«By Nathan B. Goodale A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY WASHINGTON STATE ...»
individual (Bar-Yosef 1998). Examples of the former include other grave goods such as earrings, necklaces and other ornaments made of bone and shell, as well as a bone dagger at Hayonim Cave. Anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines have also been recovered from grave contexts (Bar-Yosef 1998).
Other lines of evidence from the Natufian have yet to provide support for complex hunter-gatherer behavior such as intensive storage technology. The lack of intensive storage systems indicates that there is little reason to assume elite control over non-kin labor and any surplus, so it is unlikely that there was complex, at least in terms of Arnold’s (1996) definition. Additionally, obtaining a significant conclusion regarding social organization from burials alone is not sufficient; rather there should
contemporaneous households if complex organization was employed (Arnold 2004).
The Late Natufian The Late Natufian (12,800-11,700/11,500 cal BP) corresponds almost exactly with the timing of the Younger Dryas, a short and abrupt cold spell that had global effects causing the last glacial advance before the onset of Holocene conditions (BarYosef and Meadow 1995). It is widely held that people living during the Late Natufian responded to this climate change by increased residential mobility in reaction to shrinking resource packages, requiring an expansion outside of the original “Natufian Homeland” (Bar-Yosef 1998:162) (Figure 5.4).
significant changes in social structure. First there was a new practice of secondary burials in which skulls were systematically removed. Belfer-Cohen and Bar-Yosef (2000) have argued that this is linked to worship practices within a highly mobile society. Second, lithic assemblages change, particularly a reduction of overall lunate size (Olszewski 1986), which may suggest raw material acquisition patterns changed.
Third, most large Early Natufian settlements were abandoned, followed by Late Natufian sites that were much more ephemeral, similar to those of the preceding Early and Middle Epipaleolithic. Fourth, objects of personal adornment cease to be produced and grave goods are completely absent. Lastly, early arguments pointed to the possibility that Natufians exerted sophisticated hunting techniques and specifically culled gazelle for certain characteristics that caused dwarfism in local populations (Cope 1991; Davis 1983; Goring-Morris and Belfer-Cohen 1998).
Munro (2004) helps clarify this issue by indicating that while the Early Natufians did not hunt gazelle into extinction, they exerted severe pressure on their populations. In tandem with the poorer climate of the Younger Dryas, subsistence pursuits may have made the Late Natufians revert to higher mobility to shrink group size to cope with changing ecological conditions (Bar-Yosef 1998).
The site of ‘Iraq ed-Dubb contains a Late Natufian occupation in which it appears that the lithic assemblage reflects a high mobility group. Kuijt and Goodale (2009) demonstrate that site structure and use of space was very informal compared with that of the later PPNA occupation. The argument is that less formalized use of
mobility and short-term occupation(s) of the site. In contrast, the PPNA deposits indicate more formalized use of space where different areas had different purposes (Kuijt and Goodale 2009).
The Harifian Briefly, the Harifian of the southern Negev and Sinai is what has been termed a southern Natufian adaptation, mostly contemporaneous with the Late Natufian. The sole difference between Late Natufian and Harifian is the occurrence of the Harif projectile point that may reflect the invention of the bow and arrow (Goring-Morris and Belfer Cohen 1998; Bar-Yosef 1998:168), but this is speculative. In all other aspects, the Harifian is also a mobile adaptation thought to be linked to the Younger Dryas climate deterioration.
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A The Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (11,700/11,500 – 10,500 cal BP) has been subdivided into two phases: the Khiamian and Sultanian (Bar-Yosef 1998).
However, poor understanding of the Khiamian Phase due to the absence of well dated and homogeneous Khiamian PPNA occupations have caused many scholars to debate the actual existence of this as a real cultural subdivision (Finlayson et al. 2003;
Garfinkel 1996; Goodale et al. 2002, 2007; Kuijt and Goodale 2006; Sayej 2004).
The primary problem is that in every case, a Khiamian assemblage is better explained
affiliation. This is because the sole characteristics of this differentiation are the presence/absence or percentage of different lithic tool types that differentiate the earlier Khiamian phase from the later Sultanian (Bar-Yosef 1998). With the lithic typology basis being the only real distinction, this division sheds little light on any aspect of human behavioral differentiation between these two entities (as they are referred to by Bar-Yosef 1998:169). Thus, the actual utility of this distinction is not apparent.
In light of this, my discussion of the PPNA will focus on the entire time period rather than subdividing it. In addition, the variation across the PPNA tool assemblage in the region is so great that several cultural subdivisions could be made through the 1,200 year PPNA period if we were to make divisions solely based on ratios of certain tool types.
The beginnings of the PPNA correspond directly with the onset of Holocene climatic conditions emerging at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum. This period has been regarded for some time as the period when agriculture began an assumption that has only been recently questioned with advances in archeobotanical analysis show evidence of small scale irrigation (Estouti personal communication) but not for fully domesticated plants. The PPNA may be better characterized as the beginig of systematic cultivation. During the PPNA, people were cultivating, harvesting, and processing wild forms of wheat, barley, and other grains (Kuijt and Goring-Morris 2002). Some evidence for the domestic forms of cereal grains have been found at
grains could be identified as domesticated (Edwards et al. 2004:42) (Figure 5.5). It has also been argued that the actual domesticated forms of these grains do not come about until the EPPNB (although evidence is scanty for this time period; see below) or MPPNB (Verhoeven 2004).
Other subsistence pursuits focused on a broad spectrum of foods including the hunting of medium and small mammals, reptiles, fish, game birds, and an in some sites, an unusual occurrence of birds of prey (Tchernov 1994). It is unknown whether the significance of birds of prey during this time was part of a subsistence strategy as a food item, or if they might have had some other quality related to acquiring certain elements such as the feathers or talons for other purposes. In contrast to the Natufian period when gazelle were a dietary staple constituting up to 95 percent of meat intake (Tchernov 1994:69), in the PPNA there is a significant decrease in the use of gazelle and a widening of the prey spectrum (Henry 1989; Munro 2004; Tchernov 1994).
Overall, there appears to be a greater breadth in the diet of people in the PPNA than in the Natufian (Techernov 1994).
The best evidence for the appearance of storage facilities is in PPNA communities, where recent studies indicate that certain structure’s had the primary role of storage including Dhra’, (Kuijt 2008a; Kuijt and Finlayson n.d.), Netiv Hagdud (Bar-Yosef and Gopher 1997:47); Wadi Faynan 16 (Finlayson and Mithen 2007), and Jericho (Kuijt and Goring-Morris 2002:373) (Figure 5.5). It has become the general consensus that the people of the PPNA were the first to intensively and
structures and small pits within houses devoted to storage (Twiss 2007). At Dhra’ (Finlayson et al. 2003; Goodale et al. 2002; 2008a; Kuijt 2008a; Kuijt and Finlayson n.d.), a number of mud-walled, raised-floor grain storage structures have been identified (Figure 5.6, 5.7 and 5.8). The structures are centrally located within the community, surrounded by stone-walled pithouses and open activity areas, which likely indicates that storage was a communal endeavor rather than a privatized practice (Kuijt 2008a). The Dhra’ storage structures represent a very important facet to understanding the significance of cultivation during the PPNA and the best evidence for storage of wild grains. Importantly, the first phase of construction of the granary occurred very early in the Dhra’ community, between 11,200 and 11,400 cal BP (Figure 5.7).
Stone-walled pit structures in the PPNA likely functioned as houses and are found at many sites, including Dhra’, Netiv Hagdud, Iraq ed-Dubb, Wadi Faynan 16, and others (Goodale et al. 2002; Kuijt and Goodale 2006; In Press; Bar-Yosef and Gopher 1997; Finlayson and Mithen 2007). In the southern Levant there is scanty evidence for non-residential structures except at Jericho where a nine meter tall tower and a massive stone wall were exposed, interpreted as both defense devices and a ceremonial place (Bar-Yosef 1998).
100 101 Figure 5.6. Artist reconstruction of the storage structure at Dhra’, Jordan. Drawing by Eric Carlson.
The greater part of research in the southern Levant has indicated that mortuary practices during the PPNA show continuity with the Late Natufian through secondary burial practices and skull removal (Kuijt and Goring-Morris 2002:376), with little to no associated grave goods. The burial assemblages at Dhra’ depict a slightly different picture. Of the seven burials recovered, all are primary internments, suggesting that secondary skull removal was not ubiquitous across the PPNA social landscape.
Several also exhibited pestles marking the top of the head (Kuijt and Finlayson n.d.) indicating a particular use of minimal grave goods. Interestingly, the PPNA burials
been found in house contexts, usually within post holes of houses (Kuijt and GoringMorris 2002).
Technological strategies point to the invention of the notched (projectile?) point (although some see it as related to the development of the Harif Point see Goring-Morris and Belfer-Cohen 1998). Projectile points come in various styles during the PPNA, including the El-Khiam, Salibiya, and Jordan Valley styles.
However, it has been demonstrated by Quinn et al. (2008) and Smith (2005) that the invention of the hafted point was not necessarily devised as a hunting armature but instead as a perforating device for soft materials; at least at the site of Dhra’. The evidence comes from replication experiments where the macroscopic breakage patterns are more similar to perforating leather than any other task (Quinn et al.
2008). Additionally, only one el-Khiam out of the nearly 800 recovered from Dhra’ has a fracture that could be interpreted as consequence of a high velocity impact (Goodale, analyst observation).
Other new lithic items added to the PPNA tool kit include the Hagdud and Gilgal truncations. These tools may have functioned as arrow barbs or transverse arrow points (Nadel 1997) or as hafted micro scrapers (Sayej 2004). Additional analyses are needed to confirm or refute these hypotheses, including detailed microwear analysis and experimental programs, for these have only been minimally conducted for these tools (Sayej 2004; Smith 2005).
become more complex in form with large picks, adzes, and axes (Barkai 2005), the last two commonly with transverse blows creating a sharp cutting edge. Sickle blades continue in use and have been found hafted in large bone and wood handles earlier in the Natufian (Edwards 2007). Recent research by Goodale et al. (n.d.) suggest that some of the sickle blades found at Dhra’ were intensively utilized on potentially season to multi-season basis. This is based on experimental wheat cutting and quantifying the blade edge within comparison to the amount of harvest time. The sickles from Dhra’ also contain polish similar to that produced experimentally by cutting wheat and barley (Unger-Hamilton 1985). Groundstone implements continue to comprise a large percentage of the subsistence processing tool kit in the forms of large to small cup-hole mortars and pestles.
In summary, the PPNA may be characterized as farmer/foragers who likely cultivated wild grains (Kuijt and Goring-Morris 2002:379) but also hunted a variety of wild game. For the first time, economic systems likely had delayed-return benefits. Social organization appears to have been generally egalitarian (Bar-Yosef 1998; Kuijt and Goring-Morris 2002). The PPNA is usually regarded as a major stepping stone in the pathway to the domestication of plants through advances in sedentary village life, storage technology, and formalized village spatial organization.
The Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (EPPNB) (10,500-10,100 cal BP) is the most poorly documented period of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic and some have questioned it as an actual time stratigraphic unit (Kuijt and Goring-Morris 2002).
Most of the evidence for this period has been suggested by Gopher (1994) based on the presence and percentage of different types of projectile points and other lithic items with no associated radiocarbon dates or consideration of other site formation processes (see Edwards et al. 2005 for an overview). This is a similar problem akin to that of the PPNA Khiamian / Sultanian subdivision. Many sites purported to be EPPNB are characterized by lithic remains with no consideration of stratigraphy or site formation processes (i.e. Gopher and Goring-Morris 1998).
One promising site, Motza, has yielded a substantial occupation during the time period considered to be EPPNB (Khalaily 2007) (Figure 5.9). However, Motza is currently the only well-documented site in the southern Levant with numerous radiocarbon dates dating to the EPPNB. In the northern Levant the EPPNB is potentially better documented and it has been argued that the time period shows a mass exodus of people and/or ideas to the southern Levant (Edwards et al. 2004).