It is wonderful to have this superb monograph shortly after the late Desmond Clarks detailed publication of the wooden objects from his seminal excavations at Kalambo Falls. The authors and Oxbow Books
are also to be congratulated on the high technical quality of the first volume in the projected GBY monograph series.' (Lawrence Guy Straus Journal of Anthropological Research, 59
An Archaeologist, even a specialist in the Acheulian, might ask why fragmented wood, most of it not worked, deserves a whole volume to itself. In turning the pages of this well produced volume, they will begin to find an answer.'
'In Chapters 4-7 the wood comes centre stage. It is hard to grasp its survival for so long through waterlogging, with cellular structure well enough preserved for identification of over 600 of the 916 pieces examined. The photos of the thin sections of the different taxa and species, together with their descriptions, are a valuable and rare corpus.' (Bryony Coles Antiquity
In this volume, Goren-Inbar et al. offer an exhaustive analysis of the waterlogged wood assemblage retrieved from the excavations at the early Palaeolithic site of Gesher Benot Ya’aqov (GBY) in northern Israel. The book represents a unique contribution to our knowledge of Early Pleistocene vegetation environments in the Eastern Mediterranean.'
'Impressive are the presentation of the wooden artefacts recovered from the excavations (accompanied by the appropriate drawings and photographs) and the consideration of the charcoal remains, which are likely to indicate a much more direct and long-term hominin involvement with prehistoric woodland vegetation (Chapters 6-7). Equally impressive is the detailed analysis and description of the various taphonomic aspects of the wood assemblage in Chapter 5 (depositional context and contextual associations, consideration of sample composition, fragment size attributes, fragment orientation, etc.). The authors present in this chapter a very convincing case for the contemporaneity of elements of the wood assemblage with the excavated archaeological layers and also for the causes of wood deposition and accumulation (the “driftwood hypothesis”).'
' ... this first volume in the GBY series represents a study of high quality and it is of outmost importance for investigating the early prehistory and palaeoecology of the Eastern Mediterranean. The authors should be applauded for the prompt and professional publication of their results. Minor weaknesses in layout and (occasionally) argument presentation should not distract the readers from the highly original and extremely informative content of this volume. The significance of such early palaeobotanical assemblages for understanding the origins and evolution of Mediterranean ecosystems cannot be overstated. Currently accepted palaeoecological models suggest that throughout the Pleistocene the Mediterranean area was host to much more complex and diverse ecosystems than at present, which offered southern refugia to retreating plant and animal species during glacial periods, and biodiversity “hotspots” from which plant and animal species migrated northwards during interglacials (Blondel and Aronson 1999). Future publications of the full analyses of other classes of evidence (seeds and fruits, animal bone, geomorphology and dating, stratigraphy, archaeology) and their integration with the evidence provided by the wood assemblage and independent palaeoclimatic studies, will undoubtedly establish the site of Gesher Benot Ya’aqov as one of the most important stepping stones towards a data-informed understanding of the origins and evolution of the Mediterranean world.' (Eleni Asouti Journal of the Israel Prehistoric Society
.... this book is an excellent example to students and researchers alike on how to approach the analysis of waterlogged wood assemblages with regards to taphonomy and vegetation history. The volume is well written and explains in some detail the many pitfalls encountered in the interpretation of such assemblages. Also, it may prove helpful to conservators working in the field faced with the conservation of wood in unfavorable conditions.'
'... if the following volumes are as clear, concise, and well researched as this one, the series will provide a very useful resource for students of palaeobotany and palaeoecology.' (Alan J Clapham Before Farming