Source of the Stone: Lithic Procurement and Provisioning at a Desert Refugium in the Azraq Basin, Jordan




Skead, Colton D.

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Changes in mobility patterns by hunter-gatherers in water-stressed regions of the world has long been viewed as a risk mitigation strategy. Tied into these decisions are the ways in which they provision themselves and procure resources. Foragers of the distant past are no exception, but the nature of their survival is not fully understood. The Middle Pleistocene site of C-Spring in the Azraq Basin, Jordan, is an appropriate case study at which to investigate such issues. C-Spring, excavated by Dr. Andrew Garrard, is located directly adjacent to the only stable water source in the region, the Azraq wetlands, and has yielded an impressive cache of Acheulean remains. In order to reconstruct the mobility patterns, a provenance analysis is conducted to reveal the catchment areas most frequently utilized by the hominins. This was performed with data collected by Individual Attribute Analysis (IAA) and Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) of both the known sources in the region and the lithic artifacts. The results show that the majority of raw material was procured locally (5-10 km). This suggests hominins tethered themselves to water in the region for resource security, yet still ventured among the surrounding landscape, remaining within a day’s range to the secure resources offered by the Azraq wetlands. As such, C-Spring offers unique insight into how hominins of the Middle Pleistocene survived in marginalized desert environments.



Paleolithic, Azraq, Levant, Acheulean, Geoarchaeology, Provenance, Lithics, Chert, Mobility, Provisioning