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2000) are reviewed in Chapter 6. Integral to this research, these simulations are used to demonstrate how relative differences in the growth rates of prey populations, affect their susceptibility to human hunting. Broad scale faunal patterns identified at site and regional levels are presented in Chapters 7 and 8, which investigate demographic trends in occupation intensity at each of the sampled sites and for the larger Mediterranean region, respectively. Chapter 7 outlines the relative abundance of broad prey types to investigate site use intensity and regional hunting pressure, reviewing first trends from the Middle Paleolithic to the Natufian, and then investigating these factors during the Early to Late Natufian transition. Chapter 8 tackles the question of hunting pressure from another angle by evaluating the mortality profiles of gazelles and the average body size measurements of tortoises to test for region-wide evidence for prey depression.

Finally, Chapter 9 summarizes the faunal data presented in earlier chapters.

Along with a synthesis of published information for other material classes (e.g., lithics, groundstone and ornaments), this chapter outlines the implications of the zooarchaeological results for current interpretations of site use, settlement, and

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Climates played important roles in shaping past environments and associated prey communities. Global climates affected the distribution, productivity, and geographic extent of the Mediterranean zone and, holding cultural adaptations constant, the human carrying capacity of the region. Paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental change thus likely played a role in shaping Natufian demographic landscapes -- the issue under investigation here. Of particular importance are broad reconstructions of the climatic conditions, productivity, and geographic extent of the Mediterranean zone over the course of the few thousand years spanning the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary. Although high resolution climatic reconstructions are not available, warm and wet versus cool and dry cycles can be defined, and are more on par with the scales of change observable in the archaeological record. Climatic and environmental reconstructions will later be meshed with archaeological data to create broad-scale models of human demography for the Natufian period, and to address its implications for the origins of agriculture (Chapter 9).

Natufian populations exploited the full spectrum of available habitats. Their sites occur in each of the major geographic and environmental zones of the southern Levant, ranging from the arid Negev to the humid coastal plain. Still, it is the Mediterranean

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Natufian "homeland" or "core zone" (cf. Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen 1989, 1991). Not surprisingly, the rich Natufian record of the Mediterranean hills has generated great interest in the archaeological community, creating a heavy research bias here at the expense of other areas. This study is no exception. Because Hayonim Cave, the centerpiece of this study, is located in the heart of the Mediterranean hills, the boundaries of this zone provide a practical spatial framework for sites sampled therein. Imposing these limits reduces the impact of envirormiental variation on the structure of prey communities, which is imperative since this research depends heavily on ecological models. As the home to the core of the Natufian population, the Mediterranean area is the natural place to seek answers to demographic questions of site use intensity, population packing (increased density per unit land area) and regional hunting pressure.

The physiographic and ecological variability of the neighboring environmental zones of the Levant are also reviewed briefly and provide essential background to the questions to be addressed.

Each of the four Natufian sites ~ Hayonim Cave, Hayonim Terrace, Hilazon Tachtit, and el-Wad — is situated rather close to the coastal plain, either on hillside terraces or in caves in the limestone ridges that form the hilly backbone of the southern Levant. Open air Natufian sites also occur in the Mediterranean zone but, aside from Hayonim Terrace, these were either not available for study or did not preserve bone.

Three of the four sites — Hayonim Cave, Hayonim Terrace, and Hilazon Tachtit ~ are

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The fourth site, el-Wad, is located further south at the junction between the Carmel Ridge, the coastal plain, and Wadi el-Mughara (see Chapter 3).

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Reconstructions of past climatic and environmental conditions provide crucial building blocks for models of subsistence evolution. The schedule, abundance, and availability of local resources dictate human foraging decisions and have significant consequences for the organization of settlements, resource procurement strategies, and often the timing and location of sociocultural events. Much effort has been invested in reconstructing Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene climates in the southern Levant. Many data sets have been employed including those with fairly good resolution such as oxygen isotope ratios from dated ice cores, deep sea cores, and cave speleothems (Bar-Matthews et al. 1997, 1999; Frumkin et al. 1999), and pollen cores (e.g., Niklewski and van Zeist 1970; van Zeist and Bottema 1982; Baruch and Bottema 1991; Leroi-Ghouran and Darmon 1991; van Zeist and Bottema 1991; Baruch 1994). Faunal series and geomorphological observations also provide climatic evidence though on a much grosser scale (Begin et al. 1980; Macumber and Head 1991; Goldberg 1986, 1994).

Unfortunately, there are conflicting interpretations over the pollen cores primarily due to the scarcity of radiocarbon dates, and biases introduced by the readings themselves. Biases in the pollen cores became evident when Rossignol-Strick (1995,

1997) compared data from marine and terrestrial cores in the Levant. The results of her work and new evidence from dated stalagmites from Soreq Cave and a cave in Jerusalem

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changes in the Late Pleistocene, and now correlate well with global climatic events in the northern hemisphere (i.e., Hillman 1996; Bar-Yosef 1998). To avoid problematic reconstructions in this study, only those climatic trends for which multiple lines of support are available and general agreement has been reached will be presented. The following reconstruction also correlates well with globally established climatic events (e.g., Kudrass et al. 1998).

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Table 2.1: Radiocarbon dates and corresponding calibrated dates following Stuiver et al.


Though many archaeological contexts and pollen cores relevant to this research have been dated by radiocarbon, the oxygen isotope data obtained from speleothems are assigned TIMS dates, which are calendrical ages. To ensure consistency between climatic data sets, only calibrated radiocarbon dates are used only for the following discussion of paleoclimatic data. The calibrated C-14 dates are presented in Table 3.1, and the calibration curve from which these dates were obtained is presented in Figure 3.1

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paleoclimatic data, the last paragraph in this section which links paleoclimatic events with the cultural periods of interest, and the remainder of this dissertation rely on traditional radiocarbon dates for discussions to ensure consistency with previous publications.

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Figure 2.1: Calibration curve from Oxcal.

Atmospheric data from Stuiver et al. (1998); Oxcal v. 3.5 Bronk Ramsey (2000); Cubr;4, sd:12 prob usp (chron).

An evaluation of several sources of paleoenvironmental data indicate three major climatic trends relevant to the Natufian and the periods leading up to it (see Table 2.1;

Bar-Matthews et al. 1997, 1999; Baruch and Bottema 1991; Bar-Yosef 1996; Bar-Yosef and Meadow 1995; Frumkin et al. 1998; Hillman 1996; Macumber and Head 1991;

Margaritz and Goodfnend 1987; Rossignol-Strick 1995, 1997; Yechieli et al. 1993). The story begins shortly after the termination of the extremely cold and dry Wiirm glaciation

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annual precipitation and mean temperatures began to rise. The warming trend (BollingAllered) accelerated with the onset of the Natufian period, peaking ca. 13,500 years ago.

By 13,000 B.P. the Younger Dryas, a brief, near global climatic event began and returned the Levant to almost glacial conditions (very cold and dry). The Younger Dryas terminated at the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary around 11,500 B.P., with a return to pluvial conditions just as the Natufian period came to a close and agriculture began.

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Table 2.2: Summary of climatic indicators for time periods relevant to the Natufian period.

Dates are calibrated.

After the Last Glacial Maximum: Warm and Wet Conditions Several lines of evidence point to a warm, wet trend following the Last Glacial

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that saw temperatures and precipitation increase across the globe (Baruch and Bottema 1991). A wet, warm trend during this interval is indicated by a gradual increase in 6'*0 values in cave speleothems at Soreq cave and at a cave near Jerusalem (Bar-Matthews et al. 1999; Frumkin et al. 1999). Pollen spectra from the Hula Lake core show dramatic increases in arboreal pollen ca. 17,000 B.P., indicating an expansion of the Mediterranean forest (Baruch and Bottema 1991). Forest expansion is further evidenced by high counts of Mediterranean tree pollens at Jordanian sites such as Wadi Hammeh 27 (Colledge

1991) and Wadi Judayid (Heruy and Tumbull 1985; Sellars 1998). Today these sites sit firmly within the Irano-Turanian steppic zone and receive less than 400 mm of precipitation each year. Geomorphological data from the Wadi Hammeh reveal a long sequence of deposition in the wake of the steadily rising waters in Lake Lisan from the end of the Late Glacial Maximum to ca. 13,000 B.P. (Macumber and Head 1991).

Pluvial conditions during this period are confirmed by high water tables evidenced by the highest recorded levels of groundwater discharge from the Wadi Hammeh. A bore hole in the alluvial fan of the Wadi Zeelim just south of the Dead Sea exhibits an erosional break in deposition after ca. 17,400 B.P. and before ca. 13,300 B.P., pointing to wet conditions (Yechieli et al. 1993). Finally, the formation ofpaleosols along the northern fiinge of the Negev desert prior to ca. 13,000 B.P. indicates a period of high moisture beginning ca. 18,000 B.P. according to Margaritz and Goodfriend (1987).

The Younger Dryas The Younger Dryas (ca. 13,000-11,500 B.P.) was a brief, yet intense cool and dry

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1989). The Younger Dryas has been identified by spikes in the oxygen isotope ratios of deep sea cores (Kudrass et al. 1991) in diverse parts of the world. Local increases in 5'®0 values are also preserved in the speleothems from caves in central Israel, attesting to the sudden onset of dry, cool conditions associated with the Younger Dryas (Bar-Matthews et al. 1999; Frumkin et al. 1999). Pollen spectra also record evidence for the Younger Dryas in Israel (Baruch and Bottema 1991) and across the globe (Engstrom et al. 1990;

Heusser and Rabassa 1987). A reduction in the arboreal pollen in the Hula core reflects a contraction of the Mediterranean forest, signaling drier and colder conditions (Baruch and Bottema 1991). The Ghab pollen core from the Orontes region in Syria shows a similar cold, dry peak, however, the pollen data does not match up chronologically with that of the Hula core most likely due to problems with the dating of the Ghab sequence mentioned previously (Bar-Yosef and Valla 1991). According to Macumber and Head (1991) the rapid drying of Lake Lisan shown by the cessation of sedimentation, and the initiation of downcutting in the Wadi al-Hammeh at ca. 13,000 B.P. corresponds to increasing aridity associated with the Younger Dryas. Yechieli et al. (1993) also attribute the deposition of a thick salt layer in the former Lake Lisan to the shrinkage of the lake, which caused saturated salts to concentrate and precipitate. Finally, studies of the geographic ranges of land snails in the northern Negev indicate that the border between the desert and the Mediterranean zone shifted north after 13,000 B.P. (Margaritz and Heller 1980), attesting to an expansion of the arid steppes and deserts during the Younger

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The End of the Natufian: A Warm, Wet Trend The Younger Dryas came to a close ca. 11,500 B.P., at the beginning of the Holocene. After this date, conditions in the Levant were warmer and wetter than today, but never reached temperatures of pre-Younger Dryas proportions (Bar-Yosef 1996).

Significant decreases in the oxygen isotope ratios obtained from Mediterranean Sea cores and dating to the Early Holocene attest to improved conditions. Declines in the oxygen isotope ratios are attributed to an influx of glacial melt water and fi-eshwater runoff fi'om the continent in response to increased temperatures and precipitation (Luz 1982). The Hula pollen spectrum is marked by increased arboreal pollen counts in the Early Holocene, indicating a re-expansion of the Mediterranean forest. Even so, deciduous trees that prefer warmer climates never reached their full distribution, and more droughtresistant conifers continued to dominate. Finally, faunal assemblages fi-om Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) sites in the Jordan Valley, including Netiv Hagdud and Gilgal, are rich in freshwater bird and rodent species, indicating proximity to a substantial body of fresh water (Tchemov 1994). These observations are supported by the presence of pollen from several aquatic plant species at Netiv Hagdud (Leroi-Gourhan 1991; LeroiGourhan and Darmon 1987) Paleoclimate and the Natufian Cultural Sequence Clearly, the Natufian culture did not arise under a harsh climatic regime as was once thought, but during a period of mild climatic conditions (Baruch and Bottema 1991;

Bar-Yosef and Valla 1991). During the Early Natufian, the Mediterranean zone, the

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