The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)

The Northern Levantine corridor: the Paleolithic of Lebanon


Department of Paleoanthropology, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Paleoenvironments

March 27, 2015 9:00, Grand Ballroom D Add to calendar

Throughout history and prehistory, the Levant has played the role of a land-bridge connecting continents and human populations and cultures. This role began with the earliest expansions of hominins out of Africa around the beginning of the Pleistocene and continued through the Middle and Upper Pleistocene when the region was occupied alternatingly (and possibly at times simultaneously) by Neandertals and anatomically modern humans dispersing from Europe and Africa respectively. At the end of the Pleistocene, the Levant formed a corridor through which modern humans crossed into Europe. Yet, even though the Levant is an extremely important region for palaeoanthropological research, major gaps in such research in this region remain. Unlike its southern part, the Paleolithic record of an important area of its northern part, i.e., Lebanon, remains virtually unexplored, with the exception of a handful of surveys and small number of excavated sites. In spite of their relative paucity, these surveys have identified hundreds of sites spanning all periods of the Paleolithic. Moreover, the few excavations illustrate the importance of Lebanese sites in enhancing our understanding of later human evolution. The site of Ksar Akil, for example, holds evidence for some of the earliest associations of modern human fossils with early, and possibly also initial, Upper Paleolithic assemblages. This paper presents a synthesis of the Lebanese Paleolithic record available from published as well as unpublished survey and excavation results. It will also place this record in the broader Levantine context and will discuss future plans for paleoanthropological work in Lebanon.