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The increased emphasis on plant processing equipment indicates that the Late Natufians continued to use Hayonim Cave as a platform for resource extraction. BelferCohen (1988: 286) suggests that the increase in groundstone in the Late Natufian may be caused by their "specialised intrasite distribution rather than the association of grinding tools with a Late Natufian phase." The clumped distribution of pestles and simultaneous increases in the numbers of mortars could suggest a concentration of processing activities
Hayonim Terrace. The nearly exclusive distribution of mortars and pestles in the open activity area along the eastern wall, and their virtual absence in the fill of Late Natufian graves, intergrave areas, or Loci indicate a patterned arrangement and intentional stockpiling for later use. Caching behavior is most likely if one must be away from a locality for longer periods. The spatial distribution of grinding tools indicates a direct relationship with domestic use areas, providing strong evidence that either the Cave or the Terrace was used for plant exploitation, though likely on a more seasonal basis.
Similar proportions of ungulates to small game taxa in the Early and Late Natufian faunal assemblages point to stability in the primary hunting strategy throughout the Natufian period at Hayonim Cave. Ungulates were the main source of meat, but small game played a consistent and major supplementary role. Inflated proportions of juvenile gazelles were also constant across the Natufian phases, well above their frequencies in all earlier Paleolithic occupations at Hayonim Cave (M. Stiner, personal communication 2001). In Chapter 8,1 argued that Natufian hunting of gazelle populations caused region-wide age depression, causing increased proportions of young animals to be available to hunters, at the expense of adult gazelles. Bone fragmentation, body part representation, and the frequency of human-caused damage on the assemblages are also similar throughout the occupation, indicating that the Natufians followed longterm traditions of hunting, prey transport, butchery, and carcass preparation.
Fragmentation indices, bone damage, and gazelle skeletal representation indicate that
during the Early and Late Natufian phases (see Chapters 4 and 5). Overall the relative contribution, intensity of use, and pressure exerted by humans on large prey was remarkably consistent throughout the duration of the Natufian occupation at Hayonim Cave, and appears to be similar during the Late Natufian occupation of Hayonim Terrace.
It therefore is very significant that the proportion of tortoises rises dramatically in comparison to quick-moving small prey, including hares and partridges, in Late Natufian assemblages. Earlier I argued that this shift reflects a reduction in site occupation intensity. An alternative hypothesis might posit that the increased fi-equency of tortoise remains shows that these animals played a special role related to human burial practices.
After all tortoise carapaces have been found in association with human graves in an Early Natufian context at el-Wad (Garrod and Bate 1937) and in a Late Natufian grave at Hayonim Terrace (Tcheraov and Valla 1997), and numerous modified tortoise shells serving unknown purposes have been recovered fi-om Hayonim Cave (see chapter 5), though they are rare to nonexistent at other Natufian sites. However, the taphonomy and distribution of the Hayonim Cave tortoises, however, do not change over the course of the Natufian. In fact, the percentage and density of modified tortoise shells decrease significantly in the Late Natufian (by at least three times), the opposite of what is expected if tortoise hunting was increased simply to ftilfill some kind of ritual role.
Neither unmodified nor worked tortoise bone segments show an affinity with graves or domestic areas. Rather, they are scattered through fills of all kinds in Early and Late
segments at the adjacent Late Natufian occupation on Hayonim Terrace. Though every tortoise carapace fragment was examined, only 7 of the 3483 fragments showed evidence for striated use-wear, and no fragments were modified in any other way.
The continued use of the burial ground at Hayonim Cave has invited arguments that the function of the site changed in the Late Natufian to a place where Natufian groups returned specifically to bury their dead (Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen n.d.; BelferCohen 1991b; Belfer-Cohen et al. 1991). Changes in Natufian burial practices do attest to a special link between a group of Natufians and Hayonim Cave. The intentional transport of the dead for burial, especially after decomposition has advanced shows that the cave was perceived as a cemetery. It also suggests that the burial of an individual at this site held special importance to the inhabitants of the region, and probably also the maintenance of a long-term traditions directly traceable to the Early Natufian. But cemeteries are not particularly unusual for large Natufian sites in the Mediterranean zone.
Most other Late Natufian Mediterranean sites of the same size also contain cemeteries, as does Hayonim Cave itself during the Early Natufian. It is likely, that as the occupation of Hayonim Cave declined with time, the inhabitants used the site for more specific purposes including human burial as well as for more mundane activities such as the seasonal extraction of plant resources. It appears, then, that Hayonim Cave remained a central hub despite apparent depopulation in the Late Natufian.
The changes in material culture, and the use of animal and plant resources fi-om
function. Indeed, the evidence suggests that the range of activities undertaken at the cave changed very little from the Early to the Late Natufian. It is clear that Hayonim Cave retained its role as a cemetery despite increases in human mobility, and that it continued to serve as a resource extraction site and hosted a broad range of activities, even if these activities were largely taking place on the Terrace. The site likely continued to be the
This chapter considers synchronic and diaciironic variability in Natufian material culture and subsistence and settlement strategies in the Mediterranean Hills and surrounding areas. The objective is to establish the context of the faunal trends revealed in Chapters 7 and 8 to provide some independent assessments of the zooarchaeological interpretations. Though traditionally the Natufian culture is largely treated as a single unit, views are becoming increasingly dynamic as research expands and diachronic change is identified within the period in the Mediterranean zone and beyond (see BarYosef and Valla 1979; Belfer-Cohen 1991b; Belfer-Cohen and Bar-Yosef 2000; GoringMorris 1987; Moore and Hillman 1992; Valla 1987).
Outlining cultural change within the Natufian period is also important for interpretations of agriculture origins. Because the Natufian period lasted for roughly 2500 years, refinements in our knowledge of both the Early and Late Natufian phases are required if the data are to comment on the origins of agriculture. The Natufian culture appears to have been directly involved in early cereal domestication, for example. The major period of cultural fluorescence in the Natufian seems to have taken place in the
conditions relevant to the origins of agriculture in the area of the fertile crescent.
Understanding human adaptations in the Late Natufian phase is thus central to constructing and evaluating current models of agricultural origins.
This chapter seeks to provide an integrated regional picture of Early and Late Natufian strategies with special reference to diachronic change in settlement, subsistence, demography, technological change, and their implications for models of the transition to agriculture. Data from sites outside the Mediterranean zone, specifically fi"om the arid parts of southern Negev and Jordan, are included to comment on the relationship between the Mediterranean zone and neighboring areas.
THE EARLY TO LATE NATUFIAN TRANSITION IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
Because Natufian sites were sampled by different researchers using a variety of excavation strategies, it is not possible to accurately compare quantitative data for material classes among sites. At a few sites large exposures were excavated and sediment was meticulously screened, at others excavation was limited to small units or test trenches, and some sites were only surface collected. This resulted in the removal of vastly different volumes of sediment, and thus varying artifact sample sizes. Presence and absence data is thus introduced as a more reliable technique to compare material data classes among sites. Though presence/absence data is subject to some of the same flaws
Diachronic Variation in Natufian Material Culture Recent research has exposed variation in aspects of settlement, subsistence and material culture in the Mediterranean zone and surrounding areas during the Natufian period (Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen 1989,1991; Bar-Yosef and Valla 1979; BelferCohen 1988, 1991b; Belfer-Cohen and Bar-Yosef 2000; Byrd 1987; Garrod 1957;
Goring-Morris 1995a; Valla 1987).
Lithics Garrod's original definition of the Natufian culture was based on the presence of high proportions of lunate microliths (Garrod and Bate 1937). She further subdivided the Natufian into Upper and Lower phases according to the fi-equency of lunates with Helwan retouch. Since Garrod's time the Lower and Upper phases have been renamed the Early and Late Natufian, but her original criteria for phase definition remains unchanged. The frequency of Helwan retouch has proven extremely reliable for assigning relative ages within the Natufian period. In addition to changes in the fi-equency of Helwan retouch, a gradual decline in the average length of lunates over the course of the Natufian period has been proposed (Bar-Yosef and Valla 1979). In general, lunates fi^om Early Natufian assemblages average more than 21 mm in length, while those from the Late Natufian average less than 20 mm. The decline in average length corresponds to the shift fi-om Helwan to abrupt retouch.
Settlement Pattern and Site Occupation Intensity
several locations in the Mediterranean hills of the southern Levant. These sites differ significantly from those of preceding periods in their large size, thick midden deposits, cemeteries, and diverse material culture. The sites have thus been referred to as "base camps" (Bar-Yosef 1970) and are one hallmark of the Early Natufian adaptation. The Natufian settlement strategy was more complex, however. Belfer-Cohen and Bar-Yosef (2000) argue for a dichotomy between large base camps in the Mediterranean area and smaller seasonal sites in the surrounding deserts and steppes during the Early Natufian.
Site use changes abruptly with the onset of the Late Natufian. Occupation of many of the large base camps continued (i.e., Ain Mallaha, el-Wad and Hayonim Cave and Terrace), but the sites seem to have diminished in size and occupational intensity (Belfer-Cohen and Bar-Yosef 2000; Gzurod and Bate 1937; Valla 1991). Numerous medium-sized seasonal camps spring up along the margins of the Mediterranean environment where it meets the Irano-Turanian steppes in the Jordan Valley (e.g., Salabiya I, Fazael IV), the Negev (e.g., Rosh Zin and Rosh Horesha) and south and east Jordan (e.g., Khallat 'Anaza, Ain el-Saratan, Taine Ain Rahub and others)(Bar-Yosef and Meadow 1995;
Belfer-Cohen and Bar-Yosef 2000; Belfer-Cohen and Grosman 1997; Betts 1991; Byrd 1989a; Gebel and Muheisen 1985; Goring-Morris 1987; Grosman et al. 1999; Henry 1989, 1995). The difference between base camps and smaller seasonal sites is much less pronounced during the Late Natufian phase.
The base/seasonal camp division apparent for the Early Natufian may result partly
1991; Byrd and Colledge 1991; Garrard 1991). Recent work in southern Jordan and the Negev has shown that many so-called marginal sites share more material characteristics with Mediterranean base camps than originally thought (i.e., architectural features, rich bone tool and groundstone assemblages). Many of these sites represent seasonal or possibly multi-seasonal occupations, yet none come close to the scale of occupation at the largest Early Natufian base camps in the Mediterranean zone (Byrd 1991; Byrd and Colledge 1991; Garrard 1991).
Architecture: Energy Investment into On-site Features and Facilities The major episode of Natufian building in the Mediterranean zone occurred during the Early phase. Many medium to large circular structures were constructed at Ain Mallaha, Hayonim Cave, and Wadi Hammeh 27, as were the major pavements and retaining walls at el-Wad. Built hearths and stone slab pavements are common at most of the major base camps in the Early Natufian (see Table 10.1), although their distribution is restricted beyond these sites. Some structures and other features were constructed in the Mediterranean zone in the Late Natufian (e.g., at Ain Mallaha, Hayonim Terrace, Hilazon Tachtit and Nahal Oren), but with the possible exception of Ain Mallaha these are less substantial and required less energy investment than those of the Early phase (Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen 1991; n.d., Grosman n.d.; Stekelis and Yizraely 1963; Valla 1991;
Valla et al. 1998). Outside of the Mediterranean zone, however, building was actually more intensive during the Late Natufian phase and is associated with the appearance of
Table 10.1: Built architectural features at Early and Late Natufian sites from the southern Levant.
Please note: + is used to designate presence of a feature which could not be quantified; and ? is used when no information was available. Sites in the sample were excavated with different intensities and thus the lack of features in some sites may be due to small sample size. If a feature could not be assigned to either the Early or Late Natufian it was excluded from analysis.
subterranean structures were constructed at Rosh Horesha, Upper Besor VI, and Rosh Zin in the Negev during the Late Natufian (Henry 1976; Horwitz and Goring-Morris 2000;