Dr. Ella Assaf Shpayer

ארכיאולוגיה סגל אקדמי בכיר



BA : archaeology , Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, Tel-Aviv University, 2011

MA:, Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, Tel-Aviv University, 2014

Masters thesis: The Transmission of Knowledge and Apprentice Flint-knappers in the Acheulo-Yabrudian? A Case Study from Qesem Cave, Israel (supervisors: Prof. Avi Gopher, Prof. Ran Barkai)

PhD: Tel Aviv University, Archaeology, 2020 

 Supervisors:  Prof. Ran Barkai and Prof. Avi Gopher. Title: Children always know: archaeological evidences for knowledge transmission and learning in the Paleolithic period (between 500-200,000 years BP).


prehistoric archaeology, lithic technology, human-environment relations, knowledge transmission and learning processes in the past, human evolution


Published in peer reviewed journals: Assaf, E., Slon, V., Romagnoli, F. 2021. Horashim East: a newly discovered Middle Palaeolithic occurrence in central Israel. Journal of Quaternary Science. Assaf, E. 2021. Dawn of a new day: The role of children in the assimilation of new technologies throughout prehistory. L'Anthropologie (2021): 102836. Assaf, E., Romagnoli, F. 2021. Beyond tools and function: the selection of materials and the ontology of hunter-gatherers. Ethnographic evidences and implications for Paleolithic archaeology. Cambridge Archaeological Journal: 1-11. Assaf, E. 2021.Throughout the generations: Learning processes and knowledge transmission mechanisms as reflected in lithic assemblages of the terminal Lower Paleolithic Levant. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 35:102772. Assaf, E., Caricola, I.,Gopher, A., Rosell, J., Blasco, R., Bar, O., Zilberman, E., Lemorini, C., Baena, J., Barkai, R. and Cristiani, E. 2020. Shaped stone balls were used for bone marrow extraction at Lower Paleolithic Qesem Cave, Israel. Plos One 15(4): e0230972. Assaf, E. 2019. Core Sharing: The transmission of knowledge of stone tool knapping in the Lower Paleolithic, Qesem Cave (Israel). Hunter-Gatherer Research (3.3): 367- 399. Assaf, E. 2018.Paleolithic aesthetics: collecting colorful flint pebbles at Middle Pleistocene Qesem Cave, Israel. Journal of Lithic Studies 5(1). Assaf, E., Barkai, R., Gopher, A. 2017. Another Side of the Amudian Industry at Qesem Cave, Israel: The Southern Area Lithic Assemblage. Lithic Technology 42(4): 161-178.‏ Assaf, E., Barkai, R., Gopher, A. 2016. Knowledge Transmission and Apprentice Flint-knappers in the Acheulo-Yabrudian: A Case Study from Qesem Cave, Israel. Quaternary International 398: 70-85. Assaf, E., Parush, Y., Gopher, A., Barkai, R., 2015. Intra-Site Recycling Variability at Qesem Cave, Israel: New Evidence from an Amudian and Yabrudian Assemblages. Quaternary International 361: 88-102. Parush, Y., Assaf, E., Slon, V., Gopher, A., Barkai, R. 2015. Looking for Sharp Edges: Modes of Flint Recycling at Middle Pleistocene Qesem Cave, Israel. Quaternary International 361: 61-87. Lemorini, C., Venditti, F., Assaf, E., Parush, Y., Barkai, R., Gopher, A., 2015. The Function of Recycled Lithic Items at Late Lower Paleolithic Qesem. Quaternary International 361: 103-112. Gopher, A., Parush, Y., Assaf, E., Barkai, R. 2016. Spatial aspects as seen from a density analysis oflithics at Middle Pleistocene Qesem Cave: Preliminary results and observations. Quaternary International 398: 103-117. Edited volumes: Assaf, E., Romagnoli, F. (Guest Eds.). 2021. “When materials speak about ontology: A hunter-gatherer perspective". Special section published in the Cambridge Archaeological Journal. Chapters in books: Assaf, E. Gopher, A. Perforating tools from Ein Zippori. In: Gopher, A. & Zutovski, K. (Eds.) Ein Zippori Vol. II. The Lithic Assemblages, in press.

Current Projects

Horashim East archaeological project Learning processes related to knapping in the Paleolithic period Investigating Technological, Cultural and Cognitive Aspects of Lower Paleolithic Shaped Stone Balls


2021: Post-doctoral fellowship by the Zuckerman-CHE Israeli Women’s Postdoctoral Program of the Israeli Council of Higher Education 2020: Grant awarded by the Fund for the Advancement of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Israel for the project "Scraping the surface: The role of technology in the socio-cultural realms of ancient humans 2017-2019: Recipient of The Azrieli PhD Award for Excellence fellowship
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