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K. Kris Hirst

Sites You Should Know: Ohalo II

By February 13, 2013

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Ohalo II is an amazingly well-preserved and important late Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherer community located on Lake Kinneret in the Rift Valley of Israel.

Groundsel (Senecio glaucus)
Groundsel (Senecio glaucus), one of many flowers represented by seeds and plant parts in the assemblage from Ohalo II.

Ohalo II is a submerged site and excavation continues only when Kinneret lake levels drop: that's what preserved the organic matter for the past 23,000 years. Further, Ohalo was discovered in 1989, and so it has had the benefit of modern archaeological techniques.

Largely because most sites of its age do not have even close to the levels of preservation seen here, Ohalo II has the earliest known evidence of string-making, early evidence of consumption of emmer wheat and the earliest use of flowers: the site is a record of hunter-gatherer exploitation of an astonishingly wide variety of animals and plants, helping archaeologists illuminate this period in our history.


February 13, 2013 at 6:10 pm
(1) Dave Webb says:

Not everyone will know where Kinneret Lake is, so in traditional archaeological reporting fashion you really ought to include a map showing the site’s location.

February 18, 2013 at 8:23 am
(2) Kris Hirst says:

Great advice, Dave. Thanks! By they way, the other name for Lake Kinneret is the Sea of Galilee, if that helps.

February 19, 2013 at 7:57 am
(3) Rafi says:

Kris, that helps

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