Francesco Valletta

Francesco Valletta

Ph.D. dissertation topic: Manufacturing tradition in Levantine Epipalaeolithic. A quantitative approach to variability among lithic assemblages in the Northern Jordan Valley.

Advisor: Prof. Leore Grosman.


The chrono-cultural framework of Southern Levant Epipalaeolithic (ca. 22.000 - 11.500 BP) was defined mainly by typological changes in the lithic assemblages. The aim of my research is to test the degree of continuity of the manufacturing tradition during Early (22,000 – 18,000 BP) and Middle Epipalaeolithic (18,000 – 15,000 BP), within and between limited geographic areas (namely the surrounding of Kibbutz Ein Gev and the Western Negev). This will provide insight on the movement of people and ideas in this period, so important to understand the insurgence of complex society and production economy.

The variability of measurable features related with lithic technology, as the mean angle between surfaces and the quantitative description of the scars on the surface of the artifacts, will provide a univocal, quantitative representation of the manufacturing tradition particular to a lithic assemblage: a micro-technological fingerprint. Based on the comparison of these values between lithic assemblages chronologically and geographically separated, it will be possible to define continuity between the stylistic fingerprint of different sites. Chronological continuity may be connected to long-lasting local technological traditions, geographical continuity with the spread of new technological styles on a wide region. Including in the study sites from different areas and chronological stages allows to control the possible geographical and chronological continuity.

Research interests

  • Lithic technology
  • Continuity and transformation in prehistoric cultures
  • Levantine Epipalaeolithic
  • Western Europe Mesolithic
  • 3D analysis of archaeological artifacts

Current projects

  • Nahal Ein-Gev II Excavation Project since 2014
  • Ein Gev IV Excavation Project since 2014
  • Jordan River Dureijat Excavation Project since 2014
  • The Computational Archaeological Laboratory - Research staff since 2014


  • Valletta, F., and Grosman, L., Under Review. Local technological traditions in the Ein Gev Early and Middle Epipaleolithic. Journal of Palaolithic Archaeology
  • Sharon, G., Grosman, L., Allué, E., Barash, A., Bar-Yosef Mayer, D.E., Biton, R., Bunin, E.J., Langgut, D., Melamed, Y., Mischke, S., Valletta, F., Munro, N.D., 2020. Jordan River Dureijat: 10,000 years of Intermittent Epipaleolithic activity on the shore of Paleolake Hula. PaleoAnthropology: 34-64
  • Harush, O., Yashuv, T., Dubinsky, L., Valletta, F., Grosman, L.. In Press. Quantitative methods for the study of ancient technologies In Digital Archaeology: New research and advanced technologies, edited by M. Birkenfeld and Y. Garfinkel. Jerusalem: The Hebrew University (in hebrew)
  • Valletta, F., Smilanski, U., Goring-morris, N.A., Grosman, L., 2020. On measuring the mean cutting-edge angle of lithic tools based on 3-D models - a case study from the Southern Levantine Epipaleolithic. Archaeological Anthropological Sciences. 12, 49. doi:
  • Grosman, L., Shaham, D., Valletta, F., Abadi, I., Goldgeier, H., Klein, N., Dubreuil, L., Munro, N.D., 2017. A human face carved on a pebble from the Late Natufian site of Nahal Ein Gev II. Antiquity 91, e2. doi:10.15184/aqy.2017.122.
  • Valletta, F., Fontana, F., Bertola, S., Guerreschi, A., 2016. The Mesolithic lithic assemblage of site VF1-sector III of Mondeval de Sora (Belluno, Italy). Economy, technology and typology. Preistoria Alpina 48, 73–81.
  • Berto, C., Luzi, E., Guerreschi, A., Fontana, F., Valletta, F., 2016. Small mammals from Mondeval de Sora (San Vito di Cadore, Belluno): paleoenvironmental differences between early and late Holocene. Preistoria Alpina 48, 69–72.
  • Fontana, F., Visentin, D., Turrini, M.C., Falceri, L., Valletta, F., 2014. Casera Staulanza, Zoldo Alto e Forcella Pecol, Selva di Cadore: campagne 2011 e 2012. Notizie di Archeologia del Veneto 1/2012, 9–12.
  • Fontana, F., Thun Hohenstein, U., Bertola, S., Guerreschi, A., Petrucci, G., Ziggiotti, S., Rinaldi, G., Turrini, M.C., Valletta, F., 2012. The Early Mesolithic Occupation of Mondeval De Sora (Belluno, Dolomites): a residual site or a hunting camp? Journal of Biological Research - Bollettino della Società Italiana di Biologia Sperimentale 85, 80–84. doi: