Title: Late Pleistocene environmental and climate variability inferred from sediments at the open-air archeological site Jordan River Dureijat (Northeast Israel)
Doctoral candidate: Elizabeth Jo Bunin
Steffen Mischke, Professor at the Faculty of Earth Sciences
Dr. Birgit Plessen, Helmholtz Center GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Germany.
Dr. Ívar Örn Benediktsson, Adjunct Lecturer at the Faculty of Earth Sciences
Dr. Þorsteinn Þorsteinsson, Glaciologist at the Icelandic Met Office.
Northern Hemisphere climate variability during the late glacial may have influenced the development of human culture and society in the Levant, however, a shortage of well-dated, high-resolution proxy records from the region and a poor understanding of the chronological framework of the early Epipaleolithic impede attempts to understand the relationship between climate change and socioeconomic change during this time period. Furthermore, existing proxy reconstructions of Levantine late glacial environmental conditions have produced conflicting precipitation histories for this region, where hydroclimate change may have been especially important in the lives of the area’s late Pleistocene inhabitants. Here, three meters of lacustrine sediments have been collected from the open-air archaeological excavation Jordan River Dureijat, located on the east bank of the Jordan River in Israel’s Hula Valley. Occurring within this sequence of uniformly dark and fine-grained mud are seven horizons rich in mollusk remains and containing abundant stone tools. Radiocarbon dating of terrestrial charcoal fragments isolated from these sediments has enabled the construction of an age model for the site, providing ages for the shell-rich horizons—interpreted as periods of locally reduced water level—and constraining the chronology of the lower Epipaleolithic with a precision not previously possible and allowing proxy records produced from these sediments to be compared to other global and regional archives of environmental change during the last ten thousand years of the Pleistocene.