Dr. Dirk Leder


Dissertation Title

Technological and Typological change at the Middle- to Upper Palaeolithic Boundary in Lebanon

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Richter
Advisors: Prof. Dr. Gerd Christian Weniger, Prof. Dr. Thomas Widlok


The dissertation is based on the study of lithics in order to explore cplattultural-historic connections across the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic boundary in Lebanon between 50-35,000 years ago on one hand, and between different regions in the Levant on the other. Besides the study of some 10 assemblages from Lebanon, additional data was acquired through published literature.

For the first time, it could be testified that co called transitional industries in Lebanon are not connected to the preceding Middle Palaeolithic, whereas the following Upper Palaeolithic developed out of this industry.

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Previous authors had overlooked differences between assemblages in the Levant that were commonly subsumed under the term ‘transitional industries’. One major outcome of my thesis was that between ca. 47 and 33,000 years ago at least three distinct ‘transitional’ industries were present in the Levant that are clearly distinguished by their technology and tool typology.

In addition, it was established that the Lebanese transitional industry originated from the Central Negev in southern Israel at ca. 47,000 years ago. Later on, this industry migrated to southern Turkey at around 40,00 years ago.

Finally, a re-occurrence of Middle Palaeolithic technology could be detected between 36-33,000 years ago in some regions of the Levant, namely the Mediterranean parts of the Levant and Central Syria.

Making use of manifold characteristics in material culture, a more detailed picture of the cultural history and human migrations during the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition could be established for Lebanon and the Levant by this dissertation.



2010–2013: Ph.D. student at Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Cologne, Germany

2008–2009: M.Litt. in Professional Archaeology, University of Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

M.A. thesis: “Activities at Scalloway Broch, Shetland: a finds distribution analyses applying ArcGIS”

2004–2008: Student of Prehistoric Archaeology, Cultural Anthroplogy and Geography at University of Cologne, Germany

2007: Semester abroad in Kamloops, BC, Canada

2002–2004: Student of Archaeology, Geography and Literature at Ruhr-University-Bochum, Germany



2004–2010: Field work on numerous sites and different periods in Germany and UK



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