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The presence of burned seeds, wood, and flint at the Acheulian site of Gesher Benot Ya'aqov in Israel is suggestive of the control of fire by humans nearly 790,000 years ago. The distribution of the site's small burned flint fragments suggests that burning occurred in specific spots, possibly indicating hearth locations. Wood of six taxa was burned at the(More)
It is generally accepted that the fig tree was domesticated in the Near East some 6500 years ago. Here we report the discovery of nine carbonized fig fruits and hundreds of drupelets stored in Gilgal I, an early Neolithic village, located in the Lower Jordan Valley, which dates to 11,400 to 11,200 years ago. We suggest that these edible fruits were gathered(More)
An ancient date seed (Phoenix dactylifera L.) excavated from Masada and radiocarbon-dated to the first century Common Era was germinated. Climatic conditions at the Dead Sea may have contributed to the longevity of this oldest, directly dated, viable seed. Growth and development of the seedling over 26 months was compatible with normal date seedlings(More)
The Acheulean site of Gesher Benot Ya'aqov in the Dead Sea Rift of Israel documents hominin movements and technological development on a corridor between Africa and Eurasia. New age data place the site at 780,000 years ago (oxygen isotope stage 19), considerably older than previous estimates. The archaeological data from the site portray strong affinities(More)
The spatial designation of discrete areas for different activities reflects formalized conceptualization of a living space. The results of spatial analyses of a Middle Pleistocene Acheulian archaeological horizon (about 750,000 years ago) at Gesher Benot Ya'aqov, Israel, indicate that hominins differentiated their activities (stone knapping, tool use,(More)
Charred seeds of horsebean (Vicia faba L.) from the seventh millennium B.C. that were found at Yiftah'el, Israel, push back the known use of this vetch by about 2000 years. Horsebean should be included in the ensemble of legumes grown by some early Neolithic people. The site, situated near the southwest outlet of Biq'at Bet Netofa, lies in a valley with(More)
Experimental archaeology at a Natufian site in the Southern Levant documents for the first time the use of 12,500-year-old rock-cut mortars for producing wild barley flour, some 2,000 to 3,000 years before cereal cultivation. Our reconstruction involved processing wild barley on the prehistoric threshing floor, followed by use of the conical mortars (a(More)