Levallois retouched tools made of chert. Mousterian (ca. 250,000–45,000 years ago). Tabun and Skhul caves, Israel. Near Eastern Archaeology, American School of Prehistoric Research Collections. Top row: UMMAA 6569. Bottom row: UMMAA 6570 (l), UMMAA 7079 (r).

The Mount Carmel range on Israel’s Mediterranean coast is renowned in archaeology for its deep cave sites. Stratified deposits at Tabun, el-Wad, and Skhul caves preserve evidence of half a million years of human biological and cultural evolution. The sites also have a deep history of archaeological research, beginning in 1929 and continuing to the present. U-M archaeologists who have worked in the region include Arthur Jelinek, William Farrand, John Speth, and Brian Stewart. The retouched tools shown here, recovered by early excavators from Tabun and Skhul, belong to the Middle Paleolithic Mousterian industry (250,000–45,000 years ago). They were manufactured using Levallois flaking techniques, in which the makers—likely Neanderthals—carefully trimmed a core to the desired tool shape before removing the prepared flake tool. The Levallois point in the lower right may have been hafted to a wooden spear; the other tools would have been used in a variety of tasks processing plant and animal resources. The tools came to the Museum in 1935 via the American School for Prehistoric Research in Europe.

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In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.