Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationEmory U.
Grant numberGr. 9358
Approve DateOctober 5, 2016
Project TitleStutz, Dr. Aaron J., Oxford College of Emory U., Oxford, GA - To aid research on 'In Camp and Out: Tracing Environmental Context and Human Activity Patterns in and Around the Early Upper Paleolithic Mughr el-Hamamah Site, Jordan'
AARON STUTZ, Oxford College of Emory University, Oxford, Georgia, was awarded a grant in October 2016 to aid research on ‘In Camp and Out: Tracing Environmental Context and Human Activity Patterns in and Around the Early Upper Paleolithic Mughr el-Hamamah Site, Jordan.’ The July 2017 excavation at Mughr el-Hamamah yielded one of the oldest samples of charred wood and plant food remains yet recovered through systematic archaeobotanical methods. Previous excavations in 2010 had revealed intact charcoal from several hearths, which were found with characteristic Early Upper Paleolithic flint tools and points. Radiocarbon dates on that charcoal have already narrowed down the age range of the Mughr el-Hamamah site: 45,000-39,000 BP. This season a custom-built flotation tank and nested geological sieves were used to recover fragile charcoal, seeds, and nutshells from nearly 50% of the excavated contexts. No site older than ca. 25,000 BP has been so thoroughly excavated with these standard archaeobotanical recovery methods. Preliminary observations raise the possibility that the hunter-gatherers who inhabited Mughr el-Hamamah were collecting and eating wild legumes, nuts, fruit, and possibly tubers. The new flint tool finds confirm the Early Upper Paleolithic dating of the site. The animal bones and sediment samples will be subject to laboratory analyses, in order to investigate how the hunter-gatherers in the area lived, worked, and moved through the ecologically diverse landscape, in the cooler, drier Ice Age environment that prevailed around 40,000 years ago.