Epipalaeolithic settlement dynamics in southwest Asia: new radiocarbon evidence from the Azraq Basin


Correspondence: T. Richter, as above.

Email: richter@hum.ku.dk


A series of radiocarbon dates from two Epipalaeolithic sites – Kharaneh IV and Ayn Qasiyya – in the Azraq Basin of eastern Jordan provide a new perspective on the chronology and settlement patterns of this part of southwest Asia during the Late Pleistocene. We discuss the implications to our understanding of the chronology of Late Pleistocene lithic industries, particularly in regard to current hypotheses for the abandonment of eastern Jordan's ‘mega-sites’, Kharaneh IV and Jilat 6. Modelling a series of accelerator mass spectrometry dates from Kharaneh IV indicates a much shorter span of occupation for the site than previously assumed by the size and density of its deposits. Given the high density of material accumulated over a relatively short time span, we show that Kharaneh IV was an aggregation site occupied intensively by a significant number of people, providing new perspectives on the east Jordanian phenomenon of Epipalaeolithic ‘mega-sites’.