Ohalo II

An update to Vol. 3, p. 1166.

By Dani Nadel


Excavation at Ohalo II in 1991 continued the work commenced in 1989 and 1990. Three additional field seasons were conducted in 1999–2001. The new work was directed by D. Nadel on behalf of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology of the University of Haifa. Based on the material remains (flint tools) retrieved from these excavations, the site is assigned to the very beginning of the Epipaleolithic period.

Trenches totaling over 100 m in length were excavated. The underlying lacustrine layers are composed of clay, sand, and silt, representing one of the final stages of the northern facies of Lake Lisan. In the eastern and western sectors of the site a sequence of three major depositional units was revealed: unit I, post-occupational lacustrine layers; unit II, in-situ archaeological features and related sediments; and unit III, pre-occupational lacustrine layers—the Lisan Formation. Unit I was eroded in the central area of excavation. The geological observations and analyses indicate that the site was located on the beach of a fluctuating lake. It was inundated several times, and occupation episodes took advantage of the low-water intervals. After the site was completely abandoned, it was immediately submerged below calm, relatively deep water. Fine sediments sealed the site for millennia. The oxygen-poor conditions prevented the decomposition of the organic materials, thus preserving unique elements rarely found at contemporaneous or even later sites.

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