‘Atiqot 82 (2015)
Beisamun: An Early Pottery Neolithic Site in the Hula Basin
Hamoudi Khalaily, Tali Kuperman, Nimrod Marom, Ianir Milevski and Dmitry Yegorov
Keywords: southern Levant, Hula Basin, pits, lithic tradition, technology, tool-shaping method, chronology, groundstone, basalt, grinding, pounding, pottery, archaeozoology, fauna, material culture
The excavation was conducted along the western fringes of the site of Beisamun. Three areas were opened (Areas A–C), revealing four layers. Layer I, the upper layer, is a dark brown clayey soil, which contained few archaeological finds. Layer II is a gray-brown clayey soil, rich in organic material and ash—most of the artifacts and architectural remains, dating to the Pottery Neolithic, were found in this layer. Layer III (in Area C) was rich in architectural remains dating to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period. The lowest layer (Layer III in Areas A and B; Layer IV in Area C) is of reddish brown
soil; it is devoid of archaeological finds. Most of the buildings were rectilinear in plan, and at least one complex displayed a well-organized structure with two rooms around an open space (a courtyard?), with associated circular stone installations and hearths. The walls comprised thick stone foundations; superstructures were possibly of mud brick. The material culture consists of homogenous flint and stone assemblages and poorly preserved potsherds, which date the site to the Early PN period, along with a wide range of animal bones, dominated by fully domesticated caprovines, cattle and pigs. The Layer II occupation was attributed to a local cultural entity dated to the earliest stages of the PN period in the southern Levant, during the second half of the seventh millennium BCE, preceding the Yarmukian culture.
Neolithic Flint Workshops at Giv‘at Rabi (East) in Lower Galilee
Omry Barzilai and Ianir Milevski
Keywords: southern Levant, lithic industry, flint outcrops, tool manufacturing, formal technologies, initial knapping, by-products, transportation
This article presents the flint assemblages from the Neolithic workshops exposed at Giv‘at Rabi (East), which produced bidirectional blades, unidirectional blades and bifacial tools. The Neolithic blades were produced from wide cores with relatively few preparations. The bifacial tools included unfinished and finished cortical axes and adzes. These techno-typological characteristics suggest that the workshops at Giv‘at Rabi (East) should be dated to the Final Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPNB) and the Early Pottery Neolithic (PN) periods. The discovery of the Neolithic workshops at Giv‘at Rabi (East) contributes to our understanding of the organization of the lithic industries in the region of Lower Galilee during the Neolithic period.
Abu Ghosh, Jasmine Street: A Pre-Ghassulian Site in the Judean Hills
Ianir Milevski, Ofer Marder, Henk K. Mienis and Liora Kolska Horwitz
Keywords: southern Levant, Jerusalem area, Wadi Rabah, thumb impressions, rope motif, cooking, food preparation, Besorian culture, Qatifian culture, economy, Canaanean blades, archaeozoology, fauna, archaeomalacology
The excavations at Abu Ghosh revealed two phases dated to the Pre-Ghassulian period, between the end of the sixth millennium and the mid-fifth millenium BCE. Three archaeological-sedimentary layers were identified at the site: Layer I—topsoil, Layer II—possibly EB I, and Layer III—Pre-Ghassulian. The architecture of Layer III consisted of rectilinear units, with apparent passages and entrances between them, whose walls were built on stone foundations. Most of the pottery shows affinities with the Qatifian-Besorian horizons typical of southern sites. The lithic assemblages are characterized by sickle blades, bifacials and perforators. The groundstone tools and stone bowls are characteristic of repertories representing the transition between the Late PN and the Chalcolithic Ghassulian periods. The faunal remains indicate that the inhabitants of Abu Ghosh focused on raising domestic sheep, goats, pigs and, to a lesser extent, cattle. The archaeomalacological remains point to contacts with regions as far distant as the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Nile River. The excavation at Abu Ghosh offers insights into a number of unresolved issues relating to the material culture and subsistence of Pre-Ghassulian sites in general, and contributes to our understanding of the development of the Late Prehistoric periods in the Jerusalem region in particular.
Tell Qasile (North): Remains of a Pre-Ghassulian Structure on Fichmann Street, Tel Aviv
Ronit Lupu and Ayelet Dayan
Keywords: southern Levant, central coastal plain, Late Neolithic, Early Chalcolithic, flint knapping, construction methods, animal treatment, environmental setting, archaeozoology
The excavation revealed remains of walls, living surfaces, pottery sherds, flint artifacts, stone vessels and animal bones that can be attributed mainly to Pre-Ghassulian entities dating within the first half of the fifth millennium BCE. The small assemblage of finds from the site suggests a chrono-cultural attribution within the transitional period between the late Wadi Rabah and the beginning of the Ghassulian Chalcolithic cultures. The faunal assemblage comprises mainly sheep/goat remains, as well as a single hippopotamus(?) bone. The site represents an important milestone in the research of late prehistory in the Tel Aviv area, attesting to the presence of a Pre-Ghassulian entity on the central coastal plain.
Excavations at Tel Lod: Remains from the Pottery Neolithic A, Chalcolithic, Early Bronze Age I, Middle Bronze Age I and Byzantine Periods
Edwin C.M. van den Brink, Liora Kolska Horwitz, Robert Kool, Nili Liphschitz, Henk K. Mienis and Vladimir Zbenovich
Keywords: southern Levant, central coastal plain, Egypt, violin-shaped figurine, animal exploitation, economy, numismatics, archaeozoology, fauna, archaeomalacology, flora, bread molds, flint tools
The salvage excavations at the ancient tell of Lod revealed six strata (I–VI). Stratum I consisted of much-disturbed topsoil. The partial remains of three buildings were uncovered in Stratum II, dated to the Byzantine period. Stratum III consisted of sand deposits with a high concentration of MB I potsherds. Stratum IV represented the main phase of human occupation at the site, containing the remains of two superimposed settlements (Strata IVa, IVb), dating from the later phases of EB I. Stratum IVa revealed segments of three sundried mud-brick walls, lacking stone foundations; a large storage jar was found sunk into a beaten-earth floor. Stratum IVb contained three buildings segments, built of stone-wall foundations with a mud-brick superstructure. Stratum V consisted of fill layers, containing Chalcolithic materials. Stratum VI is a layer of fine, yellowish-white sand. Pottery from the site derives from strata dating to the Byzantine period, MB I, late EB I, Chalcolithic and PNA periods. The paleobotanic findings from Strata IVa–b demonstrate that olive orchards and a native maquis characterized the Early Bronze Age environment of Lod. The late EB I faunal assemblage was dominated by sheep/goat, followed closely by cattle and, to a lesser extent, pig. These animals were exploited primarily for meat and to a lesser extent for milk products, and in the case of cattle, for labor. Donkeys appear to have served as the main beast of burden. Some access to marine resources is attested by the presence of fish and mollusc remains.
Relative Chronology of the Proto-Historic Remains at Nahal Saflul 71 in the Gal‘ed Hills
(Hebrew, Pp. 1*–20*; English summary, pp. 221–223)
Keywords: Ramot Menashe, Lodian culture, rope decoration, chronology, settlement pattern
Two areas were excavated (A, B) at the site, and a report on Meir’s Excavation C (1976–1982) is included as well. Six round, rock-hewn pits were exposed in Area A, all of which probably belong to one system. In Area B, three natural steps were found on bedrock, as well as part of a pressing installation(?) for wine or oil production. Areas A and B were covered with gray soil that contained stones, potsherds, flint items and animal bones. The site also yielded limestone and basalt vessels, pottery spindle weights, bone points and archaeozoological remains. The pottery at the site dates from the Pottery Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic 1 and 2 periods, and the flint tools are characteristic of the Early Chalcolithic and Late Chalcolithic periods. Some of the flint artifacts recovered from Meir’s Excavation C provides conclusive evidence that the site was already settled in Pre-Pottery Neolithic B; it may also have been occupied in Pre-Pottery Neolithic A. The site is one of over fifty proto-historic sites found in the Gal‘ed Hills, providing a dynamic picture of the different stages of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods in this region.
A Burial Cave of the Late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age I at Midrakh ‘Oz, Western Jezreel Valley
(Hebrew, pp. 21*–46*, English summary, pp. 224–225)
Nimrod Getzov, Yossi Nagar and Anat Cohen-Weinberger
Keywords: cemetery, anthropology, skeletal remains, burial customs, ritual, tombstone, stone plaque, petrography, demography
Remains of a natural cave that was used for burial were exposed north of Moshav Midrakh ‘Oz. Four strata were identified: Strata IV and II contained finds from the Late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze I periods respectively; Strata I and III were sterile. The majority of the finds comprise pottery vessels from both occupation periods, as well as skeletal remains of approximately 50 individuals. Stratum IV contained ossuary fragments, V-shaped bowls, a flint blade and beads. The finds in Stratum II included pottery vessels, a clay disk, beads, sickle blades, a dagger and human bones. This is the first Chalcolithic burial cave to be found in the Jezreel Valley, and it shows a considerable resemblance to other Late Chalcolithic burial sites in central and northern Israel. The cave was reused during EB I. The reuse of the burial cave, and the intentional separation between the Early Bronze Age burials and the previous ones, indicate a new population.
Website, texts and photos © Israel Antiquities Authority