Eyal 23

By Avraham Ronen


The Lower Paleolithic site Eyal 23 is located in the eastern Sharon Coastal Plain. The plain is composed mainly of beds of quartz sand separated by red loams (ḥamra soils). In its western part, the sand is consolidated by carbonates to form sandstone (kurkar); in the eastern, consolidation is rare and soft sand predominates.

The site was excavated in 1996–97 as a salvage project, part of the construction of the Trans-Israel Highway, directed by A. Ronen of the University of Haifa. It is on a hill 67 m above mean sea level near Kibbutz Eyal. The eastern slope of the hill was excavated, revealing a thick series of red loams overlying a sand layer.


The following stratigraphy was observed:

Unit 1a: A brown-gray grumusol c. 0.5 m thick.

Unit 1b: Dark brown-gray grumusol c. 1.5 m thick, with a higher clay content than unit 1a.

Unit 2: A transition zone, 0.5 m thick, between the grumusol and the red loam of unit 3.

Unit 3: The upper red loam, very hard, c. 0.6 m thick.

Unit 4: The lower red loam, c. 1 m thick, less hard than unit 3.

Unit 5: A glei, c. 1 m visible thickness till the base of excavation.

The underlying unconsolidated sand (archaeologically sterile, as always on the Coastal Plain) is exposed in a quarry a few hundred meters to the west.

The following interpretation may be offered of the sequence described above: Unit 1 was accumulated under marsh conditions and the sediment is an alluvial deposit originating in the east. Units 2 through 5 were developed from aeolian sands transported from the seashore in the west. The glei of unit 5 indicates the position of ground water. Attempts to date the Eyal sediments by thermoluminescence (TL) and infrared stimulated luminescence (IRSL) methods were unsuccessful.

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