Near Eastern - North African Acheulian Figurine Symbolizing Traditon / a)berekram, female figurine, Berekhat Ram, Israel, Upper Acheulian, 35 mm. high, basaltic tuff, 233,000-470,000 BP.

This artifact was found between upper and lower basalt flows, the upper dated to 233±3 kyr, but the lower dating is ambiguous, between 290 and 800 kyr, with an integrated age 470±8 kyr [Feraud, G. et al. (1983). 40Ar/39AR age limit for an Acheulian site in Israel. Nature 304:263-265]. The figurine was found three-quarters of the way down in the palaeosol between the two basalt layers. [Goren-Inbar, N. (1986). A figurine from the Acheulian site of Berekhat Ram. Mi-te kufat ha-even 19:7-12. Goren-Inbar, N. (1985). The lithic assemblage of the Berekhat Ram Acheulian site, Golan Heights. Paléorient 11/1:7-29. Goren-Inbar, N. (1995). Additional remarks on the Berekhat Ram figurine. Rock Art Reseasrch 12,2:131-132.]

A detailed analysis of this object was conducted by Alexander Marshack. [Marshack, A. (1997). The Berekhat Ram figurine: a late Acheulian carving from the Middle East. Antiquity 71:327-337]. Marshack observes that the artifact is the result of human workmanship; slight modifications accentuated a resemblance in natural form. The neck groove was apparently beveled; one arm bent at the elbow was carved on one side; the other arm hangs straight down; a shoulder was flattened-out; protuberances on one side ofthe head were carefully shaped by bevelling. The tuffic material below the surface is a "bright high-red". A large hole or vacule lined with black volcanic glass is at the approximate position of a 'navel.' A second analysis was done by d'Errico and Nowell (2000) confirming human workship. The bottom appears abraded to create a small, flat surface, perhaps to allow the object to stand. [D'Errico, F. and A. Nowell. (2000). A new look at the Berekhat Ram figurine: implications for the origin of symbolism. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 10:123-67].

Photograph © Alexander Marshack. Bahn, P. and Vertut, J. (1997). Journey through the Ice Age. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. fig. 2.2, photograph Alexander Marshack.

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