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Flannery 1969). The availability of most seed-producing plant species is restricted to a short harvest period. For example, barley begins to ripen during the late spring and early summer months, but the seeds are mature in only a few short weeks. Human foragers clearly required tight scheduling to optimize their use of the energy offered by the Mediterranean community. The availability of fauna is less tightly linked to a seasonal schedule, with the exception of some avian species. Although herd composition changes, mountain gazelle populations, native to the Mediterranean zone in prehistory, occupy relatively stationary territories today (Mendelssohn 1974), and were likely similar in the past. Though the Persian gazelle (Gazella subguttiirosa) which occupied the neighboring arid regions of the Levant in prehistory is a migratory species that congregated in large

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the mountain gazelle engaged in similar behavior {G. gazella) (Mendelssohn 1974).

Animal resources may undergo significant changes in the composition of body tissues (i.e., decrease in body fat during the lean season) in response to seasonal forage availability, which may alter their desirability to human hunters.

In the Levant, the staggered yet strict timing of resource availability (particularly of plant foods) tied prehistoric foragers to a seasonal cycle, while providing reliable access to a composite of resources throughout the year. Because the major ecological zones are so narrow and habitat contents so diverse, the foraging returns could be greatly improved by foraging in adjacent locales. Resources that became available in different seasons and habitats could be accessed from a single home base via logistical forays, particularly for those sites situated in ecotones (Bar-Yosef and Meadow 1995; Hillman et al. 1989). Residing in ecotones or in areas with high geographic diversity also potentially expanded the harvest season for widespread resources, since ripening schedules vary with temperature, precipitation and elevation.

Though similar geographic conditions existed for thousands of years, the special ecology of the Levant is of great significance, perhaps especially during the Natufian period. By the Natufian there is substantial evidence (e.g., groundstone and sickle blades) for high investment in the procurement and processing of small, expensive resources such as cereals and nuts that are generally inaccessible without the proper equipment (Unger-Hamilton 1989, 1991; Wright 1991, 1994). Accessibility to these new plant foods greatly expanded resource productivity per unit land. This point, as well as the paleoenvironmental reconstructions presented above, will be integrated later with

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The Natufian culture was first identified by Dorothy Garrod during her excavations at Shuqba Cave in the Wadi-Natuf in the 1920s (Garrod and Bate 1928).

Garrod's (1932) definition of the Natufian culture was based on several features of the lithic industry: abundant lunate-shaped microliths; the presence of sickle blades and picks; and the use of the microburin technique to segment blades for microlith production. Further subdivision of the Natufian period into Lower and Upper phases resulted from Garrod's excavation at Shuqba and el-Wad in the Mount Carmel Ridge.

The divisions were made according to differences in the average length of lunates, the frequency of bifacial Helwan retouch, and the presence or absence of the microburin technique (Garrod 1932; Garrod and Bate 1928, 1937). The Lower Natufian was characterized by significantly larger lunates and higher frequencies of Helwan retouch than the Upper phase. The microburin technique was attributed to the Upper but not the Lower Natufian phase.

Around this time, Neuville (1934, 1951) also discovered evidence for Natufian occupation in the Judean desert, confirming the distribution of the Natufian culture beyond the Mediterranean zone. In the 1950s Stekelis began e.xcavations at Nahal Oren,

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1966; Stekelis and Yizraely 1963). By the 1960s, a new era of Natufian research was initiated with the work of Bar-Yosef, Tchemov, and Arensburg, who introduced new excavation standards to Levantine archaeology in their quest to recover paleoenvironmental information at Hayonim Cave (Bar-Yosef and Tchemov 1967). An intense period of exploration in the 1970s and 1980s followed, with the initiation of several survey projects outside the traditional Mediterranean zone. Many new sites were identified in the Irano-Turanian and desertic zones of the Negev, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria (Betts 1987; Byrd 1989a; Byrd and Rollefson 1984; Cauvin 1977; Edwards et al.

1988; Garrard 1991; Garrard and Gebel 1988; Goring-Morris 1987, 1991; Henry and Tumbull 1985; Henry et al. 1985; Marks and Larson 1977; Moore 1982). It soon became clear that the original definition of the Natufian culture was inadequate for addressing the cultural diversity of far-flung sites that extended fi-om the Negev to the northern reaches of the Euphrates (Bar-Yosef 1983; Cauvin 1977). Although the sites were similar in the presence of lunates, they showed great variation in other cultural attributes that frequently corresponded to geographic and environmental variation (Byrd 1989b; Goring-Morris 1987; Henry 1977; Olszewski 1987, 1988, 1991, but see Belfer-Cohen 1991). These discoveries called for a refinement of the definition of the term Natufian, to account for cultural attributes other than stone tool forms.

Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen (1989, 1991; Bar-Yosef 1981; 1983; Belfer-Cohen 1989; 1991) emphasize the importance of non-lithic attributes for defining the range of variation within the Natufian culture. They identify the Mediterranean zone of the

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a suite of attributes including the presence of architectural features, cemeteries, rich groundstone and worked bone traditions, ornaments, and mobiliary art. As a suite these features are found nearly exclusively in Natufian sites within the Mediterranean ecological zone, sites in neighboring areas possess some but not all of these traits.

The expansion of research also led to refinements in the Natufian chronology.

Although the lunate remains the "fossile directeur" of the Natufian culture, variations in its average dimensions and the fi-equency of Helwan retouch have been used to differentiate the period into Early and Late phases (Bar-Yosef 1981, 1983; Bar-Yosefand Valla 1979), corresponding to the Lower and Upper phases that Garrod originally identified at Shuqba and el-Wad (Garrod and Bate 1937). Garrod's use of lunates as chronological markers was largely correct, though it is now clear that the microburin technique, which she originally attributed to the Upper Natufian, can be present in both Early and Late Natufian sites (Bar-Yosef 1983; Valla 1987). The Early Natufian phase dates between ca. 12,800 and 11,000 B.P. and is characterized by long lunates with high fi-equencies of Helwan retouch. Beginning ca. 11,000 B.P. and terminating by 10,200 B.P., the Late Natufian is characterized by shorter lunates and significantly lower fi-equencies of Helwan retouch. A variation on this chronology has been suggested by Valla (1987), who proposes that the last 300 years of the Late Natufian be attributed to a Final Natufian period (ca. 10,500 - 10,200 B.P.). This is marked by even shorter lunates than those of the Late Natufian phase. Because of the brevity of the phase and the small sample of sites assigned to it, the Final Natufian rarely appears in this study (see also

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The Natufian layer from Hayonim Cave is central to this study, though assemblages from several other sites play important supporting roles, Hayonim Terrace, Hilazon Tachtit, and el-Wad Cave (Figure 3.1; Table 3.1). Though the assemblages from the latter three sites are limited in size, they provide breadth to the Natufian sample and enable the reconstruction of broader trends in human demography and subsistence change just prior to the transition to agriculture. Ideally, the sample of sites would be larger, encompassing all available Natufian faunal assemblages from the Mediterranean Levant.

However, the kind of detailed information required for this study is simply not available from many published Natufian sites.

Pre-Natufian Assemblages Assemblages from earlier occupations in the area of Hayonim cave, including the Kebaran, Levantine Aurignacian, and Early Mousterian from Hayonim Cave and the Late Upper Paleolithic and early Kebaran from Meged Rockshelter provide the evolutionary context for the Natufian analysis (Kuhn et al. in prep; Rabinovich 1997; Stiner and Tchemov 1998; Stiner et al. 2000). Temporal gaps are filled using published data from Natufian and earlier sites where appropriate data are available (e.g., Bar-Oz et al. 1999;

Bouchud 1987; Crabtree et al. 1991; Davis 1978, 1980a, 1981, 1982, 1983; Davis etal.

1994; Horwitz n.d.; Pichon 1984, 1991; Spethand Tchemov 1998, 2000; Tchemov 1993a; 1993b).

Hayonim Cave

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the Mediterranean foothills (see Figure 3.2 and 3.3). The site is located 13 kilometers east of the Mediterranean Sea in the Wadi Meged, close to the juncture of the Mediterranean foothills and the coastal plain. The cave's multiple chambers were formed by karstic activity in a Cretaceous limestone ridge. The surrounding countryside is composed of fairly steep limestone hills vegetated by classic Mediterranean maquis forest. Today, the site receives between 500 and 600 millimeters of precipitation armually.

The archaeological potential of Hayonim Cave was first brought to the attention of Ofer Bar-Yosef during a geological survey of the area in the early 1960s (Bar-Yosef 1991). Bar-Yosef joined forces with Eitan Tchemov and Baruch Arensburg to test the site in 1965. Testing revealed a long Paleolithic sequence in the cave's easternmost chamber (Figure 3.4) and plans were made to begin excavations the following year.

Paleoenvironmental reconstruction ~ a major goal of the investigators — required the recovery of microscopic materials including pollen, microfauna, sediment, and botanicals that had not been collected by earlier excavators in the region. Since its inception, the project has maintained consistent high standards of recovery, providing a faunal assemblage that represents the full size spectrum of fauna deposited in the site via both natural and cultural processes.

Hayonim Cave was home to multiple human occupations during the Paleolithic periods. The primary cultural layers have been labeled firom A to G. Layers A to E are described fully by Bar-Yosef (1991), and only a brief summary is presented here (Table

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Pleistocene. At its base is a Byzantine glass furnace constructed roughly 2000 years ago.

The furnace is capped by a series of thin burned layers approximately three meters thick, formed when shepherds set fires to rid the cave of goat dung and associated vermin that accumulated while it was used as a winter shelter for local goat herds. The burned layers were covered with additional dung that accrued in recent years.

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Table 3.2: Archaeological layers and time ranges at Hayonim Cave.

Layer B, the primary subject of this dissertation is the Early/Late Natufian horizon. The majority of the deposits are located near the mouth of the cave, and can be distinguished from earlier layers by a high density of unmodified limestone blocks that were brought into the cave as building materials. Two burned lupine seeds from the Natufian layer have been dated by AMS and yield radiocarbon dates of 12,010 ± 180 B.P. and 12, 360 ± 160 B.P. (Bar-Yosef 1991; Hopf and Bar-Yosef 1987).

The Kebaran period Layer C, also situated near the entrance of the cave and directly beneath the Natufian layer, ranges between 1 and 2.3 meters in thickness. The Aurignacian Layer D is a thinner deposit located only toward the back of the cave in a depression formed in the top of earlier Mousterian sediments by dripping water. Layer E is a thick early Mousterian deposit with comparatively low artifact density. This layer covers a huge area extending from just outside the mouth of the cave across most of the cave's interior. Most of the deposits are brecciated, but the quality of preservation is surprisingly good in much of the cave. Layer F, an even older Mousterian layer, is differentiated from Layer E by changes in sediment and lithic technology. Finally, Layer G has only recently been discovered in the deep sounding at the entrance of the cave.

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been recovered. Faunal remains are well preserved in all but the lower Mousterian (F) levels and Layer G. This provides a remarkable sequence for comparative analyses.

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Figure 3.5; Plan of the excavations of the Natufian layer at Hayonim Cave, showing circular loci (Loc.

) constructed from undressed limestone, and graves (Gr.). Adapted from Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen (1999).

77ie Natufian Layer of Hayonim Cave The Natufian layer at Hayonim Cave is marked by a high concentration of

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These stones were used to build architectural features, primarily circular structures referred to as loci (see Figure 3.6). There are at least ten loci just behind the drip line of the cave. These structures comprise the main area of the Natufian layer, which ranges in thickness from a few centimeter to one meter near the entrance of the cave (Bar-Yosef 1991; Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen n.d.).

Figure 3.6: View of Locus 8 at Hayonim Cave following excavation.

Note built hearth at top, center of photo, and walls of undressed limestone constructed by the Natufian inhabitants.

The Natufian stratigraphy and features of Hayonim Cave is assigned to five temporal phases (Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen n.d; Bar-Yosef 1991; Belfer-Cohen 1988).

The phases correspond to a chronological sequence of building and occupation events and

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