The Wadi Madamagh (Petra Region, Jordan) Late Upper Paleolithic and Initial/Early Epipaleolithic Lithic Components

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Deborah I. Olszewski
Maysoon al-Nahar
Daniel Schyle
Brian F. Byrd
Hannah Parow-Souchon


Wadi Madamagh is a key site for the Late Upper Paleolithic and the Initial/Early Epipaleolithic in the Petra region of Jordan. First excavated in 1956 by Diana Kirkbride, it was subsequently tested in 1983, and excavated by two separate teams in the summer and fall of 2011. The approaches to classifying and describing the lithic industries thus have varied as a result of different technological and typological systems used by the various teams, as well as the accumulating regional data for these two temporal periods over the more than six decades since Kirkbride’s excavations. Several of the authors (DIO, MN, DS, and BFB) were responsible for these separate lithic analyses and the 1983 (DS) and 2011 (DIO, MN, DS) excavations. Here, we examine our previous lithic analyses for Wadi Madamagh and then integrate these into a single set of analyses to produce a unified description for the Late Upper Paleolithic and Initial/Early Epipaleolithic at this site. Recently obtained calibrated radiocarbon dates for the two occupations at Wadi Madamagh suggest that there is little temporal separation, although the lithic industries are distinctively different. We assess these two lithic components from Wadi Madamagh in the context of the Petra region (Sabra 4-Palmview 3, Sabra 3 North, Taibeh, and Sabra 3 South). Finally, we examine the Late Upper Paleolithic and Initial/Early Epipaleolithic at Wadi Madamagh from the perspective of the eastern (inland) Levant using comparisons to the two well-investigated regions of the Wadi al-Hasa and the Azraq Basin to the northeast.

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