal spectrum not only before and after the LGM, but also during the two millennia following the end of the LGM.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111271PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4213019PMC
June 2015

30,000-year-old wild flax fibers.

Science 2009 Sep;325(5946):1359

Institute of Paleobiology, National Museum of Georgia, Tbilisi 380007, Georgia.

A unique finding of wild flax fibers from a series of Upper Paleolithic layers at Dzudzuana Cave, located in the foothills of the Caucasus, Georgia, indicates that prehistoric hunter-gatherers were making cords for hafting stone tools, weaving baskets, or sewing garments. Radiocarbon dates demonstrate that the cave was inhabited intermittently during several periods dated to 32 to 26 thousand years before the present (kyr B.P.), 23 to 19 kyr B.P., and 13 to 11 kyr B.P. Spun, dyed, and knotted flax fibers are common. Apparently, climatic fluctuations recorded in the cave's deposits did not affect the growth of the plants because a certain level of humidity was sustained.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1175404DOI Listing
September 2009

A 12,000-year-old Shaman burial from the southern Levant (Israel).

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2008 Nov 3;105(46):17665-9. Epub 2008 Nov 3.

Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel.

The Natufians of the southern Levant (15,000-11,500 cal BP) underwent pronounced socioeconomic changes associated with the onset of sedentism and the shift from a foraging to farming lifestyle. Excavations at the 12,000-year-old Natufian cave site, Hilazon Tachtit (Israel), have revealed a grave that provides a rare opportunity to investigate the ideological shifts that must have accompanied these socioeconomic changes. The grave was constructed and specifically arranged for a petite, elderly, and disabled woman, who was accompanied by exceptional grave offerings. The grave goods comprised 50 complete tortoise shells and select body-parts of a wild boar, an eagle, a cow, a leopard, and two martens, as well as a complete human foot. The interment rituals and the method used to construct and seal the grave suggest that this is the burial of a shaman, one of the earliest known from the archaeological record. Several attributes of this burial later become central in the spiritual arena of human cultures worldwide.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0806030105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2584673PMC
November 2008

Dating the demise: neandertal extinction and the establishment of modern humans in the southern Caucasus.

J Hum Evol 2008 Nov 18;55(5):817-33. Epub 2008 Oct 18.

Department of Anthropology, 354 Mansfield Road, Unit 2176, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-2176, USA.

This paper considers the recent radiometric dating (14C-AMS, TL, ESR) of 76 late Middle and early Upper Paleolithic samples from Ortvale Klde Rockshelter, located in the Republic of Georgia. We present a critical evaluation of each date based on its stratigraphic and archaeological context, its pretreatment and contamination history, and its resulting accuracy and precision, the goal being to establish a sound chronology for the site. Only by systematically identifying aberrant dates within a data set and isolating them from further analysis can we hope to understand cultural and biological phenomena on an accurate temporal scale. Based on the strict discard protocol outlined here, we omit 25% of the dated samples from the analysis. The remaining data speak to the lengthy tenure of Neandertals in the region, but also to their relatively rapid demise and the establishment of modern human populations approximately 38-34 ka 14C BP (42-39 kacalBP(Hulu)). We compare these chronometric data with those from the neighboring sites of Bronze and Dzudzuana caves, as well as Mezmaiskaya Cave, located in the northern Caucasus. While the lack of key contextual information limit our ability to subject these other data sets to the same critical evaluation procedure, they provide the first interregional temporal assessment of the Middle to Upper Paleolithic "transition," the results of which suggest an initial expansion of modern humans into the southern Caucasus followed by expansion along the Black Sea coast and into the northern Caucasus.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2008.08.010DOI Listing
November 2008