This study is the first in depth raw material analysis ever conducted for a Lower Palaeolithic assemblage in Turkey. The goals were the characterisation and provenance studies of the lithic materials for chipped stone production in the assemblage of the Karain Cave. The results provided unprecedented insights into Lower Paleolithic resource management in southwest Turkey.
The Karain Cave is located in southwestern Turkey and represents one of the key sites for the Palaeolithic in the region. The current study is the first in-depth raw material study ever conducted for a Lower Palaeolithic assemblage in Turkey. The goal was to characterise the lithic materials in the assemblage, and provenance studies of the raw materials used for chipped stone tool production. For this study, 53 lithic artefacts from various levels in the Karain Lower Palaeolithic deposit were investigated through stereomicroscopy and geochemistry.
The results of our examinations of the archaeological artefacts were compared with data of geological samples collected from two river sources in the vicinity of the site as geological comparative samples, the Burhan and Kızılin Rivers.
A preference tendency towards material derived from the Burhan River, which is located further away from the site than Kızılin, was initially hypothesised based on microscopic analyses. However, the results of geochemical analyses showed that indeed materials from both rivers were used almost to the same extent.
Follow up studies are planned to increase the number of geological samples from a larger catchment area of Karain and gain a fuller understanding of resource management strategies of the Lower Palaeolithic inhabitants of Karain Cave and potentially other sites in the region.
Yavuz Aydın (University of Ankara, Department of Archaeology)
Dr. Anton Oelzelt-Newin’sche Stiftung, OeAW