«By Nathan B. Goodale A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY WASHINGTON STATE ...»
Verhooven 2004), domestication of animals during the Middle to Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (Kuijt and Goring Morris 2002), and the development of pottery during the Yarmukian Pottery Neolithic (PN) (Finlayson et al. 2003) (Table 5.1). These major revolutions set the stage for dramatic shifts in human settlement, subsistence strategy, religious and sociocultural beliefs, and technological organization.
The purpose of this chapter is not to provide a detailed cultural chronology of the southern Levant, since that has recently been undertaken by Kuijt and GoringMorris (2002). I instead offer a broad overview of the archaeological record of the southern Levant from the Early Epipaleolithic (roughly 22,000 cal BP) through the Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic (approximately 8,250 cal BP) (Figure 5.1 and Table 5.1), derived from decades of cultural historical research.
80 81 Figure 5.1. The Near East and the Southern Levant as the focus of this research.
Discussion and research presented here is limited spatially to the southern Levantine region of the Near East for a number of reasons. First, the southern Levant is a well defined geographic area (Figure 5.1) where a number of archaeological investigations have resulted in readily available data useful for estimating population growth. Second, the relationship between people living in the northern and southern Levant during the entire time sequence examined here is not well understood.
Obsidian source analyses suggest some interaction between the northern and southern Levant as early as the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A. Obsidian sourced to presentday Turkey, has been identified in a number of Early Neolithic communities in the southern Levant, although it is not in abundant until fairly late in the sequence. In addition, technological developments such as particular tool types and socioeconomic strategies such as the advent of sedentism occur early in the sequence in both regions, indicating likely early social ties between the north and the south. Current difficulties
Lebanon and southern Turkey and the complexity of the political climate of these regions. In order to avoid any issues related to geographic separation and potentially different paleodemographic parameters and characteristics in play in each region, I only focus on the southern Levant in this study.
Early Epipaleolithic Starting with the Early Epipaleolithic from 22,000-18,500 cal BP, the Kebaran culture encompassed a highly mobile residential lifestyle during the Last Glacial Maximum when cold and dry conditions prevailed. Henry (1995) argues that Epipaleolithic groups were transhumant, altering seasonally between different locations where low altitude rockshelters were winter camps and open-air upland sites functioned as summer camps (Figure 5.2). Sites are usually characterized as small in size and shallow in depth; indicative of sites occupied by highly mobile huntergatherer. Site sizes range from 12,000 square meters at Wadi Hasa 618 (Clark et al.
1988) to 1000 square meters Ein Aqev (Marks 1976).
Evidence for Early Epipaleolithic structures occur at the site of Ohallo II on the southwestern edge of the Sea of Galilee where tight clustering of huts built of wood and brush were constructed (Nadel and Werker 1999; Nadel et al. 1995, 2006).
The excellent preservation of the site allowed the detection of a midden area and high quantities of seeds, fruits and wild grains (Nadel and Werker 1999; Nadel et al. 1995, 2006). The site appears to have been burned upon abandonment and due to its
understanding of Early Epipaleolithic lifeways.
Nadel et al. (2006) have provided the most abundant evidence that perishable materials were incorporated into the Early Epipaloelithic life way at Ohallo II.
Because of the exceptional preservation of the site, numerous wood objects were recovered, many of which were incised with lines. It is not clear how these items were integrated into the socioeconomic or symbolic systems during this time period, although it does point to the portion of the archaeological record that we are missing in interpreting past life ways.
Sites exhibiting high residential mobility also occur in the Transjordan Plateau extending into Syria, farther north to Lebanon, and as far south as the Sinai Peninsula (Goring-Morris and Belfer-Cohen 1998). Overall, the organization of the Early Epipaleolithic can be characterized as mobile foragers (sensu Binford 1980) incorporating a predominantly egalitarian socioeconomic system (Neeley et al. 1998).
Central to the arguments presented here, Early Epipaleolithic sites contain no evidence of storage practices, and people most likely practiced an immediate-return subsistence economy shifting diets with seasonal foods (Goring-Morris and BelferCohen 1998).
The Middle Epipaleolithic (MEP) contains various cultural “entities” (as they are referred to by Goring-Morris and Belfer-Cohen 1998:77-78) that are more or less geographically distinct, defined based on the typological and frequency variants of certain artifacts, specifically microburins. Entities include the Geometric Kebaran, Mushubian, and Ramonian dating from 18,500-14,500 cal BP. During the MEP, Goring Morris and Belfer-Cohen (1998) suggest that with climate improvement and the expansion of lakes and rivers, there was a mass migration and colonization from the southern Sinai to northern Syria (Figure 5.3). This was coupled with an increased carrying capacity of the landscape due to improving climatic conditions (GoringMorris and Belfer-Cohen 1998).
Excavations at the site of ‘Uyun al-Hammam in the Wadi Ziglab of northern Jordan has revealed more than nine individuals in seven burials dating to the MEP, the largest sample of human remains for this period and any previous period in the region (Maher 2007a, b). Based on the complex burial systems and the number of individuals found in graves at ‘Uyun al-Hammam and at Kharaneh IV (Maher 2007a, b; Muheisen 1988), Maher (2007a, b) posits that certain sites may have functioned as purposeful cemeteries in the MEP, a trend also seen during the Late Epipaleolithic Natufian period. Additionally, a special relationship between humans and animals may have begun to develop in the MEP, for one burial contained a canine skull (Maher 2007b:198). This may point to the beginnings of dog domestication in the
in the Natufian (Kuijt and Goring-Morris 2002).
Middle Epipaleolithic sites with obtainable data for the paleodemographic model presented in Chapter Seven.
the Early Epipaleolithic focused on immediate returns with seasonally available foods (Goring-Morris and Belfer-Cohen 1998). Dietary reconstruction based on fauna and flora analysis indicate in most cases a very broad spectrum of resources was exploited (Bar-Oz 1999; Bar-Oz and Dayan 2002, 2003; Munro 2004; Tchernov 1994). In general, there is also an increased reliance on medium and large mammals including deer, hartebeest, equids, ibex, and gazelle (Maher 2007b). The identification of mortar and pestle indicate the technology to process wild plant foods. While we good evidence to reconstruct diet, the technology to store food was absent from the lives of the Middle Epipaleolithic people.
Late Epipaleolithic The Late Epipaleolithic (LEP) is characterized by the well documented Natufian culture (Bar-Yosef 1998). The Natufian can be subdivided into two or three phases depending on the scholar. For this discussion I will remain with a two phase distinction as the Early Natufian (14,500-12,800 cal BP) and Late Natufian (12,800cal BP). This discussion also covers the Harifian, a southern adaptation in the Negev Desert that appears to be roughly contemporaneous with the Late Natufian (Figure 5.4).
The Early Natufian roughly corresponds with the Bölling Allerød interstadial, a warm wet period directly preceding the Younger Dryas (Bar-Yosef 1998).The Natufian was first defined by Dorothy Garrod (1932) at Shuqbah Cave based on the presence of sickle blades, large mortars and other grinding stones, and what appeared to be high intensity or long-term occupations. Another distinctive feature about the Natufian period is the existence of several large cemeteries. Key sites for the Natufian in the southern Levant include el Wad (Goring-Morris 1996), Hayonim Cave (Bar-Yosef and Goren 1973) and the associated Hayonim Terrace (Henry et al.
1981), Kebara Cave (Bar-Yosef 1992), and Wadi Hammeh 27 (Hardy-Smith and Edwards 2004). Each of these sites demonstrates occupation intensity at a much greater scale than previously known in the region. However, the degree of actual sedentism reflected in Early Natufian settlements has been the subject of recent debate (Boyd 2006).
Sedentism in the Natufian has been largely assumed based on the intensity of occupation at a number of sites evidenced by large amounts of fauna, lithics, and other items documented at several sites in the southern Levant (Garrod 1932). Site types include more ephemeral logistical task oriented sites (Binford 1980) and base camps that reflect far more intensive occupation (Bar-Yosef 1998). It is interesting that during this time such intensive occupations have not been identified out of a small area found in the southern Levant termed the “Natufian Homeland” (Bar-Yosef
and ephemeral occupations in the Near East (Bar-Yosef 1998).
Other lines of evidence for increased sedentism are suggested by Lieberman (1991, 1993, 1998), whose analysis of gazelle crementum indicates that many of the Natufian base camps may have been year-round residences (Lieberman 1993).
Problems may exist with Lieberman’s (1993) interpretation due to sample size, dating of sites, and much more importantly, post-depositional effects that produce apatite layers which could be easily interpreted as seasonal cementum growth layers (Boyd 2006).
Another issue that separates the Natufians from later cultural traditions is the absence of systematic refuse disposal (Hardy-Smith and Edwards 2004). The site of Wadi Hammeh 27 has several potential domestic structures; abundant accumulation of garbage totaling nearly 400,000 pieces of lithics, bone and other refuse have been identified in and around the houses (Hardy-Smith and Edwards 2004). It has been suggested that Natufian settlements would have been unsanitary, attracting vermin and disease vectors that might have contributed to greater mobility in the Late Natufian (Belfer-Cohen and Bar-Yosef 2000), However, unsightly messes and unorganized sites may just as easily (and potentially better) be explained by Natufian strategies being much more mobile than currently perceived (Boyd 2006). However, disease may be reflected in the evidence of a reduction in the size of male and female stature potentially caused by illnesses (Belfer-Cohen 1991), although this remains to be confirmed by additional studies.
including sickle blades and the precursors to early Neolithic heavy utility bifacial tools. Tool kits are dominated by crescent-shaped lunates bearing Helwan retouch (invasive bifacial retouch) and comprise up to 80 percent of tool assemblages at many sites (Henry 1995). The function of lunates remains contested; they may have been used as dart points hafted singly or in pairs (Henry 1995), but there is also evidence for use in sickle harvest (Anderson 1994). There is also an increase in the types and amounts of ground stone tools at Natufian period sites suggesting the intensification on wild cereal exploitation.
Dietary reconstructions for the Natufian have varied greatly. Through the analysis of strontium-calcium ratios reflective of the intensity of plant food intake, Smith et al. (1984) indicate that the human skeletal Sr/Ca signatures from the Mousterian to Natufian sequence at the site of Hayonim fell midway between animal carnivores and herbivores indicating an omnivorous diet. There are potential problems with this analysis, including first that very few studies concerning the use of isotope signatures to reconstruct dietary patterns have been conducted. Second, Smith et al. 1984:126 cite Sillen and Smith (1984) and acknowledge that the Sr/Ca isotopes are similar between animal herbivores and carnivores at the Kabaran site of Ein Gev, suggesting some other contribution of strontium and calcium to the bone such as the local geological conditions.
As discussed in Chapter 4, it is often assumed that Natufians developed storage facilities, but evidence for food storage techniques is absent from the Natufian
of Natufians intensification of wild cereal exploitation.
“Despite expectations to the contrary, storage installations are rare in Natufian sites. The few examples include a paved bin in Hayonim Terrace and several plastered pits at Ain Mallaha, which could have served as underground storage facilities.” Bar-Yosef 1998:163-164.
Even if these hints of storage techniques are evidence of people actually storing foods, there is no evidence that (as defined in Chapter Four) Natufians were intensively storing foods. Thus, the Natufian diet was likely prone to change seasonally based on availability of resources.
Social organization of the Early Natufian appears to be more complex than during earlier times, and this has been argued to be typified as complex huntergatherers (Bar-Yosef 2002). Whether or not the Early Natufians exhibited the attributes defined as complex hunter-gatherers by Arnold (1996), with ascribed status, and most importantly, control of non-kin labor bases, is moot. Based upon differential distribution of grave goods witnessed in burial data, Wright (1978) argued that there was hierarchical social organization where preferential allocation of grave goods signaled more powerful leaders. In opposition, Belfer-Cohen (1995) countered that this treatment of grave goods was evidence of marked cultural affiliation, or what I assume Belfer-Cohen to infer as burial patterns reflect distinct social groups.
Approximately 8 percent of Early Natufian burials contain grave goods ranging from simplistic to very elaborate. An example of the latter comes from one