The Middle Paleolithic occupations of Üçağizli II Cave (Hatay, Turkey): Geoarcheological and archeological perspectives

Ismail Baykara, Susan M. Mentzer, Mary C. Stiner, Yemane Asmerom, Erksin Savaş Güleç, Steven L. Kuhn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The site of Üçağizli II is located in a partially collapsed cave on the Mediterranean coast of the Hatay region, South Central Turkey. A small intact chamber (chamber D) preserves a sequence of Middle Paleolithic deposits nearly 2 m thick. Test excavations at the site in 2005 and 2007 produced large assemblages of artifacts, vertebrate and shellfish remains. The entire sequence formed during the Upper Pleistocene, subsequent to MIS 5a. Faunal and lithic assemblages are comparatively homogeneous, consistent with the inference that the deposits formed under relatively constant environmental conditions. Micromorphological analyses reveal an abundance of combustion features and products, although the visibility of the features is locally compromised by local, small-scale bioturbation. There is evidence that the ways fires were created and maintained changed along with the intensity of occupation. Lithic assemblages most closely resemble other Middle Paleolithic assemblages from the northern Levant but there are inconsistencies with the accepted pattern of technological change over time in the Levantine Mousterian more broadly. Faunal and lithic evidence indicate that the intensity and duration of occupational events declined over time at Üçağizli II. While there are many parallels in raw material economy with the early Upper Paleolithic of the nearby Üçağizli I site, the Middle Paleolithic hominins may have used the coastal landscape in a different way from later Upper Paleolithic groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-426
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Combustion
  • Levallois
  • Levant
  • Mediterranean Coast
  • Micromorphology
  • Middle Paleolithic
  • Turkey
  • Upper Pleistocene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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