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The Earlier Palaeolithic of Syria

Reinvestigating the evidence from the Orontes and Euphrates Valleys

Andrew Shaw
University of Southampton Series in Archaeology


This monograph is concerned with understanding the behaviours and land use practices associated with earlier Palaeolithic hominins in Syria, through consideration of key archaeological assemblages from two important regions: the Orontes and Euphrates Valleys. The focus here is on three temporal bands – Earliest occupations (1.50 mya – 0.80 mya); the Lower Palaeolithic (800 kya – 350 kya); the Middle Palaeolithic (350 kya – 50 kya. The areas of the Orontes and Euphrates Valleys possess some of the most significant artefact collections from Syria, and indeed, the wider Near East. This is due to the fact that fluvial archives – such as those represented by the terrace staircases of the Rivers Orontes and Euphrates – are major repositories for earlier Palaeolithic material, and have historically been a primary research resource. They therefore provide a combination of an abundance of archaeological evidence and a significant archive of research activity.