Epipaleolithic Deposits in Üçağızlı I cave

Sediments cemented to the back walls indicate that Üçağızlı I cave once contained substantial late Upper Paleolithic and Epipaleolithic occupations. Most of this evidence was lost to erosion when the cave collapsed. However, a small pocket of Epipaleolithic sediment was preserved in the extreme southwest corner of the site. These sediments were relatively rich, thus giving us a glimpse of the early Epipaleolithic in the region.


The Epipaleolithic artifact assemblage is distinguished by microlithic artifacts, principally backed and retouched bladelets. The most common formal artifact forms are micro-Gravettes. A few larger implements, such as endscrapers and burins are also present. A single AMS radiocarbon date of 17,530 ± 140 BP is consistent with the contents of the artifact assemblage and suggests that this is a comparatively early Epipaleolithic assemblage. The lithic industry correspons most closely to the early Kebaran phase in the central and southern Levant.


The faunal assemblage associated with the Epipaleolithic artifacts is noteworthy for the high frequencies of small terrestrial game, such as rabbits and birds, as well as shellfish remains. In this regard, it is consistent with the broadening of diets in the eastern Mediterranean observed by Stiner et al. (2000) and others. The associated ornaments are also exceptionally diverse, especially given the small size of the collection. This is the only place in Üçağızlı I cave where Dentalium is found in significant quantity.


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Artifact Assemblage