Hassi Berkane

Created at 6.12.2016


Hassi Berkane (“Wellspring Berkane”) is an Iberomarusian site in the Nador Province in Northeastern Morocco. The rockshelter is located directly at a wellspring giving the site and the nearby town its name. A thick midden layer is visible underneath the rockshelter and in the construction trenches of an old Spanish fort built in the early 1900s. The layer was noticed during prospection work by the CRC-806 team in 2013 and was analyzed in detail in the following 2014 fieldwork campaign. Profiles in the construction trench were cleaned and two boreholes were drilled underneath the rockshelter. The team found lithic and faunal remains in the cores alongside terrestrial snail shell fragments, as well as multiple charcoals taken for radiocarbon dating. Thick sinter incrustations in the midden layer point to the spring’s high activity. A colorful spectrum of lithic artifacts was also collected from the surface, made out of flint from the nearby Moulouya river. The lithic industry from the boreholes and the surface is bladelet based with a number of backed bladelets and multiple cores. Radiocarbon dates of charcoals from the drillings attribute these artifacts to the Late North Moroccan Iberomarusian, spanning the time frame between 14600 and 11500 calBP. The faunal remains are fragmentary and cannot be taxonomically determined, with the exception of multiple ostrich eggshell fragments. A human tooth was found in the drill HBE2 directly underneath the rockshelter. From the profiles and the drillings, a settlement layer of ca. 2000 square meters could be reconstructed. Not only the sheltered space beneath the abri was used, but also a large open air space to the north of the shelter. The outer limits of the escargotière could not be identified, and the Iberomarusian settlement could have stretched over a much larger area. Hassi Berkane is one of the few sites in the Moroccan Eastern Rif securely dated to the Iberomarusian, alongside prominent cave sites like Ifri el Baroud and Ifri n’Ammar.

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