Exploring Mid-Late Pleistocene lithic procurement strategies at Shishan Marsh 1: Preliminary geochemical characterization of chert sources around the Greater Azraq Oasis Area, Jordan
2019 Elsevier Ltd Recent excavations at the site of Shishan Marsh 1 in the Azraq basin, Jordan have uncovered several artifact-bearing layers that date within the Middle (266 ± 40 kya) and Late (125 ± 12 kya) Pleistocene. A paleoecological assessment of sediments from this period indicates predominantly warm and dry conditions in the region, similar to those of the present. Hominins living under these hot and dry conditions contracted around a receding spring- and wadi-fed water source for subsistence. As such, they were limited to the distances they could venture to acquire raw material resources. Consequently, Shishan Marsh 1 presents an opportunity to investigate lithic procurement strategies practiced by Paleolithic hominins in an arid environment. This paper presents the preliminary results of an on-going provenance study of lithic sources in the region and a sample of chert artifacts using LA-ICP-MS. The preliminary results indicate that predominantly local procurement was practiced. However, some artifacts were geochemically more consistent with distant sources and still others did not correlate with any sampled source. This latter group indicates that more sources need to be included, as there is greater variability within the Azraq basin than what is documented in this study.