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Reassessing the Emergence of Village Life in the Near East Author(s): Brian F.

Byrd Reviewed work(s): Source: Journal of Archaeological Research, Vol. 13, No. 3 (September 2005), pp. 231-290 Published by: Springer Stable URL: . Accessed: 12/01/2012 14:51
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2005 ( 2005) Vol.13, No. 3, September Journal Research, ofArchaeological DOI: 10.1007/S10814-005-3107-2

ofVillage theEmergence Reassessing Lifein theNear East

Brian F. Byrd1

thetiming, and impetus Thisarticle reassesses context, ofsedentary, fortheonset and food production, village life in theNear East complex hunter-gatherers, onrecent the LatePleistocene andEarly Holocene. Drawing paleoclimatic during I argue thatsedentism and thenvillage lifewere and archaeological results, than that occurred climatic conditions during optimal rapidrather gradualevents two included and tookplace in resource-rich These social milestones settings. and ideology. social interaction, fundamental changesin economicstrategies, theinterplay between social institutions and Onlybyunderstanding preexisting human communities theseperiodsof major priorto and during agencywithin willwe be able tounderstand howand why social change began. foodproduction
KEY WORDS: agriculture; NearEast Neolithic; Natufian;

INTRODUCTION Theorigins offoodproduction werea pivotal inhuman development history. Domesticated the economic foundations for the subsequent products provided riseof civilization, and earlydomesticates stillform thebasis of agriculture toare interested in after such a day.Archaeologists particularly whyhumans, long and hunters, settled downand thenbeganto farm periodof timeas gatherers and herdanimals, and whythisprocesstookplace throughout the worldin a short thefulllength of human relatively periodof timewhenmeasured against 1998a;Guilaine, 2000; Harris, 1998a;PriceandGebauer, history (e.g.,Bar-Yosef, sinceitis thebest 1995a;Smith, 2001a). The NearEast is particularly important documented andearliest of theorigins offoodproduction. The region's example also provided thefoundations fortherise of civilization in earlydomesticates
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2005 Springer 1059-0161/05/0900-023 1/0 Science+Business Media,Inc.



Mesopotamia, and these Near Eastern foundercrops rapidlyspread to neighboring regions(i.e., Europe, NorthAfrica,and South Asia) and played an important in theseregionsas well (Bar-Yosefand Meadow, 1995; role in social developments Cauvin, 2000; Harris, 1996; Zohary and Hopf, 2000). In this articleI position the originsof Near Easternfood productionin historical context. Attentionis placed on examining the timingand characterof in relation interaction and social organization fundamental changes in community rather than on the of to externalfactorssuch as environmental change, particulars in the of and evidence for the domestication changes morphology particprocess ular plant and animal species. This approach emphasizes the social dimensionof causal factors. economic change and places emphasis on unravelingunderlying researchdomains and aims recentadvances in fourdistinct This reviewintegrates and to refocusresearchand debate on internalsocial change, social institutions, in intersocial fundamental humanagency.In contextualizing developments early of new high-resolution action,thisarticleexamines the correlation global climate and rigorthe calibration data withthe Near Easternpaleoenvironmental record; ous evaluationof archaeological datingevidence; the social implicationsfornew and and domestication; data on theoriginsofplantcultivation paleoethnobotanical ritual activities. and social structure, recentinsightsinto community symbolism, is thenpresented thatstressesthreesequentialsteps: A multistaged reconstruction and 2) the onset of plant cultivation, 1) the originsof complex hunter-gatherers, communities life characterized of the 3) by large subsequent emergence village intensivefood production. practicing and then In the Near East, the onset of sedentary, complex hunter-gatherers were fundamenlaterthewidespreadoccurrenceof large food-producing villages tal milestonesthatdramaticallychanged the social landscape. I argue thatboth than gradual events,took place duringoptimalclimatic condiwere rapid rather in the most productiveportionsof the Near East. These two and occurred tions, social insocial milestonesincludedfundamental changes in economic strategies, at and ideology.Sedentary, teraction, emerged theonset complex hunter-gatherers resource with associated of the Natufian, intensification, populationaggregation, and ideolsurpluses,and major changes in group dynamics,social interaction, social was socially motivatedand provided capital thatin ogy. This restructuring then cultivation the group as a whole. Subsequently,plant large part benefitted maintain the to began gradually as a supplementaleconomic activitydesigned less abundant relativedietaryinputof cereals and legumes thatwere becoming decline duringthe Late due to intensiveexploitationand possibly environmental duringthe villages thenemergedabruptly Epipaleolithic. Larger food-producing thatartificially created, strategy opportunistic Early Neolithicas a socially driven, throughcultivation,an expandable resource and surpluses. In this context,the leaders and houseprimaryunit of productionwas the family,and community hold heads garneredgreaterpower and prestige.Later, food-producing villages

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and domesticated herdanimalswere in morediverse wereestablished settings, intotheeconomy. integrated ineconomy ofthese and thetheoretical I review First, changes underpinnings Then review theNearEastern context. andbriefly socialorganization prehistoric withtheNear Eastern data are correlated thenew globalclimate paleoenvironof events is examined the mental record. Subsequently, timing keyarchaeological evidence and it with the paleoenvironmental by calibrating dating comparing of thisarticle is deTherearetworeasons whya considerable changes. portion in environmental thetiming events context. voted to examining of cultural First, have often stressed the of environmental discussions importance negative prior for socialdevelopment. was as a kicker Second,theendofthePleistocene change Thus the causes for initial a period ofdramatic environmental change. underlying in community in theNearEast can be understood changes organization onlyby In thefinalsection, I reassessthe context. securely placingthemin a broader foodproduction, of sedentism, andvillagelifein theNearEast. In doing origins and newinsights intosocial interaction, andritual so, thekeychanges ideology, activities arehighlighted. This article aimsto reorient discourse and stimulate research intohow and fundamental in interaction took near theend of why changes community place thePleistocene in theNearEast.The goal of thisreassessment is notto create a newexplanatory modelof social development, forclearly thedataare too weak at present to understand whenand how precisely whythesechangeshappened did. the to is demonstrate that reliance on external factors Instead, they objective is insufficient to explainthesedevelopments and thatprimacy mustbe placed on examining the interplay between social institutions and human preexisting within communities to and these of agency hunter-gatherer prior during periods In social a scenario is consistent major change. doingso, hypothetical presented, with current ofconditions andexisting outlines one possible data,that knowledge which social order was altered economic shifts. process by during THEORETICAL CONTEXT Smith an excellent of theterminological diffi(2001b) provides summary culties in examining inherent themiddleground between foodprocurement and foodproduction et a/.'s [2003] (see also Leach's [1997] and Terrell agricultural discussion of the relationship betweensemantics and interpretation). I follow Smith foodprocurement to refer to collecting (2001b,fig.7) in usingtheterm wildfoodresources and theterm foodproduction to characterize a spectrum of from low-level food without domesticates tolargeadaptations ranging production scaleintensive ofmorphologically domesticated resources. HereI use agriculture theterms cultivation and herding to refer to thehuman actionsof planting and



of maintaining animal herds with no implied meaning regardingchanges in the of theseresources.Cultivation includesplanting, geneticmakeupand morphology and and be correlated withbroader collection, protection, storage, reseeding may has been defined in manyways social changes (Harris,1990). Althoughcultivation (e.g., Ford, 1985; Harris,1996; Nesbitt,2002), thereis nota widely accepted term to refersolely to these human actions thatdoes not include changes in plants as domesticand domestication refer to plantsand animalsthat well. Finally,theterms have undergonegenetic changes thathave recognizable phenotypic expressions. These changes generallyoccurred aftercultivationand herdingbegan (yet, see Ladizinsky [1989] fora possible Near Easternexceptionto thistrend). There has been a tremendousincrease in research on the origins of food productionduringthe last 15-20 years. This has resultedin a series of important publications,including monographsand edited volumes that address both data and theory(e.g., Cappers and Bottema,2002; Damania et ai, 1998; Harris and Hillman, 1989; Price and Gebauer, 1995a; Smith, 1998). For the mostpart,these data thatprovide insightinto publicationshave yielded a large body of important There the what, where,and when questions posed forthe originsof agriculture. of thehow and whyaspects of this has been considerablyless discussion,however, This is not meant to implythatrecentpublicationshave transition. fundamental discussion (see Hayden, 1995a; Smith,2001a; Watson, been devoid of theoretical to several worldwidetheoriesput forward In there have been 1995). fact, recently Alvard and of food the Kuznar, 2001; Hayden, production(e. g., origins explain 1990; Redding, 1988; Richersonet al, 2001; Rosenberg,1990). In general,casual factorspresentedin these explanationscan be divided intothreemain categories: environmental change, population pressure,and changes in social organization. reviewsto thebinarycategories reduced in synthetic These are sometimesfurther factors with external and external of internal factors, invariably getting explanatory and most attention the Gebauer, 1995b). (Price At present,no single theoryat a general level of explanationis widely accepted (e.g., Hayden, 1995a; Richersonetal, 2001 ; Smith,2001a), in partbecause grouped competingtheoriesforthe originsof food productionthatare currently under one big tentare oftentalkingabout very different types topics, different areas of the world and that of resources,and events thattook place in different timesin the past. As Harris (1989) pointsout, it also is occurredat verydifferent - the social interactions that oftenunclear what phenomena are being explained or animals domestication, just plants,just early village life, cultivation, typified and or secondary centersof domestication, variouscombinations, tertiary pristine domesticationareas as well? This makes directcomparisonsof competingexplatheoriescan bothbe at best,and mostconfusingof all, alternative nationsdifficult correct, dependingon what aspect of theprocess is being considered. reason forthisproblemis thatresearchhas tendedto focus on The primary withrespectto plants (e.g., Cappers the domestication process itself,particularly

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andBottema 1998, 2002; CowanandWatson, 1992;Damaniaetal, 1998;Smith, of thecytogeon thedomestication studies 2001b).Research process(including wild progenitors, and their neticsof domestic species,their potential probable has crucial into distribution) geographic provided insights earlyfoodproduction enhanced ourunderstanding ofthetiming, andprecise charandgreatly location, acterof thedomestication Jones and Harris, 1998a, 1998b, 2002; process(e.g., Brown, 2000; zkan et al, 2002; Salaminiet al, 2002; Smith, 1998; Zohary, in a series 1996). This focuson the domestication processalso has resulted of explanations that drawheavily on neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory, place on environmental and at timeshave an environvariables, explanatory primacy deterministic tone(e.g.,Diamond, etal, 2001; Rindos, 1999;Richerson mentally 1984). Thisemphasis on thedomestication offoodproduction aspectoftheorigins is to be expected, since as Smith(2001b, p. 14) notes". . . it is a clear and constant andpoint ofreference." It is also an important vantage point topicin its ownright. As a result, less attention has been on however, placed understanding thechangesthatweretaking thehumansocietiesthemselves place within (yet see Bender,1978; Cauvin,2000; Hayden,1990, 1995b,2001; Hodder,1990; Hodderand Cessford, how and whycultivation and food 2004). To understand as if not attention needs to be focused on much, more, production emerged, thesocial dimensions of thischangein economy. This is necessary becausethe and morphological evidence of domestication are largely genetic epiphenomena of cultivation and herding and have little to thecasual factors that relationship led to thesealterations in human on social An behavior activity. emphasis prior - the to evidence ofdomestication thestudy ofinitial cultivation logically brings - under first intofoodproduction theumbrella of majorstepbyhunter-gatherers research that examines resource intensification. resourceintensification is currently viewed in various ways, Although defines it as "a which thetotal (1997,p. 846) Broughton process by productivity or yieldperarealunitof landis increased at theexpenseof declinesin overall " caloric return rates ox intensification is the foraging efficiency Thusresource result of consuming of less increasing quantities lower-ranked, productive plant andanimal Thesearetypically smaller andmore numerous and resources, species. thisrequires morelabor, timeand planning more and for depth, gear equipment collection andprocessing, andmore reliance on storage. thesocial Understanding and organizational structure that dynamics shapedthisdecision-making process arekey. Cultivation is a form ofresource intensification sinceitentails increasing laborinput to improve total productivity. This acknowledgment drawsus explicitly intotheoretical discussions on thecorrelation between resource intensification and theemerhunter-gatherer 1981,1995b,1996,2001; Ingold, genceofsocialcomplexity 1983; (e.g.,Hayden, resource Matson,1985). Mostscholars intensification agreethat hunter-gatherer



societies as is associated withwhat Woodburn(1980) has termeddelayed-return societies (also termedcollectors and foragers,reopposed to immediate-return emergent spectively[Binford,1980]). Several issues are centralto understanding froma cross-cultural social complexityamong hunter-gatherers perspective.Noand thenatureand tably,these include theextentof groupversusindividualrights magnitudeof sharingwithinthese small-scale societies. As notedby Barnardand Woodburn(1988), among others,thereare two important aspects of this topic. between First,what is the natureof property rightsand how are theytransmitted as property rightsserve as vehicles important generations?This is particularly the social for expressingideas and values and formaintainingand reproducing order.Second, what is the characterand extentof property ownershipwithina society? The fundamental question is how and under what conditions will huntercolfrom foragersto being intensified being immediate-return change gatherers lectors with delayed returnand ultimatelyhaving an increasinglynonegalitarthis was not a simple unilinearprocess. Notably, ian social structure? Certainty to create within ritual contextscan provide the opportunity in changes ideology who are kin and both between affines, individuals, directly bindingrelationships related to the control and allocation of resources (Arnold, 1996; Barnard and Woodburn,1988; Hayden, 1996; Ingold et al, 1988). More rigorousexamination enhance of changes in social complexityand ideology has thepotentialto greatly This food and of how 1982). (Woodburn, why productionbegan understanding is and in order social unravel aims to which institutions, greatly changes approach, enhanced by examiningwhat Wiessner (2002, p. 234) has termedthe "recursive and agency." between structure interaction One persistentdebate in theoreticaldiscussions about the origins of social complexityand food productionhas been whethersocial change occurred conditions (Arnold, 1996; Barnard and Woodburn, in stressfulor nonstressful and Gebauer, 1995a)? Did these events occur in Price 1988; Hayden, 1996; contextsof resource abundance or resource shortage?There also is a trendto see external factors as stressfuland internalfactorsas nonstressful (Hayden, 1990, 1995b). There is, of course, no shortage of alternativeopinions, many stress as a potential kicker event for emergent of which view environmental complexity. and theorigins initialsedentism twopointsareemphasized.First, In summary, need to be separatedfromthe domestication of cultivation process, as thisallows to the social systemsof complex hunter-gatherers. our attention Second, us to turn understand in to order considered must be factors external and internal both fully thedynamicsof social change. Thus thefollowingdiscussion focuses on thetime examining period fromjust priorto initial sedentismthroughearly cultivation, culturalcomplexes. First,however,the both the natural settingand prehistoric contextforthistopic in the Near East is reviewed. overall prehistoric

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THE PREHISTORIC CONTEXT OF THE NEAR EAST areaintheworld andbest-documented theearliest TheNearEastis currently took to foodproduction from foodprocurement transition where thefundamental of sedentism for the models A of origins place. variety regionalexplanatory in recent in the Near East have been put forward and foodproduction years. included environmental have in these Causal factors stress, arguments presented in concert withenvironmental and contraction changes, expansion population and and internal social changes(e.g., Bar-Yosef, 1998b,2001a; Belfer-Cohen and Belfer-Cohen, 1997; Bar-Yosef, 2000; Cauvin,2000; Goring-Morris Henry, and Hole, 1991; Moore and Hillman, 1989,2002; Hodder,1990; McCorriston of scholars 1999; Grossman (BaruchandBottema, 1992).As noted bya number that environmental the andBelfer-Cohen, 2002;Henry, 2002), perspective negative the most culture has been Near Eastern drove widelyadvocated change change explanation. on on thistopicin theNearEast has focused field research Archaeological The and Holocene to the Late Pleistocene cultural events (Table I). Early dating with theage ofthecultural correlated ofthis research is inversely period intensity uneven. The andhas beenvery as age increases) (i.e., decreasing geographically taken in the southern the last has mostextensive research 20 during years place andtheWestBank),followed Levant Jordan, Israel, bythenorthern (modern-day in as to Much less field research has Levant (primarily Syria opposed Lebanon). in southeastern and northwestthe flanks taken Turkey placealong Taurus-Zagros in thisarea in recent ernIraq,butseveral yearshaveproduced exciting projects of which are onlybeginning to be fully newresults, theimplications recognized ofthe 1999;zdoganandBasgelen,1999).The eastern portion (e.g.,Kozlowski, seen Fertile Crescent and the rest of has little or no recent fieldwork (Iran Iraq) understood andremains (Hole, 1998). poorly - the Levantand the This paperfocuseson the best-documented regions - and does flanks of southeastern and northwestern Taurus-Zagros Turkey Iraq in notexamine trends central Anatolia or Iran and therestof contemporaneous It should be stressed there never a that was Eastern culture, Iraq. single pan-Near and throughout theLate Pleistocene and EarlyHolocenea variety of regionally restricted cultural thatinteracted witheach other in assorted existed complexes manners. thepace and nature of changesin social organization and Moreover, economicstrategies werehighly variedthroughout theNear East, often differbetween thesouthern northern andtheTaurus-Zagros Levant, Levant, inggreatly as well as beingdistinct from other socioeflanks, Moreover, adjacent regions. conomicadaptations wereoften at a singlepointin timewithin verydifferent each of theseregions between theforested and desert of (forexample, portions southern Levant theLatePleistocene). Thustheemergence ofNearEastern during Eastern in timing agricultural villageswas nota uniform pan-Near phenomenon



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and socioeconomic details. This articlehighlights key developmentsin this process, focuses on local areas where archaeological researchhas provided data of sufficient resolution,and, as a result,does not address the full extentof cultural variationin timeand space. A numberof temporaland culturalclassificationsand termshave been used to refer to Late Pleistoceneand Early Holocene archaeologyin theNear East (e.g., 2002, pp. 366-367; Moore, Henry,1995, pp. 33^1; Kuijt and Goring-Morris, 1985). Table I provides both calibrated and uncalibratedage estimates for the relevantculturalperiods; dates discussed in this article are calibrated calender ages (cal. B.P.) unless otherwise indicated (Stuiver et ai, 1998). The relevant culturalevents began duringthe Early and Middle Epipaleolithic, time periods and gatherers withvariedadaptivestrategies characterized (Byrd, 1998; by hunters and Belfer-Cohen, 1997; Henry,1997). Sedentary hunter-gatherers Goring-Morris are currently first documentedduringthe subsequent Late Epipaleolithic. In the southern Levant,the Late Epipaleolithic is primarily represented by the Natufian culture(Bar-Yosef,1998c; Bar-Yosefand Valla, 1991; Byrd,1989a). The Natufian is typicallysubdivided into Early and Late phases (and sometimesthreephases [Valla, 1995, pp. 178-182]), and includes a regionalvariantin the Negev termed the Harifianthat is contemporaneouswith the latterpart of the Late Natufian (Bar-Yosef, 1998c; Goring-Morris, 1991). In theTaurus-Zagrosflanksand in the northern non-Natufian are contemporaneous Levant, sedentaryhunter-gatherers withthe latter of the Natufian et Moore al., 2000; Rosenberg part (Biaki, 1998; and Redding,2000). The subsequentEarlyNeolithicperiod begins near theonset of theHolocene and includes two major phases: the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) and the PreB Neolithic The PPNA is (PPNB). Pottery period characterized by earlyvillage life and widespreadindicationsof plant cultivation(Bar-Yosef, 1991; Cauvin, 2000; Cauvin et al, 1997 r; Kuijt and Goring-Morris, 2002). The PPNA in the Levant is frequently divided into the earlierKhiamian subphase and the later Sultanian subphase (Bar-Yosef, 2001a; Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen,1989; Cauvin, 2000, of each phase have pp. 22-33), althoughthe efficacyand diagnostic attributes called been into Mithen et al, 2000). Howrecently question (e.g., Kuijt, 2001a; no substantial architectural remains have been recovered fromoccupation ever, horizons assigned to the Khiamian, whereas the Sultanian (also referred to ocas the Aswadian and in the central and northern casionally Levant) Mureybetian and contemporaneousoccupation along the Taurus-Zagors flanksis defined in remains (e.g., Bar-Yosef and Meadow, 1995; part by its extensivearchitectural The PPNA is followed 900 years laterby the PPNB withits charCauvin, 2000). acteristiclargercommunitiesand animal herding(Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen, 1989; Bar-Yosef and Meadow, 1995; Rollefson, 1989). That change, however, was not uniform across the Near East. During each phase adaptive strategies varied considerablythroughout the region, and some populations, particularly but not exclusivelyon the margins,continuedto have social and economic systems



to prior moresimilar 1992;Harris, 2002; Hole, 2001a; Byrd, (Bar-Yosef, periods of the Late the initial Epipale1998). Notably, camps sedentary hunter-gatherer werelimited and subsequent olithic villagesof theEarlyNeolithic agricultural andareally. both numerically 11 atleast16 speciesincluding entailed foodproduction NearEastern Initial emmer chick einkorn broad bitter wheat, wheat, bean, vetch, pea, (barley, plants andsheep)(Butler, and5 animals 1998; flax, goats, pigs, (dogs,cattle, pea,andrye) et Tchernov Peters Horwitz et al, 1999; 1999; al, Garrard, 1999; Harlan,1995; andHopf, andValla,1997;Wilcox,1998;Zeder,1999;Zohary 2000). The initial andinclude to all as were cultivated for food annuals, opposed perennials, plants All theearly and oil. with flax for fiber fourgrassesand fivelegumes, along under animals were herd animaldomesticates, NearEastern brought except dog, to theMediterall butflaxarerestricted their food.Moreover, control for human raneanwoodlandor edge of the adjacentsteppeor grassland today(Garrard, ofthe is focused on these andHopf, 1999;Zohary 2000). Thusattention portions NearEast. with Natufian the ofdomestication Thetemporal during Early began sequence the earliest at later thedog; domesticated considerably (starting appeared grasses were animals andherd inLateNatufian and/or PPNA),andsubsequently legumes and Bar-Yosef the PPNB domesticated Meadow, 1998b,1998d; (Bar-Yosef, during and Valla, 1998b;Hillmanet al, 2001; Tchernov 1999; Harris, 1995; Garrard, took 1997; Wilcox,2002). This was a protracted changethat processof genetic the are data as new more than 5000 years. obtained, timMoreover, archaeological andrevised reevaluated is for species periodically ingofdomestication particular etal, 1999;Wilcox,1999,2002). Indeed, 1998b;Peters perspectives (Bar-Yosef, theLate Epipaleolithic of cerealdomestication on theinitial rangefrom timing etal, 2001; Levant ofthesouthern with theLateNatufian (Hillman contemporary PPNB Mooreetal, 2000) to the 2002; Nesbitt, 2002). (Harris, noris does notcluster evidence domestication The NearEastern temporally cultural well-defined oftheregion's with thestart correlated ittightly phases.So One single for these 16 ofdomestication thetiming howdoesoneexplain species? factors? causal different each withpotentially or 16 explanations, explanation domesticated havebeen independently some speciesmaypotentially Moreover, etal, 1999;Wilcox, etal, 1999;Peters than one location inmore 2002; (Horwitz on ofdomestication onthetiming emphasis placesundue 1996).Focusing Zohary, what was ofunderstanding at theexpense taking changes genetic epiphenomenal were After societies. thehuman caused, all,thegenetic being changes placewithin andfaunal orunconsciously, Indeed, paleoethnobotanical byhumans. consciously ofeachof andherding cultivation that inthe NearEasthavelongrecognized experts toclearevidence oftime varied these16 specieswastaking prior lengths placefor on havebeen concentrating domesticated of morphologically species,and they in this the earlysteps to discern process approaches sophisticated developing andMeadow,1995;Colledge,1998,2002; Harris, 1998b;zkan (e.g.,Bar-Yosef

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etal, 2002; Zohary on whether etal, 1998).Moreover, havevaried perspectives cultivation and would lead to domestication (McCorriston herding quickly plant and Hole, 1991; Zohary, domestication was a slow process 1996) or whether to becauseoflowselective 1000 2002; (Harris, taking up years pressures, perhaps Wilcox,1999,2002). on thesocial aspect moreattention mustbe focusedexplicitly Therefore, To do so, social developments to thesegenetic of initial foodproduction. prior in and in and animals need to be attention must detail, changes plants explored from be placedon theearlyportion of thesequenceof change, particularly the the PPNA. at thestart MiddleEpipaleolithic occurred of through Rapid change boththeNatufian and PPNA, and theresulting social and ideologicalpatterns wereprofoundly different thanwhathad existed Thusunderstanding previously. thecausal factors the onset of these two milestones are keyto social underlying the termed "the of food that grasping developmental process origins production" culminated the PPNB. This be must done at the during by looking development ofsocialsystems within their historical andecologicalcontext. CURRENT LATE PLEISTOCENE/EARLY HOLOCENE CLIMATIC DATA New high-resolution proxyclimatedata from annually layeredice cores, in Greenland and is our of Antarctica, revolutionizing understanding particularly howchanges intheclimate affected theglobeduring thelatePleistocene andearly Holocene(Alley,2000; Alleyet al, 2003; Charles,1998). A tight chronology of events and spectacular resolution at less thanthedecade level is now available forthemagnitude and timing of climatic events and Brook, (Severinghaus et et These in 1999; Severinghaus al, 1998; Taylor al, 1997). developments reconstruction an to further link varied globalpaleoclimate provide opportunity lines of Near Eastern evidence(including lake cores,site paleoenvironmental and reconcile information), pollen, geoarchaeology, archaeological contradictory of earlier andmoreaccurately assess theroleof climate reconstructions, aspects socialdevelopments and 1996; Bar-Yosef changein prehistoric (e.g.,Bar-Yosef, andBelfer-Cohen, Kra,1994;Goldberg, 1986;Grossman 2002; Sanlaville, 1996, 1997; Tchernov, 1997; van Zeist and Bottema, 1991; Wright, 1993). It is very to correlate lake core pollendiagrams acrosstheNear East difficult, however, becauseofa variety offactors thenumber ofradiocarbon datespercore, including theaccuracy of radiocarbon on whether assays,and variedperspectives change shouldbe regionally uniform (Baruchand Bottema, 1999; Blumler, 2002; Bottema,2002; Capperset al, 1998,2002; Rossignol-Strick, 1995; Yasuda et al, 1999). Climatic theLate Pleistocene changeswerebothrapidand extreme during and EarlyHolocene(Severinghaus and Brook,1999; Severinghaus et al, 1998),



in temperature, and and somesalient rainfall, changes aspectsof thesedramatic of thelast glacial are summarized fortheNear East. At theheight vegetation anddrier than theNearEastwasmuch colder maximum, 22,000cal. B.P., (at today lower(Bar-Matthews Sea was considerably least5-7C), and theMediterranean et al, 1997, 1999; Baruch,1994; Galiliet al, 2002; Sanlaville, 1997; Tchernov, theMediterranean forest, 1997; vanAldenandLianos,1983) (Fig. 1). Moreover, and forest-steppe woodland, 1973), withits standsof oaks, almonds, (Zohary, was primarily annualgrassesand legumes, and pistachios and,mostimportant, Black Seas Zeist andBottema, Mediterranean and to near the (van relegated refugia oftheNearEast was dominated 1991,pp. 121-122).The remainder bycool,dry with and shrubs or shrublets, mainly comprising perennial steppe desert-steppe in the Mountains woodland more limited 2002; (Bottema, Zagros refugia possibly van Zeist and Bottema, 1991,fig.42). This was an Arefmewa-chenopodiaceaeandtubers; edible with numerous dominated legumes, grasses, steppe, perennial This butin low density foodswerediverse 1996, 176-181). (Hillman, glacial pp. climatic endedwith ofvegetation maximum notably changes, subsequent pattern et al, 1997, 1999; rainfall and increased (Bar-Matthews higher temperatures van Ziest and Bottema, et Baruchand Bottema, al., 1998; 1999; 1991, Cappers woodland the Mediterranean the of model for Hillman's 1991); (1996) spread the theLevantine north andeastfrom andforest-steppe throughout Fertile refugia in the has been widelyendorsed Crescent region(e.g., Barby archaeologists Near Yosef, 1998d,2000a; Hole, 1998; Moore, 1998; Wilcox,1999). Finally, and Late Pleistocene the different were associations Eastern during very vegetation a chaotic environment of and an Holocene than ecological perspective today, Early to envisioning is bestsuited and vegetation changes during vegetation dynamics successions andvegetation than environmental this erarather (Blumler, equilibria 2002; Hillman, 1996,2002; Bottema, 1996). were tworemarkthere andfluctuations, ofclimatic this change During period around and increased where events able climatic rapidly dramatically temperature around event occurred andPPNA.The first oftheNatufian thetime 14,600 300 et al, thestart of theB0llingclimatic cal. B.P.,marking (Severinghaus regime of the Preboreal the onset b.p. at cal. 10 took the second 1998); place 11,570 meanannualtemperand Brook,1999). Duringbothevents, era (Severinghaus has information most detailed where the in Greenland atureincreased globally; events climate of these Each 3C it increased 9 been obtained, (16 5F). in less thanone generation one or twodecades,in other within occurred words, and etal, 1998; Severinghaus Brook,1999).Thisraisestheques(Severinghaus within havehad,occurring wouldthesechanges tion:Whatsocial impact single lifetimes? events climate that thesetwoabrupt indicate reconstructions Environmental East in the Near and rainfall wereassociatedwithincreased (Bartemperature Matthews et al, 1997, 1999; Baruch,1994; Baruchand Bottema, 1999; Sanlavandwetter to warmer 1991).Theserapidshifts ille, 1997;vanZeistandBottema,

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times hadfour thefood-rich Mediterranean woodFirst, consequences. important outofitsrefugia, intheLevant landandforest-steppe beganto spread particularly andBottema, etal, 1998,2002; Hillman, 1999;Cappers 1996;vanZeist (Baruch andBottema, at leasta distance of 150-200 1991).The woodland spread quickly, m peryear(certain and probably cerealsspreadeven plantssuch as terebinths andultimately acrossextensive oftheNearEast (Hillfaster), expanded portions ofthese dramatic climate man,1996,pp. 181-189;Peteet, 2000). A secondresult withmorewinter rainand greater summer changeswas increased seasonality and Hole, 1991). Indeed, the 2002; Byrne, 1987; McCorriston (Blumler, aridity Late Pleistocene and EarlyHolocenewas a periodof muchmoreextreme seaThis extreme a risein atmospheric than sonality today. seasonality coupledwith thewarming eventsallowedannualcerealsand legumesto flourish CO2 from andoutcompete a widegeographic 1996; (Blumler, throughout range perennials theseclimatic and Hole, 1991; Sage, 1995). Third, Hillman, 1996; McCorriston forhuman as rich, novelopportunities easilyexchangespresented populations and with the resources became more abundant widespread expansion ploitable wereslowed forest and wet steppe.Finally, thesetrends of theMediterranean a cooleranddrier interval between andpartly reversed 12,900and 11,600 during a deal of has been theYounger cal. B.P.termed emphasis Dryas.Although great for Near Eastern hunterdeleterious effects of the on the Younger Dryas placed et and Bar Hillman McCorriston Hole, Yosef, 1996; al, 2001; gatherers (e.g., has been this Moore and Hillman, 1991; 1992), questioned perspective recently and 1999; Bottema, 2002; Grossman (Baruchand Bottema, by severalscholars a took over transition to the 100The Belfer-Cohen, 2002). place Younger Dryas slowerthantheB0llingand Preboreal rapidwarming considerably yearperiod, et al, et al, 1998; Taylor and Brook,1999; Severinghaus events (Severinghaus 1997). TEMPORALLY CORRELATING CLIMATIC CHANGE EVENTS WITH CULTURAL EVENTS of theB0llingand at thestart events climatic How did thesetwodramatic these events? with actual correlate cultural climatic Preboreal First, past regimes annual events are derived from since dated events aremore climatic they accurately crossdated havebeenrigorously ice coresthat within continuous (Severinghaus and Brook,1999). Archaeological et ai, 1998; Severinghaus data,in contrast, becauseofthematerial less accurate, areinherently context, beingdated, largely start of siteoccupation. theprecise of and the association, difficulty dating and PPNA were dates forThe Late Epipaleolithic Availableradiocarbon have this time sites Eastern Near reassessed. period during archaeological Many most uncertain. site full of the a few Moreover, dates, occupation span making only were trees that from that datesareon woodcharcoal mayhavebeen,on occasion,

ofVillageLifein theNear East Emergence


datingof seeds and livingpriorto when the site was occupied. The less frequent nutshas providedmore accurate datingresults,but these small remainsare also more likely to be have been postdepositionally displaced. Aberrantradiocarbon dates faroutsidetheexpectedtimerangeof theLate Epipaleolithicand PPNA and dates consideredinaccuratebecause of early measuringtechniques(solid carbon and early gas counting)were excluded due to theirprobable inaccuracy(van der Plichtand Bruins,2001; Waterbolk, 1987, 1994). Comprehensiveliststhatinclude thesedates are available in Byrd(1994a), Kozolowski (1994), Kuijt and Bar-Yosef (1994), and Moore et al (2000). Tables II and in list all remainingradiocarbondates for the Late Epipaleolithicand PPNA. Dates withhigh statistical error(definedby excessive standard deviations) were then excluded because of theirprobable inaccuracy. In doing so, I follow Waterbolk(1994, p. 368) in defininglow-precisiondates as uncalibratedassays between 15,000 and 10,000 B.P.withstandard deviationsgreater than 220 years, and uncalibratedassays between 10,000 and 5000 B.R with standard deviationsgreater than 150 years. Dates with low statisticalerrorwere then calibrated in order to correlate archaeologicaleventsand climaticevents.This entailedusingCalib ver.4.2, which is based on the INTCAL98 versionof the calibrationcurve (Stuiveret al., 1998). This comprehensiveapproach using individual samples was necessary because it providedthe chronological accuracy needed to make this sortof comparative 1998, study(see also Aurencheet al., 2001; Bar-Yosef,2000b; Weinstein-Evron, The calibrated calender of Late and PPNA events 72-78). pp. ages Epipaleolithic are 2200-1200 yearsearlierthanuncalibrated radiocarbonages. 8 1 calibratedradiocarbondates from 22 Late Epipaleolithic Figure2 presents sites (see also Table II). These include Natufian sites in the southernLevant, Harifiansitesin theNegev portionof the southern Levant,and threenon-Natufian Late Epipaleolithicsites in the northern Levant and the Taurus-Zagrosflanks.At the early partof the sequence is restricted to Early Natufiansites in the present, southern Levant. The onset of the Natufianis reasonablywell correlatedwiththe startof the B0lling era and subsequent warmerand wetterconditions.Only one date on unspecified wood charcoal frominterior Chamber III at El Wad precedes thisrapidclimaticeventat one standard deviation,and no calibrateddates precede thisclimaticeventat two standarddeviations.Four radiocarbondates (threefrom Wadi Judayid2 and one fromBeidha) oftenreferenced in supportof a veryearly startfor the Natufian(e.g., Henry, 1999) were excluded because of excessive sigmas (see Table II). If calibrated,however,these fourdates also straddlethe startof the B0lling climatic regime at one sigma. Withoutnew dates fromEl fromseeds ratherthan charcoal, or fromother Early Natufian Wad, preferably sitesthatare considerably earlierin age, thelogical conclusion is thattheNatufian after this climatic eventduringthe B0lling climaticera 14,600 db beganjust rapid 300 cal. B.P. More important, forthe first1700-some years, Late Epipaleolithic warmerand wetter conditionsthanbefore. hunter-gatherers enjoyed significantly



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Late Epipaleolithic sitesin theNearEast (n = 81, datesfrom ofcalibrated Fig. 2. Distribution 1 standard deviation).

occurred durandtheHarifian ofLateNatufian Thevastmajority occupation northern era.The three climatic the Levant/TaurusYounger Dryas ing subsequent besiteshaveoccupation 13,200cal. B.P., postdating ZagrosLate Epipaleolithic in No sites this northern of the to the start Dryas. Younger ginning just prior to 13,300cal. B.P.ThusEarly datedprior of theNearEast are currently portion in Levant do not the southern Natufian by appearto be paralleled developments inthenorthern Levant andtheTaurus-Zagros in socialorganization similar shifts and may thissituation are unclearat present flanks. The reasonsthatunderlie If evidence in the available evidence. current reflect a lacunae currently possibly in the northern Near this reflects a lackofintensive indeed East,then occupation in tied to dissimilar environmental be timelag in social developments may part conditions. 74 radiocarbon datesavailablefrom 18 PPNA periodoc3 presents Figure Five dates are from two totheinitial cupation phases. occupation phasesassigned Khiamian of Table These dates from Hatoula (see III). (one phase occupation of thefiveearliest PPNA dates,and at and four from four Mureybet) represent one standard deviation occurwithin theYounger to the they Dryasera and prior onset ofthePreboreal climatic event. Datesfrom theLateEpipaleolithic Mureybet and thewide considerably, phaseIA and PPNA Mureybet phasesIB-II overlap ofdatesfrom Halanhemistraddle theLateEpipaleolithic/Early Neolithic range Of the69 non-Khiamian datesfrom 18 PPNA sites, boundary. onlyone dateon unidentified woodcharcoal from WadiFaynan16 precedes thePreboreal climatic event atone standard deviation (see TableIII andFig. 3).



of calibrated datesfrom PPNA sitesin the Near East (n = 74, 1 standard Fig. 3. Distribution Notescale is twotimes 2. deviation). Figure

These calibration results revealthat theonsetof PPNA villagelife clearly the Sultanian referred to the and Mureybetian in the as Aswadian (also during central and northern well and is dated well correlated with Levant)subphase thePreboreal or secondrapidwarming event11,57010 cal. B.P.Moreover, in variousplaces throughout theLevantas well as along thisprocessoccurred overa muchlarger area thanEarlyNatutheTaurus-Zagros flanks, occurring it is clear,however, fiandevelopments. Whilecorrelation is notcausation, that and thenPPNA earlyvillagelifeflourished immedisedentism EarlyNatufian in climate initiated bytheB0llingand Preboreal atelyafter rapidimprovements and Belfer-Cohen, events(see also Bar-Yosef, 2002; Harris, 2000b; Bar-Yosef 2002). SOCIOECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS IN TEMPORAL CONTEXT

theonset oftheB0lling a correlation between Theradiocarbon datesindicate social milestones. and thetwofundamental and then Preboreal climatic regimes - sedentary and gathering Thus thesetwo suddensocial developments hunting - occurred in resource-rich andthen 3000 yearslater villagelife food-producing stress orinareas than under environmental favorable climates rather settings during a medium warm andwetperiods Each ofthese with resources. provided marginal andto andtoentrench toflourish, tobegin, for newadaptive themselves, strategies overa much wider andultimately all aspects ofsociety region. spread throughout

ofVillageLifein theNear East Emergence


stresscannotexplainthese environmental Thus priormodelsthatemphasized on social andchanges attention must be focused dynamics clearly developments; times of climatic amelioration to at in social-ideological interaction taking place understand howandwhyithappened. thesespecific whatconditions To beginto understand orgawhyand under at the needsto be examined context nizational choicesweremade,theregional ontheLevant, because concentrates discussion tothe Holocene. transition Initially, thisportion of theNearEast has themostdetailed archaeological Epipaleolithic Neolithic section Thesubsequent oftheNatufian. andis theheartland record Early flanks theLevantandtheTaurus-Zagros balanced between is moreevenly given inthelatter results andimportant research thesubstantive region. Early and Middle Epipaleolithic cultural havebeenproposed todistinguish Levantine entities Numerous terms of which to theLate Epipaleolithic, the9000 cal. yearperiod many prior during havetemporal and spatiallimits 1995; Henry, 1995). (see Byrd,1994a; Fellner, thistimerangeis referred to as theEarly On thebroadest scale of classification andwe currently lackstrong intosocialorgaandMiddleEpipaleolithic, insights In theLevant, themostdetailed information comes nization andregional trends. anddesert theNegevofsouthern from thesemiarid (mostnotably, steppe regions andthenorthern Hismaofsoutheastern theAzraqBasinofeastern Israel, Jordan, and to a lessorextent theel Kowmbasinof eastern Jordan, Syria)(e.g., Byrd, and Belfer-Cohen, and 1998; Goring-Morris 1997; Henry, 2002). Less detailed information is available for theMediterranean forest of systematic regional region theLevant, andwe virtually haveno insight into oftheTaurus-Zagros occupation flanks thistime during period (e.g.,zdo|an, 1997).Thussocialreconstructions for this time andsubject toconsiderable are,bynecessity, period quitespeculative in thefuture. revision all portions of the By theMiddleEpipaleolithic, hunter-gatherers exploited Levant anda series ofpreadaptations setthestage for theNatufian (e.g.,Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen, 1989; Byrd,1998,n.d.;Goring-Morris, 1995; Goring-Morris and Belfer-Cohen, 1997; Henry, 1995, 1997). Earlyand MiddleEpipaleolithic sitesweretypically small(25-400 m2,with a singleoccupation event generally 25-50 m2 in area) and occupiedforshort periodsof each year.Architecture involved theuse ofperishable materials. Toolkits weregeneralized, and primarily stoneincluded and bowls.Rarelypreserved mortars, ground infrequent pestles, remains include a widerange oflocally available wildplants (Garrard, 1999). plant hard-coated emmer wheat andbarley), fruits, Notably, grasses (including legumes, andnutswereexploited at Ohalo II nearLake Tiberius in thesouthern Levant at thestart oftheEarlyEpipaleolithic havebeen (Kislevetal, 1992).Burials rarely recovered and onlyat thelargest Artwork sites,and gravegoods are infrequent.



is extremely rare.The presenceof tradegoods, typicallysmall Mediterranean and Red Sea gastropodbeads, reveals interaction between groups over considerable distances. Available surveysshowingthe location of sites and excavationsat representative sites in the southernLevant indicate thatthe dominantsettlement pattern consistedof large territories (the size of which varied dependingon regionalpatternsin resource availability) occupied by a series of small, residentialgroups of probably 10-20 people (e.g., Bar-Yosef, 1998d, p. 146). These groups moved theirresidentialcamps several times each year in patternsthat varied depending on the local setting(Goring-Morris,1995; Henry,1997, 2002). Several extremely large sites, such as Wadi Jilat6 (Garrardand Byrd, 1992) and Kharaneh IV (Muheisen, 1988), were occupied in the southernLevant. These sites may well representsettingswhere larger populations brieflycoalesced togetheran1995). Such aggregationevents nually (Garrardand Byrd, 1992; Goring-Morris, would have been pivotal for social maintenance,marriagenetworks,resolving noted ethnographof major ceremonies,a pattern and the performance conflicts, The size of Lourandos, 1997). population (e.g., ically among hunter-gatherers these aggregationgroups is uncertain,but it was undoubtedlycorrelatedwith the minimumnumberneeded to maintaina biological group and had implications forthe territorial groups,which overall was range of these hunter-gatherer large. the from thestart of theEarlyEpipaleolithicthrough Given this,severaltrends Natufian social for Middle Epipaleolithicservedas important preconditions Early interaction. First,the numberof sites increased over time,sites were distributed and more diverse ecological niches across a wider range of ecological settings, were exploited. Some residentialsites in very favorable settingssuch as Neve David (Kaufman, 1992) and Ein Gev IV (Bar-Yosef, 1981), as well as largeaggregation sites such as those mentionedabove, may have been occupied forlonger periods of time each year. The advantages of these extended encampmentsand aggregationswould have been evident with respect to cooperative procurement events,including game drives. These trendsmay possibly indicate a long-term on thecarto populationgrowth, shift and, if so, therewas thepotentialforstrains in stylistic of are indications There also increasingregionalization ryingcapacity. and tradegoods (notablyshell beads) tools (namely microliths) motifson hunting duringthis same time frame.All this suggests thatthe size of group territories may have been reduced fromthe onset of the Early Epipaleolithic throughthe it is possible the adaptive sysMiddle Epipaleolithic. Given this reconstruction, tem in play for a long period of time priorto the Late Epipaleolithic may have been showing strainsaround the marginsbecause of slow but steady population growth(Rosenberg, 1998). Much more research is needed, however,to clarify at the end of the Middle of social interaction the full natureof regional patterns Epipaleolithic(e.g., Henry,2002).

ofVillageLifein theNear East Emergence


Late Epipaleolithic The onsetoftheLate Epipaleolithic whenthe beganaround14,600cal. B.P. warmed and rainfall increased. Climatic amelioration was climate dramatically forest of thesouthern Levant as resource-rich first realizedin theMediterranean flourished andincreased attheexpense ofperennials annuals 1996;van (Hillman, sea and lake levels(such as Lake Zeist and Bottema, 1991). At thesame time, LisanintheJordan 1996),andburn(Bar-Yosef, dramatically Valley)wererising a usefulstrategy forincreasing foodsupply as it wouldhave ingwas no longer theextent and productivity of progressively moreabundant annuals decreased in sedentism the resource(Hillman,1996). Late Epipaleolithic beganinitially boundedarea, richcenter of the Mediterranean the mostspatially woodland, the Natufian culture and is represented 1998c; 4) (Bar-Yosef, by complex(Fig. and Valla, 1991; Henry, Bar-Yosef and Meadow,1995; Bar-Yosef 1991; Lieberin thenorthern settlement Levant man,1993;Valla,1995).Currently, prehistoric Natufian encountered and with the has been Early onlyinfrequently contemporary M. much of the flanks is undocumented C, 1987; (Cauvin, along Taurus-Zagros Esin,1999). sedentism was theresult of social decisions that broke draEarlyNatufian and from included matically prior Epipaleolithic adaptive strategies significant in intracommunity in intercommusocial interaction as well as changes changes It entailed downin multigroup forat least nity relationships. settling aggregates exact duration debated and no varied ninemonths is doubt peryear(the peryear more annual wild overtime) andfocusing on heavily exploiting grasses, legumes, and nuts(Bar-Yosef, and Valla, 1991; Belfer-Cohen, 1998c,2001a; Bar-Yosef labortactics 1991;Henry, 1989;Valla,1995).Cooperative mayhavebeenusedto wild abundant resources such as and that were mature nuts, cereals, legumes gather for a time if short and would rot not collected These resources would only quickly. then haveto be stored forlater the of consumption during unproductive portions theyear(latesummer andwinter). Natufian siteswerestrategically between Sedentary placed at thejunction different environmental a wider of resources to be zones,enabling range readily than1000m2(Bar-Yosef, 1989).The sitesweregenerally exploited (Henry, larger as many as 60 inhabitants. Thesesedentary siteswereoften 2001a),with perhaps atprominent located on the such as or caves that rockshelters, "places" landscape, in theMiddleEpipaleolithic wereunoccupied or situated to directly adjacent the mostprominent It is not demonstrated springs. possible,although by empirical that thesechoicesin sitelocation evidence, element, mayhave had a symbolic as territorial andthesesitesmayhavebeenviewedas events, effectively marking a sacred had (see Lourandos, 1997).Thecavesandrockshelters having component theadditional of an interior suitable for ritual events, advantage having storage, andifneedbe defense.



/ Mediterranean


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A diverse subsistence theuseofnewtoolssuchas sicktechnology, including and was focused on foods more time and tocollect, les, requiring energy process, than before based store. became much more Plants, annuals, particularly important and bioarchaeoon several linesof evidence limited archaeobotanical including 1998c; Henry, 1989; Lieberman, 1998; Lieberman logicalevidence(Bar-Yosef, ofground stone domandBar-Yosef, tools, 1994;Valla,1998).Anelaborate array in havebeenrecovered bedrock mortars inated andpestles, bymortars alongwith the than from Middle sites. much Hunting using Epipaleolithic higher frequencies

ofVillageLifein theNear East Emergence


bow and arrow(with lunates on the latter)included all sizes of available game, entailedintensification of large game hunting (especially of gazelle), and smaller such as birds and fresh water fish were also more frequently game exploited. There also was a tremendousincrease in tools made of bone, includingsickles, and numerousawls indicatinga rich basket-making tradition gorges forhunting, (Belfer-Cohen,1991; Campanna, 1991). These developmentsnecessarily would have entailed profoundchanges in social interaction, includingincreasingly complex social obligationsand schedulDetails are unclear because of the nature of archaeological data, but these ing. were in the reflected use of changes widespread expressive art as evidenced in and tools,itemsof personaladornment, figurines, buildingdecoration(Bar-Yosef, 1997; Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen, 1999; Marshack, 1997; Valla, 1995). This outburst of symbolic expression emphasized the naturalworld with the regular use of the meanderpattern and zoomorphic imageryin threedimensions,while human images were uncommon and genderless. It also included incised bone and limestoneobjects thatmay have contained encoded information (Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen,1999). These symbolicdevelopmentshad significant cognitive and religiousmeaningand value as stridently advocated by Cauvin (1994, 2000). Althoughthe interpretive potentialhas yetto be fullyrealized, symbolicexpressions of thisnaturemay have played an important role in reinforcing new forms of social interaction. For thefirst buriedtheir dead in organized time,Near Easternhunter-gatherers cemeterieswithinand around these sedentarysites. This developmentsuggests a new way of illustrating ancestralties to the land (Bloch, 1971; Kuznar, 2003). Itemsof personaladornment wereregularly placed in manyEarlyNatufian graves. these items were different from thoserecoveredfrom Moreover, very pre-Natufian sites. Previously,it has been suggested that these burial patternsand practices indicate a social hierarchyand hereditary elites (Henry, 1989; Wright,1978). More recently, scholars have suggested that Natufianmortuary practices were instead relatedto changes in social meaning and ritualpractices (Belfer-Cohen, of 1995; Byrdand Monahan, 1995; Valla, 1996) or have emphasized thedifficulty the symbolicmeaningof ancientmortuary understanding practices(Boyd, 2001, 2002). EarlyNatufian mortuary practiceswereclearlycomplex and probablyserved, inpart, to markintricate that age-gradeand sex distinctions helpedbindtheselarger communitiestogetherwithin a set of increasinglycomplex social obligations (Byrd and Monahan, 1995). The oldest adultshave no grave goods at all, perhaps indicatingthey have moved throughall the age-grade stages, a process noted in othercontextssuch as among Loikop pastoralistsof northern ethnographically in New Guinea (Tuzin, Kenya (Larick, 1987) and among Arapesh agriculturalists in social and symbolicaspects ofmortuary 2001). Therealso was regionalvariation practices,includingavulsion,ornamental caps, beads, and otherdecorativemotifs (Belfer-Cohen,1995; Bar-Yosefand Belfer-Cohen,1999).



betweenneighborsocial changehad to do withinteraction Another important of tradenetworks, and entailed the This communities. scope widening range ing basalt for large and shell dentalium malachite, ochre, beads, notably including et al, 2001). Weinstein-Evron van and stone tools Andel, 1988; (Runnels ground Recent sourcingresearchhas revealed thatbasalt forNatufiangroundstone tools thanlowas most oftenacquired fromdistantsources, up to 100 km away, rather et al, 1999). From thisit can be deduced thattrade cal sources (Weinstein-Evron role in buildingalliances and maintaining good relationswith played an important et Weinstein-Evron al, 2001). 1992; populations (Kaufman, neighboring of EarlyNatufiansedentism.ArchitecThere was also a series of byproducts were large and often and built of stone. Early structures turebecame permanent within a singlebuilding(Valla, 1995, 2000) at regularintervals had severalhearths and may have housed multiplefamilies(Byrd,2000). Storage facilitieswere rare, and storedfood was probablykeptin baskets.Trash builtup rapidlyin the sedenniche. This "garbage" niche creatinga new environmental tarysites, effectively attracteda varietyof small animals, and threeof our modern companions (the house mouse, the rat, and the house sparrow) emerged as distinctspecies in a thatthe process termedcommensalism(Tchernov,1991). Thus it is not surprising it at times and this was domesticated Valla, 1997); during period (Tchernov dog was sacrificedand thenburiedwithhumans(Valla, 1995). first intowherecomplex hunter-gatherers We now have good insight emerged forest of thesouthern in theNear East (in theMediterranean Levant),when ithap(in themostresource-rich pened (around 14,600 cal. yearsago), and in whatcontext of area of the Near East duringa favorableclimatic period). Our understanding howRecent certain. less is much it how and why happened developmentsdo, in population some priorexplanations.Resource stressresulting ever,help refute since direct cause the emergedduring sedentary hunter-gatherers pressurewas not fromthe good times (Rosenberg, 1998). Nor is the retreatof hunter-gatherers Late of the the start at decline of environmental a result semiaridNegev Epipaleolithicto create a formof populationpacking and the Natufian(Bar-Yosef and conditions were Belfer-Cohen, 1989) a viable explanation since environmental improving. Externalfactors change) alone (such as populationpressureor environmental to explain these profounddevelopments,although certainly are not sufficient at the startof the Late Epipaleolithic created new environmental improvements (both at the Instead, I suggest that changes in social interaction opportunities. how and and intergroup complex hunterlevel) lie at the heartof why intragroup new patternsof social gatherersemerged in the southernLevant. The onset of was not crisis drivennor forcedon local populationsbut was socially interaction driven during a period of relative resource abundance. This set of conditions had that rulesof interaction in whichprior, relatively egalitarian provideda context reflected are and controlsocial interaction servedto constrain (as they imperfectly

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in earlier Middle Epipaleolithic settlements)were reduced and/orsuperseded. Thus enterprising individuals,perhapscommunity leaders,may have been able to capitalize on a spontaneous set of externalevents around 14,600 cal. years ago to address long-standing difficulties thathunter-gatherer groups had periodically in regionaland community encountered interaction. This entailedexploiting resourcesthathad been partof theforaging spectrum on these now duringearlierperiods by placing considerablymore timeand effort moreplentiful plantresources.Cooperativelabor tasks were well suitedto gather theseresources, and producestoragecontainers/facilities. preparethemforstorage, There also was now a direct correlationbetween the time and effort put into these activitiesand the investment As a more food resources were result, yield. available duringsubsequentportions of theyearthanwere available in priortimes. In thiscontext, labor became an extremely important aspect of social interaction, and the abilityof a group (or individualswithina group) to entice more people to participatein these activitieswould have been very important and a highly skill. The food stuffs were a form of respected resulting effectively surplussuitable forcreatingsocial obligations,establishingnew formsof social interaction, and and alliances. This would have a in context which building enhancing provided leaders were able to expand theirroles and enhance theirprestige. community But whywere EarlyNatufian or alterexistingrules groupsable to circumvent of social interaction? First,it is likelythatthese new economic activitiesdid not, at least initially, takeaway an individual'sor a family'sabilityto obtaintraditional of these seasonal food stuffs. Instead,thisnew strategy yields emphasized collectionintensification wherea greater was obtained unit of land. Second, it yield per is probablethatthisnew economic strategy did notjust benefit individualsor sinfamilies but had obvious benefits to social units. Thus social interaction gle larger to have entailed in more appears largergroupparticipation cooperativeendeavors and included intergroup interaction. This new strategy of resourceintensification also was advantageousto EarlyNatufian territorial groupsbecause itreducedtheir and lowered for conflict and with stress range thereby potential adjacent groups over boundaryissues (Rosenberg, 1998). It also secured territory and group ownof a resource that could be used social capital, as ership key resources,provided and at the same timegreatly increasedthecomplexity of social interaction. In this rules context, pre-Natufian governingproperty ownership(and possibly property inheritance) may have been altered,and thisprovidedtheimpetusandjustification forproduction intensification. Of course, the details of preciselyhow thishappened are unclear at present; available evidence indicatesthatchange was not incremental butoccurredrapidly at the startof the Natufianand thatthe natureof social interaction, social rules and institutions, and ideology differedmarkedlyfrom that evident during the Middle Epipaleolithic. Rapid social change is typically very hard to demonstrate in a Late Pleistocene context. archaeologically(Adams, 2000), particularly



This perspectivethat rapid change occurred at the startof the Natufianis bolsteredby the lack of sites with a transitional phase and thatno Early Natufian Middle Epipaleolithic occupation (although thereis a sites have an underlying lack of Middle Epipaleolithic sites well dated to immediatelypriorto the Late Epipaleolithic). half sedentary sites The Natufianlasted for3000 years,and duringthe latter Levant became distributed over a widergeographicregionincludingthe northern (Cauvin, 2000; Cauvin et al, 1997; Moore et al, 2000) and the Taurus-Zagros flanks(Rosenberg and Redding, 2000). The antecedentsof these new northern settlements remainuncerLevantineand Taurus-Zagrossedentary hunter-gatherer or tain. Whetherthislacunae is a resultof mobile prehistoric occupation patterns theeast (Rosenberg, 1999) or north themovementof populationsfrom (zdogan, M., 1999) will require additional field research to fullyclarify.There also has on whether the Late Natufianin the southbeen considerablediscussion recently ern Levant remained sedentaryor were more seasonally mobile as a result of increased climate-inducedstress duringthe Younger Dryas (Bar-Yosef, 2001a; Belfer-Cohen and Bar-Yosef, 2000; Valla, 1995). Spatially, settlement patterns varied greatlyduringthe course of the Late Epipaleolithic,and it is highlylikely that they also varied temporallyalthough much more work is needed to fully understand these trends. Additionalsocial changes occurredgraduallyduringtheLate Natufian (Kuijt, Levantbecame smallerthanduringthe in thesouthern 1996). Domestic structures indicating theymay have been Early Natufianand containedonly a single hearth, the residences of individual families (Byrd, 2000). These architectural changes the first steps towardincreased household autonomy.Important may well reflect from have been obtainedrecently new insights intocommunity-wide organization of the Tigrus in the the Late Epipaleolithic site of Hallan emi on a tributary both community, Taurus-Zagros flanks.At this small sedentaryhunter-gatherer were and larger,possibly nonresidentialstructures small residentialstructures uncovered (Rosenberg et al, 1998; Rosenberg and Redding, 2000). These large of nonutilitarian as public buildings,and a variety structures have been interpreted contexts. nonresidential with related itemsare associated theEarlyNatufian, from also differ Late Natufian markedly mortuary patterns over individual burials and as grave goods were now absent predominated group burials (Belfer-Cohen, 1995; Byrd and Monahan, 1995). Althoughit is difficult the implicationsof these archaeological data, new mortuary to fullyunderstand and promotean wide harmony practicesmay have servedto enhance communitya were undoubtedly egalitarianethos (Kuijt, 1996). Overall, these developments Late the life of extended sedentary during Epipaleconsequence and outgrowth thatit entailed. olithicand the more complex social relationships and spatially,in ways thatare not fully varied,temporally Adaptive patterns of Late Epipaleolithic finalbyproduct The agreed on nor understoodat present.

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sedentismand resourceintensification was cultivation, as documentedat the site of Abu Hureyrain thenorthern Levant (Hillman et al, 2001; Moore et al, 2000). The site was set in an ecotone at thejunctionof the riparianand steppe withopen of park woodland in the Middle EuphratesRiver Valley. Excellent preservation carbonizedplantremainsand a rigorousrecoveryplan by AndrewMoore yielded a remarkable rangeof plantspecies. Hillman's (2000) analysis demonstrated yearroundoccupationand relianceon a fewkeyplantspecies. Around 13,000 cal. B.P., thissedentary sitewas established,therewas a decrease in thepark 500 yearsafter less available perhaps woodland/woodland steppe,makingwild cereals and fruits because of theonsetof cooler and drierconditionsduringtheYoungerDryas. Rye and possibly wheat thenbegan to be cultivatedas indicatedby a sudden increase in a range of weedy species (Hillman, 2000). Domesticated rye is documented 400 years later based on the presence of a small numberof larger grains that have been directlydated. This reconstruction of Late Epipaleolithic cultivation has been given broadersupportby Colledge's (1998, 2002) multivariate analysis of archaeobotanicaldata thatindicatedcultivation at the nearbysite of Mureybet. Some archaeologists,however,prefermuch stronger evidence before they will Late cultivation and domestication (Harris, 2002; Nesbitt, accept Epipaleolithic 2002). It is uncertain how regionally extensivecultivation was duringthisperiod,for how long ittookplace, and how manydifferent were in largepart cultivated, plants because Natufiansites in the southern Levant typicallyhave poor preservation of carbonizedplantremains.It is likelythattherelativerelianceon particular species was highlyvariedthroughout the Near East and thatcultivation experiments may have been underwayin a varietyof settings.For example, at Hallan emi, wild legumes and nuts appear to dominate the carbonized plant remains while wild cereals are veryrare (Rosenberg et al., 1998). This may reflectsocial decisions or, probablymore likely,a dearthof locally available annual cereals given this late Epipaleolithicsite's distancefrom theMediterranean woodland refugia(Hole, et al 1998). Rosenberg (1998; Rosenbergand Redding,2000) also have suggested thatpigs were undergoing domesticationat Hallan hemi, althoughthisinterpretationhas been questioned(Ervyncket al, 2001; Peterset al, 1999). Regardless, resourceintensification was takinghold withrespectto certainanimal species as wells as plantspecies. Thus theearliestevidence at presentforplantcultivation and plantdomestication is in the Late Epipaleolithic duringthe Younger Dryas, a period of worsening climatic conditions.Although climatic stresshas been the most common reason cited forthe onset of cultivationin the Late Natufian(Bar-Yosef, 2001a; Moore and Hillman, 1992; Moore et al, 2000), other possible explanationsinclude of local environpopulation increases at sedentarysites or the overexploitation ments.Late Epipaleolithiccultivationwas probablysupplementaland limitedin and served as a risk abatementstrategy extent, (Redding, 1988). Moreover,Late



tohavebeenhighly andtailored subsistence varied strategies appear Epipaleolithic to locallyavailableresources. EarlyNeolithic theonsetoflargefood-producing durThe secondsocialmilestone, villages from the Late was result of decisions that broke the the PPNA, significantly ing occurred Thisunprecedented socioeconomic development system. Epipaleolithic in and increases and cal. soon after dramatic B.P., 11,600 temperature, rainfall, annual cereals and This in distribution and of further the legumes. density changes to in potentially settlement locations entailed shifting larger groups, aggregating from a cultivation buffered and areas witha highwater table, conducting plant 1 1 BarYosef and Yosef onrainfall Meadow, , 199 , 200 a; (Barcomplete dependence scheme 1995;Cauvin, 2000; KuijtandGoring-Morris, 2002). Thisunprecedented habitat of theplants theprimary newnichesoutside created beingmamultiple thanpreviously communities and allowedformuchlarger (3-8 times nipulated 2 to 5 ha in size and from Natufian thelargest site);thelargest villagesranged Yosefand Yosef2001a, p. 18; Bar(Barmayhavehousedup to 300 individuals Meadow,1995,p. 62). Most,butnotall,ofthese largePPNA siteslackan undersomehavea Khiamian Late Epipaleolithic phase).At (although component lying andTaurus-Zagros Levant sitesinthenorthern andperhaps other flanks, Mureybet PPNA tothe theLateEpipaleolithic occurred from however, continuity occupation between of occupation (Biaki,1998; Cauvinet al, 1997). The precisenature Neolithic as Khiamian characterized a periodoften 12,000and 11,600cal. B.P., an a fewLate Epipaleolithic datesfrom sites)remains (butwhichalso includes issue. butunresolved important butwerevery werenotnumerous settlements These earlyfood-producing on both documented distributed (Fig. 5). PPNA villagesitesarecurrently widely and intheDamascusBasin,alongtheEuphrates sidesoftheJordan River, Valley, and northern in southeast Iraq Turkey alongtheTigrisRiverand its tributaries Yosefand Gopher, 1997; Edwardset al, 2002; Kozlowski,1990; Mithen (Baret al, 1989). These et al, 2000; zdogan,A., 1999; Stordeur, 2000; Watkins in the situated wererarely extensive plantagriculture, earlyvillages, practicing collector-based fortheir ecotoneschosenby theEarlyNatufian hunter-gatherer locatednearthemargins thelargePPNA sitesweretypically Instead, strategy. on alluvialfans,and beside near marshes, of the steppe, along lake margins, landcouldbe clearedforcultivation; considerable river bankswhere highwater couldbe andlarger andproductive; morereliable tablesmadeharvests surpluses produced. cereals reveala diverse remains archaeobotanical diet,with Well-preserved Yosef elsewhere inthesouth andwheat most , (Barbarley notably being important, a shift with 1999; Kislev,1992;Wilcox,1996).Thisis correlated 1991;Garrard,

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to and pestles, from in processing ideallysuited by mortars pounding emphasis with to grinding in theLate Epipaleolithic, a diverse emphasis nut/legume/cereal remained hand stonesand slabs (Wright, 1991). The diet,however, relatively and birds, and especially animalssuchas tortoise, withsmaller diverse lizards, common waterfowl 2000;Tchemov, 2001a; Cauvin, 1994).Thus (Bar-Yosef, very becamea keysourceoffatandprotein. animal resources wetland at PPNA sitesrevealthatchangesin social dynamics Recentexcavations on in theseEarly werefurther elaborated in Late that the Epipaleolithic began Trade trade netNeolithic increased, 1996; Stordeur, 2000). villages(e.g.,Kuijt, such as cowrie and new of across wider works distances, types goods expanded and Meadow,1995; wereexchanged natural and obsidian shells, tar, (Bar-Yosef








JerfelAhmari '









Hureyra V.

Mediterranean )
J y



| A

Kfar HaHoresh ) lraqed-Dubb Gesher**/* Hatoula # I- Netiv Hagdud, Gigal1




llzahrai adh Dhra* 2 NahalHemar^Dhra 9WadiFaynan16 #Beidha

MadiJ //
Fig. 5. Map of Near East showing location of prominent Early Neolithic sites mentioned in text.


250 km




were morestandardized J.Cauvin, 2000; M. Cauvin, 1998). Residentialstructures in size and form,typicallymade frommud brick or wattleand daub with stone and oftencontained silos for storinggrain (Bar-Yosef and Gopher, foundations, 2002; Stordeur,2000).They 1997; Byrd, 2000, 2005; Kuijt and Goring-Morris, one buildingon top of previouslyoccupied buildings,creating were oftenrebuilt, tells. Community-widePPNA constructionevents created public architecture, of which the best known are the wall, ditch, and tower from Jerichoin the southernLevant (Kenyon, 1981). Recent extensive salvage excavations at Jerf Levant have revealed remarkablenew insightsinto el Ahmar in the northern evolved fromround to rectangular this topic. Domestic architecture duringthe PPNA occupation at Jerfel Ahmar, and public buildings are well documented PPNA-PPNB contexts(Stordeur,2000; duringthe latterPPNA and transitional Stordeuret al, 2000). Two late PPNA phases of occupation at Jerfel Ahmar (during which aboveground rectangulardomestic buildings were present) each include a large, round, subterranean building divided into radiatingcells with of these two public buildinghad a raised benches and wooden pillars. The first headless skeleton on the floorand two human skulls at the base of a posthole, whereas the subsequentpublic buildingcontained a skeletonlacking a skull and vertebrae,with a skull in a room corner.The large, round, subterranean public building in the subsequent occupation level, assigned to the PPNA-PPNB lacked internalsubdivisions,but its raised bench containeddecorated transition, stone slabs thatincludeda continuousraised design depictinga serpent (Stordeur, 2000, p. 3). occurredduringthe PPNA and are Additional changes in social interaction reflectedin symbolic imagery.Cauvin (1978, 1994) pioneered this topic in the and that Near East, assertingthatideological developmentspreceded agriculture the emergenceof deities (manifestedas goddesses in humanformand bulls) was withthenatural change theirrelationship necessaryforhumansto fundamentally has been thesis and world. Cauvin's influential recently updated and provocative discusto considerable and intoEnglish (Cauvin, 1997, 2000) translated subjected sion (Bar-Yosef,2001b; Cauvin, 2001; Hodder,2001; Rollefson,2001; Verhoeven, 2002a; Wakins,2001; Wright, 2001). Recent excitingnew discoveriesat Neolithic considerationof psychocultural sites also have promptedfurther developments. Expressive art shiftedfromthe Natufianheavy emphasis on the naturalworld to a remarkableand diverse set of Early Neolithic human (both male and female) and animal images as figurines, statues,and on stelae. Ideological changes also are indicatedin mortuary practices (Kuijt, 1996, 2000b, 2001b). In the southern lacked gravegoods and were often Levant,burialstypically placed underthefloors of buildings.Many burials laterhad the skulls removed,presumablyfordisplay, oftenin clusters(Belfer-Cohenand Aurensberg, and thentheskullswere reburied, 1997; Kuijt, 2000b).

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Similar to the startof the Natufian,we now have betterinsightinto when, where, and in what contextlargerPPNA villages emerged (around 11,600 cal. of Near Easternsettings duringa favorableclimaticperiod), yearsago in a variety while insightsintopreciselyhow and why it took place are not well developed at Partof thisdifficulty is thatour knowledgeof social interaction duringthe present. to as the is weak. Yet the establishreferred 400-500 Khiamian) years(often prior the mentof these large,food-producing was not based on "invention" of villages in cultivation the Late as much as since cultivation, began Epipaleolithic,perhaps and possibly at othersites 1500 years earlier(at Abu Hureyra,laterat Mureybet, since theenvironment as well). Nor was ittheresultof environmental perturbation in it was at this time. not solely due to the Furthermore, point improvedmarkedly in domesticatedplantssince major improvements ascendance of moreproductive, in different of the Near occurred and villages portions plantgenetics subsequently East were relying on variedcultivatedplants. The widespreadoccurrenceof large communities emphasizingfood productionaround 11,600 cal. years ago was the resultof fundamental changes in social discourse and interaction. These developmentsbuilt on and also departed from of the Late Epipaleolithic the social rules and institutions thatemergedat the start and thathad been subsequentlymodifiedduringthe time period from 14,600 to in all likelihood 11,600 cal. B.P. A decisive and innovativeeconomic strategy, was undertaken that on the leadership-driven, capitalized improvedenvironment at the start of the Holocene. This entailed further resourceintensification through in new settings, more labor investment in activiland-modifying plantcultivation ties such as planting and tending of agricultural plots,greater yields,and expanded since seeds were needed for the next season's storagerequirements planting. This land use strategywould have disproportionately benefitted the most ambitiousfamilyunits,as it provided greatersurpluses thatwere controlledby individualhouseholds,as well as community leaders and householdheads, since it and enhanced their role within the on severallevels. Notably, expanded community thisentaileda codification/formalization a of social strategy forfood production. The organizationalstructure of communitieswas further altered away froman orientation on thegroupto an emphasis on family-based productionunits. This process was anchoredby rules of ownershipgoverning access property, to resources,and stressedthe importanceof inheritance in a mannerthatforever occurred changedthesocial landscape. Fundamentalchanges in social interaction withinthese larger food-producingunits with respect to the division of labor, the location and natureof processingand storage,and intercommunity exchange The familybecame the fundamental unitof productionin termsof the patterns. allocationof tasksamong individuals,and thefamily-based rulesbecame codified withrespectto productionand controlover storedgoods. An inherent aspect of family-based productionwas the greaterpotentialfor some familiesto be more successfulas a result of such factors as havinglargerplotsof land,havingaccess to



Thus therewas a greater land thatprovidedhigheryields,or havinga largerfamily. likelihoodfordivergencein wealth,status,and power betweenfamilyunits. of social life was tied to the importance of This fundamental reorganization of theenvironment, the annual agriculture cycle, its impacton humanperceptions and the social implicationsof living withinlargercommunities.These changes in intracommunity discourse were reflectedin the spatial organizationof the (that reveals greaterspatial discreteness communityand the built environment betweendomesticstrictures and, on occasion, distinctive public facilities)and the in of ritual activities structuring interpersonal relationships. growingimportance an in role and establishingand then symbolicimageryplayed important Ideology in new social terms of social relationswithin this form of discourse, reinforcing and theworldaroundthem. and betweenfamiliesand also betweenthecommunity the growingimportance of ancestorsin For example, mortuary practicesreflected of land became more restricted ritualactivitiesas access to productive (Barplots Yosef, 2001a; Bar-Yosefand Meadow, 1995; Kuijt, 1996). New Neolithicimages had potentsymbolic meaning and reveal complex ritualand ideological patterns that varied considerablybetween regions withinthe Near East (Bienert, 1995; Verhoeven,2002a, 2002b). An important aspect of thisprocess undoubtedlyincluded an enhanced role forcommunity leaders, possibly elites, in managingthe complexitiesof agriculturalvillage life,in dealing withquestions of scale withinthese largercommunities,and in resolvingan increasednumberof intracommunity disputes.Currently, burialtreatment, thereis littlearchaeological evidence (such as differential greater household size, or access to and controlof prestigegoods) duringthe PPNA to demonstratethe presence of leaders or elites. Instead, the presence of leaders is inferred based on the need for managers to organize substantialcommunitywide labor eventsdocumentedat some Early Neolithic sites. Ideology may have by conducting power and authority provideda venue forleaders to garnergreater and ritual control over elaboraterituals, knowledgeand paraphernalia, maintaining those in the the success of each step agricultural process (including "ensuring" done by humansand theresultof nature,such as timelyrainfall).Thus leadership roles were legitimizedthrough ideology. bestdocumented in earlyvillage lifecontinuedand are currently These trends and symbolic PPNB ritual The witnessed PPNB the period. subsequent during a wide to the over herd animals the addition of elaboration, region,coneconomy have even of which some settlements and much siderablepopulationgrowth, larger more became Social towns been called (Bar-Yosef,2001b). complex, organization evidence of suprahouseholddewithincreasinghousehold autonomyand further cision making(Byrd, 1994b, 2000, 2005; Kuijt, 2000a; Kuijt and Goring-Morris, became more 2002). Increased divergencein the characterof social interaction Levant and the southern the between evident withinthe Near East, particularly Taurus-Zagrosregion.

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distinctive and typThe built environment of PPNB communities included thesestructures have been discovered wherever icallylarger publicbuildings; examhaveexposeda largepercentage ofthesite.Well-documented excavations and Beidha flanks, ples includeCaynand Nevali Cori in theTaurus-Zagros in southern Jordan 1988; zdogan and (Byrd,1994b,2000, 2005; Hauptman, to mortuary of these were connected Some 1998). clearly buildings zdogan, at the same no doubt were the venue while sometimes others, site, practices, wide interactions of othercommunity1994b; Hole, 2000; Verhoeven, (Byrd, 2002a). with andelaborate setsofvisualimagery associated Morecomplex mortuary rituals andintraandintercommunity interaction also occurred thePPNB during 2000; Kuijt, 2000b,2001b;Verhoeven 2002a,2002b). A growing (Cauvin, body in thesouthern of iconography, suchas human statues andbusts madeofplaster muchmorecomplex Levant 1986,2000), suggests (Rollefson, symbolic expressionsthatare difficult to fully of archaeological data. A graspgiventhelimits has becomewidely in recent novelaspectof thisprocessthat recognized years entails thepresence ofsitesdominated nonresidential activities. Theseinclude by thesmallcave siteof NahalHemarsouth of theDead Sea (Bar-Yosef and Alon, 1988),the in air site of Kfar HaHoresh the lower Galilee area open (Goring-Morris, siteofGbekiTepeinsoutheastern Anatolia 2000),andthelarge (Schmidt, hilltop 2000). GbekiTepe,one of themostremarkable sites,has been EarlyNeolithic as a center for ritual and ceremonial activities interpreted regional aggregation The 9-ha site a series of levels from the (Schmidt, 2000). comprises occupation middlePPNB back intothePPNA (Hauptmann, 1999; Schmidt, 2000, 2002a, Neolithic level(H) consists ofa series ofrectangular structures 2002b).Theupper whiletheunderlying level (III) contains oval structures. None of thesePPNB is considered a residential a wide rangeof wild structure, buildings although animalremains, wild plantfoods,and lithics have been recovered at the site. These buildings have been characterized as nondomestic and monumental and includeterrazzo floors and T-shaped monolithic in some set the walls, pillars, others The limestone intact at a freestanding. pillars,some of whichare fully of 5 a include of animals and m, lions,foxes, aurochs, height variety (including in carved relief At times one animal dominates cranes) (Schmidt, 1998). depicted thedepictions in a singlebuilding. Some of thebuildings appearto have been buried a task at intentionally during occupation, involving least 300 m3 of fill the catchment forthisritualcenter is (Schmidt, 2002b). Although population the site's extent and the labor involved in construction activities unknown, suggests a fairly network of social interaction and alliance.Moreover, other large-scale siteswith similar attributes haverecently beenrecognized in theTaurus-Zargros most thelarge, 32-hasiteofKarahan regions, notably, Tepe50 kmtotheeastthat includes 266 in situpillars visibleon thesurface (elik,2000).



tomortuary activities also wereelaborated on during Ritual related practices thePPNB. Skullsweremodeled with and decorated with other plaster elaborately in theLevant, wisdomto consider materials and it has been conventional these elders(Arensberg and skullsto be onlyolderadultmalesthatwerecommunity research has however, Hershkovitz, (2001), 1989). Osteological by Bonogofsky and some children also were revealed thattheskullsof females, adults, young selectedforspecializedtreatment 2002a, 2002b). Recent (see also Verhoeven, Levanthas revealed at KfarHaHoreshin thesouthern research uniqueinsights interaction with tomortuary activities into 2000; respect (Goring-Morris, regional of human a wide surfaces, etal., range Goring-Morris 1994-1995).Lime-plastered andat times twoplastered contexts remains skulls)in varied mortuary (including have and beenfound. with animals'remains associated aurochs) (typically gazelle are and and children Burialsofmen, documented, Goring-Morris women, (2000) of thepopulation wereonlya selectportion that theseindividuals has proposed thepotential Thissuggests from a seriesofnearby villages. early food-producing from residential indications the forsocial ranking egalitarian despite relatively Levant sitesinthesouthern (Byrd,1999,2000). rolethat ritual theextremely Theserecent played important findings highlight the Neolithic. interaction andregional inbothintracommunity They during Early social interaction, between of the interplay also revealthatour understanding theEarlyNeolithic is stillweak.Much alliances,and ideology during regional how theseaspectsof earlyvillagelife is neededto comprehend moreresearch varied acrosstheNearEast. andhowthey wereintertwined SUMMARY of social changein theNear East thisreassessment Figure6 summarizes Thefirst socialmilestone offoodproduction. with theorigins associated (complex of the 14,600cal. the start began suddenly hunter-gatherers) sedentary associated intensification resource Levant.It entailed in the southern Natufian and ofsettlement with a clear-cut aggregation, population patterns, reorganization was Thisrestructuring onwildcerealandlegume anincreased gathering. emphasis that that wereusedas socialcapital created foodsurpluses driven, largely socially in socialinteraction as a whole,andinvolved thegroup benefitted majorchanges andideology. offurther, ledtoa series sedentism Onceinitiated, changes gradual ultimately a thousand acrossa widerregion in social interaction yearsor so latercontemalso beganaround Cultivation with theLate Natufian. 13,000cal. B.P. poraneous enthat economic a was cultivation activity undoubtedly supplemental Initially, the maintain to resources abled sedentary occurring naturally exploiting groups increased as demand Thisoccurred ofcerealsandlegumes. relative dietary input

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[S**-. EartyNatufan j Jm




and PPNA forEarly Natufian of social and economicchangesand setting Fig. 6. Summary in theNearEast. developments

wild-food insufficient settlements wereproviding and theareas nearsedentary butis bestdocumented is unclear atpresent Extent ofthis yields. experimentation inthenorthern Levant atAbuHureyra (Mooreetal, 2000). A very important part is thenature andextent that remains uncertain ofthisLate Epipaleolithic process communities between of interaction sedentary hunter-gatherers livingin larger in the and moremobilehunter-gatherers inhabiting adjacentareas,particularly andtheTaurus-Zagros flanks. northern Levant thenemergedabruptly 11,600 Village life,the second social milestone, of the cal. B.P.during thePPNA. This occurred overa moreextensive portion flanks. It entailed thecreation of mulNear East including theTaurus-Zagros and allowedlarger to intensive populations tiplenew niches, plantcultivation, villive together. The impetus forthe establishment of thesefood-producing that created lages was a sociallymotivated strategy greater surpluses, explicitly the family as the primary unitof production, and afforded greater positioned to community leadersand household heads. In doing so, powerand prestige how humans interacted witheach other and their environment was profoundly reconfigured.



in common. sharea seriesof characteristics These two social milestones after environmental conditions Both occurred the onsetof better immediately Both entailedresource in areas wherepotential was the highest. productivity theinvestment of morelaborto obtain intensification higher yieldsand through In doingso, buffer zoneswere ofthelandscape. from smaller segments surpluses andthis the theterritories of adjacent created between mayhavereduced groups, fundamental conflict. Bothevents also included forintergroup changes potential both in socialinteraction, socialinstitutions, andideology. Change during periods that environmental was notincremental butrapid. Thusitis possible rapid change climatic served ofthePreboreal at theendoftheB0llingandat theonset regimes individuals tojustify newsolutions for leaders orenterprising as catalysts creating Indoing roleswere enhanced with for so,leadership problems. addressing existing forms of socialdiscourse. theformation ofmore elaborate CONCLUSION intheNear a series ofecologicalandsocialpreconditions converged Clearly, The sudden onset of comEast at theend of thePleistocene (Sherratt, 1997). the Natufian was thefirst at the start of Early hunter-gatherers plex,sedentary food in settlement in a of remarkable pattern, procurement changes process step Thesedevelopandideology. size,socialinterrelationships, community strategies, insocialinteraction and andelaborations tofurther alterations ments ledgradually more These initial cultivation. economic gradual subsequent, including strategies and organizalaid theinstitutional theLate Epipaleolithic during developments of EarlyNeolithic forthedramatic tionalframework villagelifeand emergence with each humans interacted forever how that intensive cultivation reconfigured were lateinthePPNB,economic around them. Until andtheworld other strategies events in multiple local domestication and resulted situational (including highly social and theNearEast.At thesametime, of thesame species)within perhaps but interaction within also varied spheres regionally ideologicaldevelopments under which Thus conditions the the at sametempo. wereincreasingly occurring in theNearEast and villagelifeemerged cultivation, complexhunter-gatherers, available with all is consistent thisreassessment havebecomeclearer; currently evidence clearly, many piecesofthepuzzlearestillmissing. although, for reconstruction ofthisNearEastern So whatarethebroader implications Hole and as noted of foodproduction? theorigins First, (1991), byMcCorriston to look onlyat to explainthisprocesshave tended modelsdesigned universal None of thesegeneral variables heldin common known settings. by all pristine flaws or lacksempirical has notable and each either modelsis widelyaccepted, verification. more areclearly andfoodproduction of socialcomplexity Sincetheorigins at thisstageto examine itis better than once envisioned, majorregions complex

ofVillageLifein theNear East Emergence


in moredetailto determine are the them whatreally areaswithin andindividual that will be in each case. Once thisis done,it is predicted there mainvariables there willbe conditions butrather that and no universal pathto foodproduction, in if not situations and that are similar all, Gebaur, 1995b; (Price many, processes Smith, 2001a,2001b). research wouldbenefit from moreon howsocialcomFuture concentrating how and whyfood to understand amonghunter-gatherers fully plexity emerged thisshifts the 1996; 1996, 2001). (Arnold, began Hayden, Logically, production from a small number of focus ofarchaeological away just prisinquiry explaining foodproduction theorigins ofhunter-gatherer tine cases where begantoexploring scale.One advantage to thisapproach socialcomplexity on a broader geographic incontexts a much number of case studies can be studied is that worldwide, larger remained a and where social occurrence, early entirelyhunter-gatherer complexity will This allow us to in contexts where itled to foodproduction 1996). (Arnold, in the discern and more the variables more accurately quickly key process. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank and Doug Priceforinviting me to prepare thisarGaryFeinman ticle and fortheir assistance and advice on how to improve it. I also greatly comments and suggestions to me by SeethaReddy, Mark appreciate provided Guillermo and six reviewers. The of Becker, Algaze, anonymous presentation data a a was as result of series high-resolution globalpaleoclimate possibleonly withJeff of conversations and I greatly his help and Severinghaus, appreciate this article was a talk at the of as input. Finally, originally presented University I San of and thank the for California, Diego,Department Anthropology, faculty methat providing opportunity. REFERENCES CITED
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