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Laura Centi

Laura Centi


Ph.D. dissertation topic: The lithic assemblages of units II and I of Nesher Ramla, ca 150-80 ka BP. Reconstructing the occupational history of a unique site in the framework of the Levantine Middle Paleolithic.

Advisors: Dr. Yossi Zaidner and Prof. Erella Hovers


The Middle Paleolithic (MP) open-air site of Nesher Ramla is unique, since the archaeological material accumulated in situ in a karst depression, where the occupational episodes took place over a time span of ca 90,000 years. A preliminary analysis of the lithic assemblage highlighted several peculiar features that seem to distinguish Nesher Ramla from other known MP sites, either in caves or on the open-air landscape.

In my PhD project I will study the lithic industries of the uppermost sequence of Nesher Ramla (units II and I, ca 150-80 ka BP). I will address questions on both intrasite and intersite levels. At the intrasite level, Iím interested in understanding the role of Nesher Ramla, if/how it changed through time, and if the site was occupied by groups maintaining the same cultural tradition over time. To achieve this objective I will try to isolate features of the lithic assemblages that are linked to mobility strategies, site function, environmental setting and cultural tradition. I will try to highlight chronological trends in the organization of lithic technology and to evaluated whether these trends relate to changes in the factors mentioned above.

At the intersite level Iím interested in understanding the causes of Nesher Ramla lithic assemblages peculiarities. Two explanatory models will be tested:

  • The special features displayed by the Nesher Ramla lithic assemblage are connected with the specific activities possibly carried on in this unique geomorphological setting.
  • The special features displayed by the Nesher Ramla lithic assemblages are connected with a cultural entity different from the others known in the Levant.

The research will contribute to the reconstruction of the human occupational history of Nesher Ramla, while at the same time will help understanding the place of the site in the Levantine Middle Paleolithic framework.

Current projects

  • Middle Paleolithic
  • Lithic technology
Curriculum Vitae