Navigation – Plan du site

AccueilNuméros49-2ArticlesThe Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic B...

Articles

The Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic B Site of Aḥihud (Western Galilee, Israel)

Preliminary observations
Jacob Vardi, Hannah Parow-Souchon, Yossi Nagar, Ian Cipin, Danny Rosenberg, Lidar Sapir-Hen, Shirad Galmor, Heeli Schehter, Valentina Caracuta, Yitzhak Paz et Maayan Shemer
p. 19-42

Résumés

Résumé. Les fouilles récentes sur le site d’Aḥihud ont mis au jour les vestiges d’un village du PPNB ancien sur la rive du canal affluent de Nahal Hilazon (vallée d’Acre, Israël). Le site se trouve dans un écotone entre les collines de l’ouest de la Galilée et la plaine côtière du nord. L’assemblage lithique du site comprend des pointes de flèches typiques du PPNB (environ un tiers sont des types El-Khiam et Helwan) ainsi que des centaines de lames de faucille. La faune comprend également des preuves de la chasse au gros ainsi que de petits prédateurs. La flore du site témoigne d’une culture intensive de légumineuses. Des milliers de graines de légumineuses ont été concentrées dans deux silos. La grande majorité sont des fèves (Vicia faba) qui sont antérieures aux premières preuves d’une culture établie de légumineuses dans le sud du Levant. D’autres découvertes attestent de l’acquisition de produits exotiques tels que diverses pierres vertes et de l’obsidienne du Levant du Nord.

Haut de page

Texte intégral

The excavation at the site of Aḥihud was funded by the Israel Railroad Company and was conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority (License number A-6663/2012). The Authors thank two anonymous reviewers who gave valuable comments that helped improve this paper. R. Abu-Raya and N. Getzov discovered and documented the remains of the Neolithic occupation of Aḥihud. E. Brun and E. van den Brink (field managers). F. Bocquentin assisted in the excavation of burials L222 and L425; O. Ackerman, A. Burg and N. Morag, for the mineralogy of the green stone artifacts. E. Rice (Obsidian chemical Analysis). The shell analysis was performed as part HC’s doctoral research, funded by the President Scholarship of the Hebrew University at Jerusalem and an Israel Science Foundation grant (no 1973/16) awarded to D. Bar-Yosef Mayer. DBYM also supervised the work, and many thanks are extended to her.

Introduction

1The transition between the Early phase of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (hereafter EPPNB) and the Middle phase of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (hereafter MPPNB) period in the southern Levant is distinctive by the increase in the number of sites as well as significant changes in the size and formation of the villages. It has also marked changes in certain aspects of the material culture.

2One of the earliest discoveries of an EPPNB occupation in the southern Levant was uncovered at Tel Motza (the southernmost locale of the EPPNB chronological phase of the Mediterranean region west to the Jordan Valley) in the Judea mountains region in 2003 (Khalaily et al. 2007). This was a “game changer” in our understanding of the evolution of the Neolithic period in the Mediterranean regions of the Levant. However, the Galilee, known as a vibrant area during the MPPNB, was dotted with many settlements by the mid-8th millennium BCE (Birkenfeld 2018). Among these, there are Beisamoun (Bocquentin et al. 2020), Yiftah’el (Khalaily et al. 2000), Nahal Zippori (Barzilai et al. 2013; Barzilai et al. 2016), Kfar Hahoresh (Meier et al. 2016) and many more. This region was relatively empty during the EPPNB much like Samaria, most of Judea and the coastal plain that appeared to be almost entirely devoid of EPPNB occupations.

3Few accounts so far hint at the character of the EPPNB settlements in the Galilee. The earliest account made for an EPPNB settlement in the Galilee is at the site of Horvath Galil in the Upper Galilee. The site was checked by Gopher (Gopher 1997). Although its size remained uncertain (Gopher 1997: 217), its excavation yielded the remains of a habitation unit, and a profusion of finds typical to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, including finds that are chronologically significant to the EPPNB phase itself. Another EPPNB settlement site was uncovered by Gopher at the site of Mujahiya in the Golan Heights (Gopher 1990) close to the Galilee region. That site dates to the EPPNB phase based on the early arrowhead types Helwan and El-Khiam. A construction phase attributed to the EPPNB exists also at the site of Kfar Hahoresh (Birkenfeld 2018). A few recently reported EPPNB occurrences that were uncovered after the excavation of Aḥihud were documented recently: Amqa in the western Galilee (Shemer et al. this volume) and Asawir on the coastal plain (Brailovsky-Rokser pers. comm.).

4This paper focuses on the findings from the late EPPNB site of Aḥihud (Galilee, Israel; fig. 1) uncovered during the winter of 2012–2013. Aḥihud is situated in the western part of the Galilee region. The excavation yielded a profusion of findings that shed new light on the EPPNB of Galilee. These finds serve as a precursor to several highly frequent phenomena during the first half of the 8th millennium cal BCE (Middle PPNB) related to the PPNB subsistence economy.

The Site of Aḥihud

5The site of Aḥihud is situated 10.50 km east of the city of Acre (Akko in Hebrew, Acca- عكا in Arabic) ITM grid 216140/757520 (fig. 1). The average altitude of the excavated area surface is 28 m above sea level. The archaeological remains appeared on the northern side of Aḥihud Hill. The northern edge of Aḥihud Hill ends in an extensive terrace 2–3 m higher than the nearby tributary streams of the Nahal Ḥilazon northern tributary channel floodplain. (Paz and Vardi 2014). The excavated area is on the terrace below the northern slope of Aḥihud Hill. The location of the excavated area is relatively horizontal. The hill was cut in the early 1980s with the construction of Route 85 (connecting the cities of Akko and Tzefat), which is 15–20 m wide. In a survey that was carried out at the hill by two of us (Jacob Vardi and Yitzhak Paz) we confirmed that there are archaeological remains also on the southern side of the road. Their extent, however, has to be confirmed in future research. It seems that the moderate part of the slope contained all or most of the PPNB village. Unfortunately, it seems that the construction of Highway 85 in the 1980s destroyed a large portion of the ancient settlement of Aḥihud prior to the excavation. Currently, Aḥihud is the only EPPNB settlement in the Acre Valley. However, the remains of Ard el-Samra, an MPPNB settlement, are within a close distance (ca. 0.50 km) south of the site of Aḥihud in an area that was only partially investigated that might hold earlier PPNB phases as well (Getzov et al. 2009).

Fig. 1 – A. The location of Aḥihud; B. Aḥihud and the Aḥihud ridge; C. The location of Aḥihud, British Royal Airforce aerial photograph 1945.

Fig. 1 – A. The location of Aḥihud; B. Aḥihud and the Aḥihud ridge; C. The location of Aḥihud, British Royal Airforce aerial photograph 1945.

Courtesy of the Hebrew University Geographic Archives.

The environment

6Aḥihud Hill is located at the western extremity of the lower Aḥihud Hills ridge. The western part of the Aḥihud Hills (the site’s whereabouts) geological stratigraphy includes Maastrichtian chalky Ghareb, and the Paleocene Taqiye formation marls (Sneh 2008; Zilberman et al. 2011). Another formation along the margins of the western Aḥihud Hills is the Kurdani formation. It consists of littoral and coastal calcarenite with flint pebbles embedded within the limestone rock (Zilberman et al. 2011 and references therein). To the north, the site overlooks a tributary of Nahal Ḥilazon and Har Gamal. The Zevulun Valley/‘Akko Valley, part of the northern coastal plain, spreads to the west and reaches the western side of the site’s hill. The bedrock in the excavated parts of Aḥihud Hill is very rugged and includes cracks and depressions. On top of the uneven bedrock, there is an accumulation of reddish Terra Rossa sediment. Its thickness varies over very short distances. The thickness of the sterile soil can change from nonexistant (in the places where the archaeological layers and the architecture were superimposed or constructed directly above the rock) or just a few centimeters to half a meter inside the natural depressions. In the areas where the few living floors (dwelling units?) are, there is evidence of the filling of the cracks by applying small fist-sized (5–10 cm) stones. Some stones have traces of knapping marks that show that a large portion of these rocks were quarried. These stony layers piled each year and probably several times per year due to the need to cope with the winter strains and to avoid living on muddy surfaces. Although that layering ended with massive stony layers in other late prehistoric sites in the Levant (Roskin et al. 2022), the thickness of the middens in Aḥihud is usually between 0.20 to 0.40 m above the bedrock apart for a few locations where they were used to fill natural crevices or shelves. That relatively thin accrual of the stony layer at the site of Aḥihud is probably due to the very short period of occupation (or the length of stay) at the site.

7The site location is in a lush area. It is close to a permanent water source, and being on the flanks of a significant stream, it hints at the deliberate choice of a well-defined ecological niche that supported the practice of a diverse subsistence economy.

8The Aḥihud area is located west of Beit HaKerem Valley, which separates the lower and upper Galilee. The location of Aḥihud can be defined as part of an ecotone in the broad sense because it lays in a horizontal flatland area that has several central channels (apart from Ḥilazon, which is the closest to Aḥihud) and several in and tributary channels that hold water year-round. Between those channels, there were swampy areas, including thick, dense aquatic vegetation that grew along the Wadi banks and around swamps. The average annual rainfall of recent years in the area is ca. 600 mm. That amount of rainfall supports the Mediterranean maquis that covers the hills of Aḥihud and the surrounding area. The natural member of the local plant group includes oak trees such as the common Oak (Quercus coccifera) and the Mount Tabor oak (Quercus et al.). These trees are part of a local Mediterranean plant group and are often adjoined by Carob (Ceratonia silique L.) and Mastik trees (Pistacia lentiscus L.). These types of trees also appear on the marginal areas that border the coastal plain, where they form a sparse maquis (Danin and Fragman-Sapir 2016; Schnitzer et al. 2022). As for the area stretching west to Aḥihud Hill, the coastal region is based on rendzina soils and gromosols that support varied vegetation (in the areas that are not heavily cultivated today), including a garrigue environment that has a dense coverage of large woody shrubs, both environments, the hill, and the coastal plain, are generally lush (Cabra-Leykin et al. 2021; Schnitzer et al. 2022) and support extensive and variable wildlife (Cabra-Leykin et al. 2021; Schnitzer et al. 2022) with species that are also frequent in the faunal assemblage of the EPPNB occupation, such as the Gazelle (see below).

The excavation

  • 1 The data related to the Pottery Neolithic settlement will be published elsewhere.

9The excavations at the site of Aḥihud started following the construction of a new railroad connecting the cities of Akko and Karmiel, parallel to Highway 85 and the train station. The salvage excavation of Aḥihud started after the discovery of diagnostic lithics of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, and some Pottery Neolithic material culture remains. The total excavated area is 1,750 sq. m. (figs. 2–3). The excavation uncovered the remains of part of a late Pottery Neolithic complex, attributed to the early Wadi Rabah cultural phase based on the pottery assemblage and the lithic tool kit. The Wadi Rabah village remains appear mainly in the western part of the excavation. The PPNB remains noted on the surface before our excavation originated in an earlier settlement dated by diagnostic finds such as arrowheads. Although there is some overlapping and superimposition of the Wadi Rabah settlement on top of part of the EPPNB layer (fig. 3), a significant area of the EPPNB occupation is not covered by the Wadi Rabah complex1.

Fig. 2 – The excavation area (view to the southwest) and Aḥihud Hill.

Fig. 2 – The excavation area (view to the southwest) and Aḥihud Hill.

Aerial Photograph Sky Ballon, operator D. Gahali).

Fig. 3 – An aerial photograph of the excavation part of the excavated area.

Fig. 3 – An aerial photograph of the excavation part of the excavated area.

In the east, rows 20 and 21 with high bedrock and few late finds are covered and do not appear in this photograph.

Aerial photograph Sky Ballon, operator D. Gahali

Stratigraphy

10As noted above, there are two primary layers at the site. The early Wadi Rabah occupation structures are concentrated on the western side of the excavation (fig. 3). Even though most of the Wadi Rabah structures were constructed directly on the sterile soil or the bedrock, in the places where the archaeological accrual is thicker (significantly above broad depressions in the bedrock), loci with clean EPPNB material culture remains (total lack of pottery remains and indicative lithic waste and tools) were found too. The EPPNB layer period in these areas is almost entirely devoid of any architectural elements. Superimposition of the Wadi Rabah Pottery Neolithic occupation remains on the EPPNB layer was documented in less than 20% of the excavated area.

11The EPPNB occupation remains were found either directly on the bedrock or set on the sterile Terra Rossa sediment that had accumulated in the low parts of the bedrock crevices and cracks prior to the colonization of the site. The bedrock distance from the surface is not even and varies greatly at short distances from 0.50 m to 1.80–2 m below the surface. In a few areas around the excavation and in its eastern fringes, the bedrock was already partially exposed. Several natural cavities in the bedrock surface were cleaned and utilized for installations and, in two cases, for inhumations. Only a small number of architectural elements belong to the EPPNB.

12The most significant EPPNB occupation remains were uncovered in a small area situated at the eastern part of the excavation, mainly in square C13-E13 until C15-E15, where the bedrock altitude is significantly lower than in most of the excavated area. The archaeological accrual of sediments in the eastern part of the excavated area is usually ca. 0.60–1.20 m thick. The sediment is very clayish, unlike the living surfaces often constructed from thin layers of small field stones and intentionally broken rocks. That also includes the lower volume of field stones between the EPPNB-rich layers.

Architecture

13Several architectural elements directly attributed to the EPPNB are worth an elaborate description. Two of them are large structures or compounds. The northern compound’s main architectural feature is a long curvilinear wall built of large rocks of up to 0.50 m maximal dimension that form the lowest course. In comparison, medium-sized rocks (up to 0.30 m maximal dimension) form at least 4–5 courses above the large rocks. The wall has only one row of stones. This wall was cut to decipher the technique of its construction. The wall appears as if it is bent, i.e., that it is leaning towards the south. The preservation of that wall is up to 1.50 m. Two stone-made floors are associated with this wall, and it seems that the latest of the two actually seals a large silo that contained thousands of legume seeds (mainly Vicia fava; Caracuta et al. 2015; Caracuta et al. 2017).

EPPNB Unit (squares C-F 12–15) Open areas with installations

14Under a thin layer of Wadi Rabah (in the north, squares C13-C14 and under the surface layer of squares D13-D15, E13-E15), the excavation uncovered the remains of an EPPNB activity area that includes the remains of stone floors, beaten earth floors, and installations. In square C13, the beaten earth floor/living surface (L368) was uncovered along with the remains of a small circular installation. The finds included typical lithics such as bidirectional waste and diagnostic tools, mainly arrowheads, and sickle blades. Obsidian artifacts and a few large ground stone tools were retrieved as well. The circular installation (1.40 m in diameter; inner diameter about 1.10 m) contained seeds. A similar living surface with a profusion of PPNB lithics, among other finds, was uncovered in the adjacent square C14. There is a reddish-brown layer (L355) situated west of a concentration of stones. It is probably the bottom of a refuse pit (L361). Other adjacent loci (L373 and L388) are an accrual made mainly of small stones that yielded similar diagnostic findings.

15In squares D13-D14 and E13-E14, below a thin topsoil layer (L340), the excavation uncovered the remains of a living surface (L393) made of small stones (5–10 cm in maximal dimension) and compact earth and a thin fill layer rich with PPNB artifacts; this living surface is equal to the living surface of L433 uncovered in square E14. On top of that living floor, there was the accumulation of diagnostic flint artifacts—obsidian artifacts and a ground stone that was placed horizontally on the floor. A round silo installation L398 was constructed at the center of this living surface, in square D13. The installation contained legume seeds of different types. Close to that living surface, a primary burial was uncovered close to the southern section. A larger silo (L450) was uncovered below the altitude of L433 and was sealed by its construction and therefore predates it.

16The borders of this EPPNB structure are not clear since, apart from walls W435/W437, there are no other walls that relate to the PPNB living surfaces. The possibility that the walls were made of mud bricks and were laid directly on the ground next to the living floors seems unlikely. The absence of wall footing hints to open activity areas partially covered by roofing.

17Wall W435/437 is an intriguing architectural feature that crosses part of the excavated area. This wall comprises large and medium-sized stones ca. 0.30–0.40 m of maximal dimension that form the lowest course. Smaller rocks comprise the upper courses. The wall was uncovered during the excavation from its northern face (= side). The stones that form that wall are set in a single row. The wall extends to more than 20 m, and its true length is unknown. W435/437 has up to six courses of medium-sized rocks preserved to a height of 1.20 m. Though it seems that the EPPNB occupation layer accrual abuts W435 from the north in a section made in that wall, seeds that originate in the large silo of L450 (fig. 4) were also noticed on its southern side. This might be an indication that W435 postdates (= cuts) the silo. Another option is that due to post-depositional processes, some of the seeds penetrated between the rocks. The fact that the profusion of seeds in L450 continues to appear almost half a meter below the height of W435’s lowest course means that this wall postdates this locus. The magnitude of that wall is impressive, although its entire contour was not entirely exposed during the excavation.

Fig. 4 – Massive terrace Wall 436.

Fig. 4 – Massive terrace Wall 436.

Photo Y. Bibas.

18South of that wall in square F13-F15, there is another massive wall (W436). Wall 436 is the northern part of an elliptical massive structure. Due to its proximity to the surface, only few finds were retrieved on both sides of the wall. Its bottom was constructed from large rocks and boulders (seen clearly in square F13), and on top of the lowest 2–3 courses, there is an addition of smaller rocks set in two rows. The upper phase probably postdates the EPPNB.

Burials

19Only a few burials were uncovered at the excavation of the EPPNB occurrence from Aḥihud—one of them is in square C9 (fig. 5). Quarrying activity created a semi-cylindrical rounded niche (L332) in the 0.60 m-thick rock shelf. At the bottom of the niche, a shallow elliptical depression was carved (L396). The depression is 1 m long and 0.70 m wide, and 0.15 m deep. The bottom was paved with flat stones. This burial included fragmentary long bone diaphyses. The age at death and sex of this individual could not be reconstructed, however, based upon the bones’ proportions they represent an adult )individual (fig. 6). This burial was covered with a dense mixture of small stones and earth to the top of the niche. Close to the eastern edge of the depression, another concentration of human bones was uncovered. A burial was uncovered in square C15—an open area with PPNB remains; alongside the burial two horn cores and an obsidian tool (a small retouched flake, or a minute scraper) were uncovered.

Fig. 5 – L450 Vicia Faba seeds Silo, note the sterile soil (reddish brown material) on the right.

Fig. 5 – L450 Vicia Faba seeds Silo, note the sterile soil (reddish brown material) on the right.

Photo J. Vardi.

Fig. 6 – Square C9, burial niche L332.

Fig. 6 – Square C9, burial niche L332.

Photo Y. Bibas.

20Two primary burials from adjacent loci squares E7 (L408) and F7 (L222, fig. 7) were placed on their sides in a flexed position. Their skulls (apart from the lower jaw) are absent. Close to the deceased in burial L222, two bidirectional blades were found and a polished axe. In a third burial L468, the remains included articulated long bone diaphyses indicating primary burial. The deceased was put in a flexed position, on its right side, in a north-south orientation, its head to the north. However, the head is missing. The distal head of the humerus is fused, indicating that this individual was an adult, aged >15 years old (Johnston and Zimmer 1989). The bicondylar width of the distal humerus (right side) was measured as 53 mm, indicative of a female (Bass 2005: 153).

Fig. 7 – Secondary burial (L332).

Fig. 7 – Secondary burial (L332).

Photo Y. Bibas.

Fig. 8 – Primary burial L222.

Fig. 8 – Primary burial L222.

Photo Y. Bibas.

Material Culture

Lithics

21The lithic assemblage is the most dominant type of material culture retrieved from the EPPNB occurrence. While most of that assemblage derives from clear PPNB horizons, a small portion of the tools and diagnostic artifacts were found in the Wadi Rabah contexts and were added to the counts. Because there is very little stratigraphic superimposition between both layers, only few loci contained a mixture of finds from both periods (these were omitted from the following analysis).

22The lithic industry from the EPPNB assemblage of Aḥihud consists of 12,527 artifacts. A fifth of all artifacts (n = 2,586, 20.60%) in the assemblage are classified as tools (tables 1–2). The representation of the bidirectional blade industry in the assemblage appears to be low. The number of unmodified bidirectional blades is not high although they were frequently used for the fabrication of blade tools and arrowheads. Bidirectional waste artifacts such as crested blades, upsilon blades (fig. 9), bidirectional blade cores (fig. 10), and core trimming elements prove that the knapping and fabrication of some of the tool types happened at the site.

Table 1 – Waste and tools frequencies from the EPPNB layer of Aḥihud.

Table 1 – Waste and tools frequencies from the EPPNB layer of Aḥihud.

Table 2 – EPPNB occupation tool types.

Table 2 – EPPNB occupation tool types.

Fig. 9 – Bidirectional blade products.

Fig. 9 – Bidirectional blade products.

1. Upsilon blade; 2. Secondary crested blade (Lame sous crète); 3–4. Bidirectional blades (no 4 refitted from two fragments).

Drawings L. Zeiger

Fig. 10 – Bidirectional core.

Fig. 10 – Bidirectional core.

Drawings H. Parrow-Souchon.

23Some tools that were fashioned on the rather exotic purple/pink flint were brought to the site as blade blanks or finished tools. Outcrops of that type of flint are known only in distant regions perhaps from the Upper Galilee or the Jordan Valley (Delage 2007; Rollefson et al. 2007).

24Arrowheads. The projectiles found during the excavation reflect the chronological phasing of the EPPNB occupation layer on the verge between the EPPNB and the MPPNB. There are 207 arrowheads (table 2; 8% of the tools). Thirty-one arrowheads were recycled from sickle blades (and retain some gloss). The identifiable arrowheads that could be classified into types (complete and nearly complete that include the mesial and proximal parts) include 40 Helwan arrowheads (fig. 11.1; nearly 20% of the arrowheads) and a few El-Khiam arrowheads (fig. 11.1). A single atypical arrowhead (fig. 11.9) is similar to hollow based arrowheads of the northern Levant (Schmidt 1994: fig. 8.7, 8.9). These tools that are frequent during the PPNA and the earliest stages of the EPPNB (Gopher 1994) form only a fifth of the identifiable arrowheads in the EPPNB layers of Aḥihud, while Byblos (figs. 11.8; 12.5-12.6, 15.90%), Jericho (fig. 11.6–11.7; 18.80%) and Amuq arrowheads (8.75%) that are more frequent during the MPPNB onwards form 43% of the Aḥihud’s arrowheads. The remaining are unidentifiable (most of them are fragmented). The proportions of the Helwan/El-Khiam of the identifiable arrowheads reflect the chronological stage of the site late in the EPPNB/close to the MPPNB. Few tangs of the Byblos arrowheads have the “Abu Gosh retouch”, an attribute of the MPPNB (Khalaily et al. 2003; Khalaily et al. 2007).

Fig. 11 – Projectiles.

Fig. 11 – Projectiles.

1. Khiam points; 2–5. Helwan points, 6–7. Jericho points; 8. Byblos point 9. Atypical arrowhead.

Drawings L. Zeiger

25Sickle blades. Hundreds (n = 477, table 2) sickle blades have been retrieved from the EPPNB occupation. The sickle blades are all modified on bidirectional blades. The raw material used for their fabrication is fine-grained or medium-grained flint in an almost equal proportion. The sickle blades’ working edges have marginal continuous retouch or fine denticulation (fig. 12.1–12.2). The retouch position is usually on the ventral side of the sickle blade. The sickle gloss pattern on the working edges is parallel and reaches a maximal width of 5 to 7 mm. There is no evidence for any other method of hafting the sickle blades (such as a diagonal placement of the insert in the haft). Based on this observation, it is reasonable to assume that all of the sickle blades were similarly hafted parallel to the handle, similar to the composite sickle from Tell Halula (Borrell and Molist 2007: 64–66, fig. 5; Brailovsky-Rokser and Goring-Morris 2019). Other evidence for the hafting arrangements of the sickle blades, such as retouched backs, are scarce. Residue remains used for the hafting of these artifacts were not found.

Fig. 12 – 1–3. Sickle blades; 4. Recycled arrowhead (Amuq) on a former sickle blade; 5–6. Byblos points.

Fig. 12 – 1–3. Sickle blades; 4. Recycled arrowhead (Amuq) on a former sickle blade; 5–6. Byblos points.

Drawings L. Zeiger

26Bifacial tools. Only a small number of axes (n = 25, table 2) was retrieved from the EPPNB occurrence. The dominant bifacial tools are the axes (fig. 11). The axes’ dimensions are not standardized. Two of the axes are relatively robust compared to the remaining bifacial tools. They were extremely wide and were modified on thick cobbles. Their shaping included an intensive knapping of their proximal and mesial parts. Their laterals are rounded and were probably fashioned by grinding. The working edge of these axes was also shaped by grinding, featuring an intensive polish of their working edge on the dorsal and ventral sides that created a sharp angled working edge in a convex delineation. Parallels for such bifacials were reported from MPPNB sites in the southern Levant, such as the Galilean Kfar Hahoresh and Beisamoun. The remaining axes are either oval (fig. 14.2) or elongated (fig. 14.3). Both subtypes were modified mostly by knapping, and their working edge is polished. A single tranchet axe was uncovered as well. That tool (fig. 13.1) is more typical of the PPNA and the earliest stages of the EPPNB (Nadel 1997: 101, fig. 4.14; Barkai 2005: 122–130, fig. 130). Not a single tranchet spall was found. The scarcity of that tool and the absence of its production spall indicate that it was brought from another site and was not fabricated in Aḥihud. Chisels appear as well. Most were broken and made on medium-grained flint, like the axes.

Fig. 13 – Bifacial axe.

Fig. 13 – Bifacial axe.

Drawings M. Smilanski.

Fig. 14 – 1. Tranchet axe; 2–3. Polished axes.

Fig. 14 – 1. Tranchet axe; 2–3. Polished axes.

Drawings M. Smilanski.

Stone tools

Table 3 – The breakdown of the ground stone tool assemblage by type and raw material.

Table 3 – The breakdown of the ground stone tool assemblage by type and raw material.

27The EPPNB layers at Aḥihud yielded 171 ground stone tools comprising lower grinding elements, processors, vessels, a pestle, hammerstones, celts/bifacial tools, flat elements, flaked stone, varia, and various tool fragments, with only a small number of tools being preserved complete (28%). Basalt and limestone are the primary raw materials used to manufacture the tools in this assemblage (a total of 65 basalt tools and 92 limestone tools, together represent 91.80% of the entire assemblage), and both are available in the vicinity of the site (Sneh et al. 1998). Other raw materials represented include pumice, chert, scoria, tremolite, and albite, with a few items made of unidentified rocks. Production of ground stone tools includes flaking, chipping, pecking, smoothing, and polishing; sometimes, several techniques were used to produce the same tool.

28Forty-nine objects (28.70%) are grinding tools that should likely be attributed to food processing. These include lower and upper elements. Only eight are lower grinding elements (fig. 15.1), none preserved whole, while 63 are upper grinding stones (fig. 15.2–15.3). A few vessels (fig. 15.4–15.7) and pestles were also found, in keeping with other broadly contemporary assemblages such as those at Mujahiya (Gopher 1990) and Abu Salem (Gopher and Goring-Morris 1998). The ground stone tools assemblage from EPPNB Aḥihud was mainly produced with a low labor investment, utilizing raw materials mostly available locally. Except for two green stone celts/bifacial tools that were highly polished, little special attention was paid to the finishing of the objects, suggesting function was more important.

Fig. 15 – Stone tools from the EPPNB occurences of Aḥihud.

Fig. 15 – Stone tools from the EPPNB occurences of Aḥihud.

Drawings M. Smilanski.

Obsidian

  • 2 The examination of the obsidian artifacts from the site of Aḥihud was conducted by E. Rice. A detai (...)

29There are ninety obsidian artifacts in the assemblage. The obsidians are all in the shades of grey to black. A preliminary observation of the artifacts with a portable XRF2 showed that all of the obsidian artifacts from the EPPNB contexts originate from the outcrops of Göllü Dağ. The obsidian artifacts from the EPPNB occupation include waste types such as blades and bladelets (fig. 16.2). In addition, there are also other waste types such as a burin spall (fig. 16.1), a single core trimming element, two cores (fig. 16.3), and a small chunk (possibly a core fragment). The production waste hint to a small-scale production of several dozens of obsidian artifacts at the site, from few imported nodules. The tool types include retouched blades and bladelets with unilateral or bilateral marginal retouch (fig. 17.1–17.3); arrowheads (one el-Khiam; fig 17.1 and two Jericho/Byblos points; fig. 17.4–17.6), a modified drill and a core tablet (fig. 17.7), and a single micro-Endscraper (fig. 17.8). Except for the arrowheads and the drill, the function of the remaining tools is currently unknown and must be assessed in the future.

Fig. 16 – Obsidian artifacts from the site of Aḥihud.

Fig. 16 – Obsidian artifacts from the site of Aḥihud.

1. Burin spall; 2. Blade; 3. Bladelet core.

Drawings S. Alon

Fig. 17 – Obsidian tools from Aḥihud.

Fig. 17 – Obsidian tools from Aḥihud.

1–3. Retouched bladelets; 4–6. Arrowheads (note no 5 with a “burin” impact scar); 7. Drill (on a core tablet fragment); 8. Microendscraper.

Drawings S. Alon

Exotic Minerals

  • 3 The XRD text and the identification of the minerals were carried out at the Geological Survey of Is (...)
  • 4 https://www.mindat.org/min-4011.html

30Additional artifacts that attest to long distance trade are green stone objects. One small votive axe, three small fragments of green stones and one bead from the site were sampled for an XRD test3. Except for a small malachite green stone, that test showed that the raw material of the remaining can be defined as Amphiboles (Tremolite) rich rocks (Ca2Mg5 [Si8O22] [OH]2). These minerals are a metamorphosed rock formed in high pressure environments4. The closest outcrops of these rocks to the site area can be found within the northern Levant. Mapped lithological outcrops are known in the Aegean. However, it cannot be ruled out that the raw material used for making these artifacts originated in the northern Levant or Cyprus (Bar-Yosef Mayer and Porat 2008).

Fauna

31The faunal remains from the site of Aḥihud were recently analyzed by Galmor (2019). The faunal remains from the EPPNB occupation include 1,244 bones (NISP), of which the most common were mountain gazelle (Gazella gazella), like other EPPNB assemblages of the region. Ungulates include aurochs (Bos primigenius) and boar (Sus scrofa). Several deer species (Dama Mesopotamica, Capreolus capreolus and Cervus elaphus) can also be found in lower frequencies, as well as very few goat (Capra sp.) bones. The small assemblage of the latter did not allow us to reconstruct their domestic status.

32Small game animals are widespread in the assemblage, mostly small carnivores. The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the second most common animal in the assemblage, following the gazelle. Other small carnivores are wild cats (Felis silvestris lybica), beech marten (Martes foina), Egyptian mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon), and badger (Meles meles). The analysis of skeletal parts’ frequencies and cut marks showed that small carnivores were exploited for their fur and as a meat source (Galmor et al. forthcoming). Other small game includes hare (Lepus capensis), tortoise (Testudo graeca), and several birds and fish bones. 

33The occurrence of different game animals inhabiting various landscapes hints that hunting activities were conducted both in the relatively open areas of the coastal plain (and the Nahal Hilazon channels flood plains) but also on the hills covered by the dense Mediterranean maquis: aurochs and gazelle are adjusted to open grassland, and the deer species prefer woodland. Many species require proximity of water resources: aurochs, boar, fish, and badgers.

Shells

34A small shell assemblage was collected at Aḥihud consisting of 25 land snail specimens, four freshwater shells, and 31 marine shells (NISP, table 4). The shells derive from both the WR and the PPNB levels at the site, and a few were found in the topsoil.

Table 4– Source and taxonomic breakdown of shells from Aḥihud.

Table 4– Source and taxonomic breakdown of shells from Aḥihud.

35The PPNB marine shell assemblage is dominated by Mediterranean bivalves (n = 8), specifically Cerastoderma glaucum, Glycymeris nummaria, and Donax trunculus, alongside several common Mediterranean gastropods, including the cowrie Luria lurida and the large muricid Hexaplex trunculus. This is a typical composition for sites in the Mediterranean climatic zone (Bar-Yosef Mayer 2005). A single Red Sea-shell, the cowrie Naria turdus, was found in the PPNB levels, indicating connections between the Neolithic community at Aḥihud and other populations to the south. This cowrie type is known as a minor component in other contemporaneous shell assemblages from the region, such as Kfar HaHoresh, Yiftahel, and Beisamoun (Bocquentin et al. 2020; Schechter et al. 2021; Schechter et al. 2023), and appears frequently in PPNB shell assemblages from the Levantine desert regions (Mienis 1988; Bar-Yosef Mayer 1997; Spatz et al. 2014).

36Both the Mediterranean and the Red Sea cowries at PPNB Aḥihud were similarly shaped into beads by removing their dorsum, creating one of the most common bead types known in the region (Alarashi 2010; Alarashi et al. 2018; Schechter et al. 2023). The Red Sea N. turdus dorsum was removed by cutting, and that of the Mediterranean L. lurida by percussion. Both were strung and used, as indicated by similar rounding of the removal lines and associated striations found on the shells (fig. 18). The taxonomic and typological array of shells and shell beads from PPNB Aḥihud is generally typical to contemporaneous sites in the Mediterranean climatic zone, expressing shared habits and preferences concerning shell type collection and reflecting the maintenance of continuous relations with the populations to the south.

Fig. 18 – Shells from the EPPNB contexts of Aḥihud.

Fig. 18 – Shells from the EPPNB contexts of Aḥihud.

Photo H. Schechter

Flora

37One of the most remarkable finds from the site of Aḥihud are two concentrations of legumes: locus 398 and locus 450. L398 was uncovered in a living floor of an EPPNB activity area, perhaps part of a structure. L450 was sealed by the living surface that surrounded L398. L398 contained hundreds of charred seeds. The seeds from that silo belong to different types of legumes. Faba beans (Vicia faba cf. minor) constitute 68% of the seed from the silo while the remaining 22% are unequally divided between peas (Pisum sp., 9%), lentils (Lens culinaris, 8%) and other plants such as Jerusalem vetchling (Lathyrus hierosolymitanus) and the inconspicuous pea (Lathyrus incospicuus), and bitter vetch (Vicia ervilia) with values lower than 2% each. The remaining are unidentified fragments (Caracuta et al. 2017: 8, table 1). L450 yielded almost exclusively faba beans (Vicia faba) and only four lentil seeds. In addition, the adjacent loci to both silos yielded seeds that were handpicked during the excavation (L348, L393 and L433 are living surfaces, dated to the same phase as L398). Interestingly, there are only four cereal seeds. These were retrieved from L476 (a thin sediment accrual between the bedrock and L450 (Caracuta et al. 2017: 8, table 1). Soil sample from the silo was examined as well. There is no indication for pod parts. This means the legumes were removed from the pods before storage. A sample of the charred Vicia faba seed dimensions was measured. The length measurements of the seeds were found to be relatively standardized. The uniformity in their dimensions indicates that they were grown in organized cultivation and became ripe and harvested simultaneously (Caracuta et al. 2017: 8, table 1).

Radiocarbon Dating

38Twelve radiocarbon dates were produced from seeds that were retrieved from the same area but from two different sub-phases of the EPPNB occupation (table 5). The sampled loci are the large early phase silo L450 and L442 and from a slightly later phase that seals L450. These loci include a small silo (L398) and a living surface L348 and L433. The results, however, are very close. The gap between the two phases stands for a few decades. Both subphases are situated close to the end of the EPPNB and the onset of the MPPNB. The profusion of seeds from Aḥihud enabled the thorough dating of the site. Although it is clear that the dates originate from a very secluded area of the site, it is our view that the dating concords well with the settlement’s limited extension, which is similar to the few well-excavated occurrences of the EPPNB in the western part of the southern Levant, i.e., west to the Jordan Valley. In addition, the material culture that was documented at the site, especially among the lithics, fits that chronological phase: mainly the frequency of the Helwan and El-Khiam types within the projectiles as well as few “Abu Gosh” pressure retouch styling found on several arrowheads tangs that is frequent in MPPNB assemblages. A single tranchet axe reflects the EPPNB lithic heritage. The absence of more tranchet axes accords well with the EPPNB-MPPNB transition.

Table 5 – Radiocarbon dating of seeds from the EPPNB settlement.

Table 5 – Radiocarbon dating of seeds from the EPPNB settlement.

Radiocarbon dates: E. Boaretto in the D- Reams laboratory of the Kimmel center, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot.

Discussion and Conclusions

39The excavations on the slope of Aḥihud Hill uncovered what appears to be a late EPPNB hunter- and farmers settlement. Aḥihud is a small EPPNB settlement, judging by the architectural remains that appeared in roughly a third of the excavated area. With the addition of a few EPPNB remains uncovered below the Wadi Rabah contexts, it is possible to estimate that the EPPNB occupation spread over a slightly more extensive part of the excavated area. The location of some of the construction very close to the current highway (that severely damaged Aḥihud Hill) hints at an expansion of the EPPNB village southwards towards the south-upper part of the Aḥihud Hill. Judging by the extension of the architecture and clear EPPNB loci, it is possible to assume that this is only the northern section of the site and that the actual size of Aḥihud was roughly 1,000 sq. m. that covered most of the “terrace” (plateau) and the north slope of Aḥihud Hill. The finds from the site include typical diagnostic elements of the EPPNB material culture, especially in the lithic assemblage (see below), including types that characterize the EPPNB, such as the Helwan and el-Khiam arrowheads in the flint and obsidian assemblages (Gopher 1994, Yaroshevich et al. 2023); these are relatively frequent during the EPPNB but decline significantly towards the MPPNB. Their frequency is low within the arrowheads that include a higher frequency of Byblos, Jericho, and Amuq (arrowhead types that prevail during the MPPNB and therefore fit to the radiocarbon dates produced so far from the seed concentrations of the EPPNB contexts (table 5).

40The site’s material culture is intriguing and yields more clues as to the subsistence economy of its inhabitants. There is evidence for the local knapping and fabrication of tools. Judging by the size of the EPPNB-oriented loci in the excavation, the size of the lithic assemblage seems reasonable for a small-scale settlement. A small portion of the fine-grained lithics was also brought to the site from other areas. For example, pink and purple flint outcrops are not known in the close environment. Pink flint artifacts were fabricated of flint nodules from outcrops in the Jordan Valley, or perhaps in the Northern Levant (Delage 2007; Khalaily et al. 2007; Khalaily et al. 2013) and reached the site as finished tools or produced on-site from blanks. The diversity of finds and raw materials is a well-known phenomenon of the PPNB and can be seen at other EPPNB sites from the Galilee and Judea (Shemer et al. this volume; Khalaily et al. in prep.) The import of blade blanks and likely also of finished tools on purple and pink flint had a minor influence on the waste tools ratio. In other words, the import of flint artifacts occurred in addition to a local industry. The fabrication of most diagnostic tools (arrowheads, sickle blades, and bifacial tools) proves that skilled knappers operated at the site and manufactured high-quality tools from local flint. Although a large portion of the lithics originated from the EPPNB living surfaces, there is no evidence of centralized production of the lithic artifacts of the site, such as knapping areas or refuse pits (Khalaily et al. 2000; Khalaily et al. 2013) containing the remains of a standardized flint industry products and byproducts (Barzilai and Milevski 2015). On the other hand, there are also no signs of keeping imported products in caches (Khalaily et al. 2013), indicating that the site inhabitants consumed some lithic products in addition to their local industry (Barzilai 2010) but did export or transferred lithics as part of their trade relations.

41Remains related to the PPNB in general and the EPPNB in particular, such as finely denticulated sickle blades and the arrowheads, attest well to the significant parts of the site subsistence economy focused on agriculture (Vardi 2011; Brailovsky-Rokser and Goring-Morris 2019) and game hunting (Gopher 1994; Barzilai 2010) although the significance of arrowheads also for warfare cannot be ignored (Bocquentin and Bar-Yosef 2004; Barzilai and May 2022). It is hard to estimate which factor was more important in the subsistence economy between agriculture and hunting and gathering. The large concentrations of legume seeds strengthen the notion that the site’s inhabitants were indeed successful farmers, as the frequency of sickle blades within the lithic toolkit also hints. That is intriguing because cereals that could form dense fields were more easily harvested by composite sickles rather than manually (Vardi 2011 and references therein). But, their seeds are absent from the silos of Aḥihud (Caracuta et al. 2017). Likely, the cereal seeds were less durable and disintegrated by post-depositional processes or kept in a different area or under different conditions. In addition, food proccesing activity became dominant during the EPPNB as it is seen by the ground stone tools of Aḥihud. Either way the evidence proves that the Aḥihud inhabitants were dealing with cereal and legume crop agriculture rather intensively. The novelty in discovering the silos from Aḥihud is that they represent an intensive state of the legume crop agriculture. Judging by the size of L450, the earliest silo, we assume that the people of Aḥihud also specialized in cultivating Broad beans and perhaps other legumes. The flora remains in Aḥihud, and the abundance of charred legumes in other later PPNB sites of the Galilee hint at a well-developed tradition and the transformation of knowledge in legume crop agriculture in the Galilee as well as in other PPNB sites west of the Jordan Valley. Culturing legumes sensu lato was already an integral part of the EPPNB subsistence economy in the Mediterranean climatic regions.

42Non-directed long-distance trade of obsidian is seen by the recovery of obsidian cores and production waste. That implies the import of obsidian nodules and the local fabrication of tools at the site. The same goes for the rare green objects. It is impossible to determine the exact location of their outcrop since the lithology of the northern Levant is not mapped. All the green stone objects found at Aḥihud are made from raw materials formed in high pressure areas (high P) and are usually abundant in the Aegean/Southern Italy area. Both greenstone artifacts and the obsidian reached the site of Aḥihud by trade over a long distance from Anatolia to the Galilee, and are a common trait in many of the PPNB sites. Their scarcity regarding the number of exotic items at the site can be explained by the “down the line trade concept” (Renfrew 1977) in which the longer the distance between the source of products, the lesser the number of finds. Because the longer the distance, the trade passes through more communities before reaching to its “final” destination (read: the most remote distance from the source or outcrop).

43The location of the Aḥihud archaeological site is between two different environments (or ecosystems): the northern coastal plain (‘Akko Valley), and the western hill ridges of the Lower and Upper Galilee. Its proximity to both diverse environments is reflected well in the faunal assemblage. The game from Aḥihud shows that the foraging activities took place in the woodland and the coastal plain area west of the site and the valleys nearby.

44The Gazelles, the most dominant antelope in the faunal assemblage of Aḥihud, are grazers that thrive in relatively open areas with a sparse cover of shrub vegetation, such as the lowlands west of Aḥihud or the relatively flat coastal plain area (Shalmon 1993; Yom-Tov et al. 2021). Though not ideal, hilly regions with sparse vegetation could also serve as their habitat (Baharav 1983; Yom-Tov et al. 2021). On the other hand, the deer specimens found at the EPPNB occurrences are browsers that live in woodland areas (Marder et al. 2011; Maor-Cohen et al. 2021) and were most likely hunted within the Mediterranean maquis that covered the nearby hills of the Judeide-Maker ridges (Marder et al. 2011). In addition, their nature might have kept them away from any settlement. Their hunt was likely conducted farther east in the deeper maquis coverage of the Galilee. The giant game found, the Bos primigenius, might have been more frequent in the nearby channels of Nahal Ḥilazon or the northern coastline swamps. To sum it up, a general observation of fauna hints at skilled hunting activities in more than a single environment. Predators such as the common fox (Vulpes vulpes) and the feral cats (Felis silvestris) can cope with different environments (Mendelssohn and Yom-Tov 1993; Shalmon 1993). A specific observation made on the Fox (vulpes vulpes) and the Cat (Felis Silvestris) indicates an increased involvement in their hunt. That might have been also the “specialization” of the Aḥihud inhabitants’ community (Galmor et al. 2019, forthcoming), but probably not an agent behind the site’s specific location.

45Specific environmental attributes—the proximity to a water source, and the proximity of potential arable plots for the agriculture of the legumes mentioned above were among the agents that had influenced the site’s location (Birkenfeld 2018). In addition, the hospitable environment supporting the thriving of the various game animals represented among the site’s fauna was also an essential factor in the choice to settle in the area. The legume seeds concentrations uncovered in both silos attest to the intensive cultivation of legumes at the terminus of the 11th millennium BCE. The profusion of legume seeds proves that the cultivation of Vicia fava was practiced generations prior to the formation of the settlement of Aḥihud since Vicia fava seeds were retrieved from the EPPNB site of Tell Motza, situated in Judea (close to Jerusalem) and dates to an earlier stage of the EPPNB period (Yizhaq et al. 2005; Khalaily et al. 2007). It is only reasonable to assume, given the results from Aḥihud, that their cultivation penetrated the southern Levant Mediterranean climatic region centuries prior to the settlement of Aḥihud, as has been claimed before (Caracuta et al. 2015; Caracuta et al. 2017). The earliest evidence for regular cultivation of Vicia faba is well exemplified at Aḥihud (Caracuta et al. 2015; Caracuta et al. 2017). It could be stated that the domination of the faba beans (Vicia faba) in L450 and L398 large concentrations of seeds and their standardization hint at an experienced agricultural society cultivating that legume. Deep involvement in growing other crops could not be ruled out as well. The discovery of the EPPNB site of Aḥihud added new data on the development of the PPNB economy on the verge between the Early and Middle phases of the PPNB. The finds testify to a small settlement of hunters-farmers. The site location in what could be explained as an “ecotone” (in terms of its proximity to different geographical and ecological niches) had a great influence on their subsistence economy. The archaeological evidence documented at Aḥihud could be a precursor to phenomena seen in later stages of the 8th millennium BCE during the MPPNB villages of the Galilee, in the establishment of the “Neolithic way of life” in the Mediterranean regions of the southern Levant.

Haut de page

Bibliographie

Alarashi H. 2010 – Shell beads in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B in Central Levant: Cypraeidae of Tell Aswad (Damascus, Syria). In: Fernandez E. A., Rocío Carvajal Contreras D., Ejemplar dedicado a: Not only food. Marine, terrertrial and freswater mollusc in archaeological sites: 88–98. San Sebastián: Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi (MUNIBE Suplemento - Gehigarria 31).

Alarashi H., Ortiz A. and Molist M. 2018 – Sea shells on the riverside: Cowrie ornaments from the PPNB site of Tell Halula (Euphrates, northern Syria). Quaternary International 490: 98–112, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1016/j.quaint.2018.05.004

Baharav D. 1983 – Observation on the ecology of the mountain gazelle in the Upper Galilee, Israel. Mammalia 47,1: 59–70, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1515/mamm.1983.47.1.59

Bar-Yosef Mayer D. 1997 – Neolithic shell bead production in Sinai. Journal of Archaeological Science 24,2: 97–111, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1006/jasc.1995.0097

Bar-Yosef Mayer D. E. 2005 – The Exploitation of Shells as Beads in the Palaeolithic and Neolithic of the Levant. Paléorient 31,1: 176–185, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.3406/paleo.2005.4796

Bar-Yosef Mayer D. and Porat N. 2008 – Green stone beads at the dawn of agriculture. PNAS 105,25: 8548-8551, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1073/pnas.0709931105

Barkai R. 2005 – Flint and stone axes as cultural markers: socio-economic changesas reflected in Holocene flint tool industries of the Southern Levant. Berlin: ex oriente (Studies in Early Near Eastern Production, Subsistence, and Environment 11).

Barzilai O. 2010 – Social complexity in the Southern Levantine PPNB as reflected through lithic studies: the bidirectional blade industries. Oxford: BAR Publishing (International series 2180).

Barzilai O. and May H. 2022 – Weapons or Hunting tools? Evaluating the role of big Arrowheads of the Neolithic Levant. In: Nishiaki Y., Maeda O. and Arimura M. (eds.), Tracking the Neolithic in the Near East: Lithic Perspectives on its origins, developement and dispersals. The Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on the PPN Chipped and Ground Stone Industries of the Near East, Tokyo 12th-16th November: 49–59. Leiden: Sidestone Press.

Barzilai O. and Milevski I. 2015 – Neolithic Flint Workshops at Giv‘at Rabi (East) in Lower Galilee. ‘Atiqot 82: 63–83.

Barzilai O., van den Brink E. C. M., Vardi J. and Liran R. 2016 – The Yarmukian Site at Tel Mitzpe Zevulun North (Naḥal Zippori 3), Lower Galilee, Israel. In: Ganor S., Kreimerman I., Streit K. and Mumcuoglu M., From Sha’ar Hagolan to Shaaraim: Essays in Honer of Prof` Yosef Garfinkel: 19–41. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society.

Barzilai O., Vardi J., Liran R., Yegorov D., Covello-Paran K., van den Brink E. C. M., Yaroshevich A. and Berger U. 2013 – Nahal Zippori, the Eshkol Reservoir–Somekh Reservoir Pipeline: Preliminary Report. Hadashot Arkheologiyot: Excavations and Surveys in Israel 125, [online] https://0-www-jstor-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/stable/26602851

Bass W. M. 2005 – Human Osteology. A Laboratory and Field Manual. Columbia: Missouri: Missouri Archaeological Society.

Birkenfeld M. 2018 – Changing Systems: Pre-Pottery Neolithic B Settlement Patterns in the Lower Galilee, Israel. Berlin: ex oriente (Studies in Early Near Eastern Production, Subsistence, and Environment 21).

Bocquentin F. and Bar-Yosef O. 2004 – Early Natufian remains: evidence for physical conflict from Mt. Carmel, Israel. Journal of Human Evolution 47,1-2:19–23, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1016/j.jhevol.2004.05.003

Bocquentin F., Khalaily H., Boaretto E., Dubreuil L., Schechter H., Bar-Yosef Mayer D. E., Greenberg H., Berna F., Anton M., Borrell F., Le Bourdonnec F. X., Davin L., Noûs C., Samuelian N., Vieugué J. and Kolska-Horowitz L. 2020 – Between two worlds: the PPNB-PPNC transition in the Central Levant as seen through discoveries at Beisamoun. In: Khalaily H., Re’em A., Vardi J. and Milevski I., The Mega Project at Motza (Moẓa): The Neolithic and Later Occupations up to the 20th Century: 163–201. Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities Authority (New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and its region supplement), [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.2307/j.ctv1b9f5bh.9

Borrell F. and Molist M. 2007 – Projectile Points, Sickle Blades & Glossed Points. Tools and Hafting Systems in Tell Halula (Syria) During the VIIIth Millenium cal. B.C. Paléorient 33: 59–77, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.3406/paleo.2007.5221

Brailovsky-Rokser L. and Goring-Morris A. N. 2019 – PPNB sickle blades in Galilee. In: Astruc L., McCartney C., Briois F. and Kassianidou V. (eds.), Near Eastern Lithic Technologies on the Move. Interactions and Contexts in Neolithic Traditions. 8th International Conference on PPN Chipped and Ground Stone Industries of the Near East, Nicosia, November 23rd–27th 2016: 323–342. Nicosia: Astrom Editions.

Caracuta V., Barzilai O., Khalaily H., Milevski I., Paz Y., Vardi J., Regev L. and Boaretto E. 2015 – The onset of faba bean farming in the Southern Levant. Nature Scientific Reports 5:14370, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1038/srep14370

Caracuta V., Vardi J., Paz Y. and Boaretto E. 2017 – Farming legumes in the pre-pottery Neolithic: New discoveries from the site of Aḥihud (Israel). PloS ONE 12,5:e0177859, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1371/journal.pone.0177859

Delage C. 2007 – Three periods, three patterns of chert exploitation in the Neolithic site of Munhata (Central Jordan Valley, Israel). In: Delage C. (ed.), Chert Availability and Prehistoric Exploitation in the Near East: 258–303. Oxford: BAR Publishing (International Series 1615).

Galmor S. 2019 – The analysis of the faunal remains at the Neolithic site of Aḥihud (North): hunters, herders and what lies between them (in Hebrew), unpublished M.A thesis. Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, Department of Archaeology and the Ancient Near Eastern Cultures.

Galmor S., Dayan T., Vardi J., Paz Y. and Sapir-Hen L. Forthcoming – Small carnivore hunting in the Early Neolithic: A view from EPPNB Aḥihud.

Getzov N., Barzilai O., Le Dosseur G., Eirikh-Rose A., Ktalav I., Marder O., Marom N. and Milevski I. 2009 – Nahal Betzet II and Ard el Samra: two late prehistoric sites and settlement patterns in the Akko Plain. Journal of the Israel Prehistoric Society 39: 81–158, [online] https://0-www-jstor-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/stable/23386510

Gopher A. 1990 – Mujahiya, an early Pre-Pottery Neolithic B site in the Golan Hights. Tel Aviv 17,2: 115–143, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1179/tav.1990.1990.2.115

Gopher A. 1994 – Arrowheads of the Neolithic Levant. University Park: Penn State University Press (Dissertations of the American Schools of Oriental Research).

Gopher A. 1997 – Horvat Galil. An Early PPNB Site in the Upper Galilee, Israel. Tel Aviv 24,2: 183–222, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1179/tav.1997.1997.2.183

Gopher A. and Goring-Morris A. N. 1998 – Abu Salem: A Pre-Pottery Neolithic B camp in the central Negev highlands, Israel. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 312: 1–20, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.2307/1357671

Johnston F. E. and Zimmer L. O. 1989 – Assessment of growth and age in the immature skeleton. In: Işcan M. Y. and Kennedy K. A. R., Reconstruction of life from the skeleton: 11–22. New York: Alan Liss

Khalaily H., Bar-Yosef O., Barzilai O., Boaretto E., Bocquentin F., Eirikh-Rose A., Greenhut Z., Goring-Morris A. N., Le Dosseur G. and Marder O. 2007 – Excavations at Motza in the Judean Hills and the early Pre-Pottery Neolithic B in the southern Levant. Paléorient 33,2: 5–37, [online] https://0-www-jstor-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/stable/41496809

Khalaily H., Marder O. and Bankirer R. Y. 2003 – The Lithic Assemblage (from Abu Gosh). In: Khalaily H. and Marder O., The Neolithic Site of Abu Gosh: the 1995 Excavations: 23–46. Jerusalem: The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA Reports 19), [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.2307/j.ctt1fzhdmm.8

Khalaily H., Marder O. and Milevski I. 2000 – New excavations at the PPNB site of Yiftahel, Israel. Neo-Lithics 2,8: 3–11.

Khalaily H., Milevski I. and Barzilai O. 2013 – Caching and depositing in the pre-pottery Neolithic B of Yiftahel, Israel. In: Borrell F., Ibáñez J.-J. and Molist M. (eds.), Stone Tools in Transition: From Hunter-Gatherers to Farming Societies in the Near East: 219–230. Barcelona: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Maor-Cohen M., Bar-David S., Dolev A., Berger-Tal O., Saltz D. and Spiegel O. 2021 – Settling in: reintroduced Persian fallow deer adjust the borders and habitats of their home-range during the first 5 years post release. Frontiers in Conservation Science 2:733703, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.3389/fcosc.2021.733703

Marder O., Yeshurun R., Lupu R., Bar‐Oz G., Belmaker M., Porat N., Ron H. and Frumkin A. 2011 – Mammal remains at Rantis Cave, Israel, and Middle–Late Pleistocene human subsistence and ecology in the Southern Levant. Journal of Quaternary Science 26,8: 769–780, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1002/jqs.1501

Meier J. S., Goring-Morris A. N. and Munro N. D. 2016 – Provisioning the ritual Neolithic site of Kfar HaHoresh, Israel at the dawn of animal management. PLoS ONE 11,11: 1–27, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1371/journal.pone.0166573

Mendelssohn H. and Yom-Tov Y. 1993 – Mammals (in Hebrew). (The encyclopedia of Plants and Animals of the Lant of Israel), vol. 7. Tel Aviv: Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.

Mienis H. K. 1988 – Nahal Hemar Cave. The Marine Molluscs. Atiqot 18: 47–49.

Nadel D. 1997 – The Chipped Stone Industry of Netiv Hagdud. In: Bar-Yosef O. and Gopher A. (eds.), An Early Neolithic Village in the Jordan Valley, Part I: The Archaeology of Netiv Hagdud: 71–144. Cambridge: Peabody Museum Press.

Paz Y. and Vardi J. 2014 – Aḥihud (North). Hadashot Arkheologiyot. Excavations and Surveys in Israel 126, [online] http://www.hadashot-esi.org.il/Report_Detail_Eng.aspx?id=8504

Renfrew C. 1977 – Alternative Models for Excange and Spatial Distribution. In: Earle T. K. and Ericson J. E. (ed.), Exchange Systems in Prehistory: 71–90. Cambridge: Academic Press [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1016/B978-0-12-227650-7.50010-9

Rollefson G. O., Quintero L. A. and Wilke P. J. 2007 – Purple-pink flint sources in Jordan. In: Delage C. (ed.), Chert availability and prehistoric exploitation in the Near East: 55–67. Oxford: BAR Publishing (International Series 1615).

Roskin J., Asscher Y., Khalaily H., Ackermann O. and Vardi J. 2022 – The palaeoenvironment and the environmental impact of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic Motza megasite and its surrounding Mediterranean landscape in the central Judean Highlands (Israel). Mediterranean Geoscience Reviews 4: 215–245, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1007/s42990-022-00076-x

Schechter H. C., Getzov N., Khalaily H., Milevski I., Goring-Morris A. N. and Bar-Yosef Mayer D. E. 2021 – Exceptional shell depositions at PPNB Yiftahel. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 37,102944, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1016/j.jasrep.2021.102944

Schechter H. C., Reese D. S., Bar-Yosef Mayer D. E. and Goring-Morris A. N. 2023 – Making ties and social identities: drawing connections between PPNB communities as based on shell bead typology. PLoS ONE 18,11:e0289091, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1371/journal.pone.0289091

Shalmon B. 1993 – A field guide to the land Mammals of Israel: their tracks and signs. Jerusalem: Keter.

Scmidt K. 1994 – The Nevali Çori Industry, status of research. In: Gebel H. G. and Kozlowski S. K., Neolithic Chipped Stone Industries of the Fertile Crecent: 239–253. Berlin: ex oriente.

Sneh A. 2008 – The Geological Map of Israel 1: 50,000 Sheet 3-II: Shefar’am. Jerusalem: Geological Survey of Israel.

Spatz A. J., Bar-Yosef Mayer D. E., Nowell A. and Henry D. O. 2014 – Ornaments of Shell and Stone: Social and Economic Insights. In: Henry D. O. and Beaver J. E., The Sands of Time, The Desert Neolithic Settlement at Ayn Abū Nukhayla: 245–258. Berlin: ex oriente.

Yaroshevich A., Eirikh-Rose A. and Khalaily H. 2023 – Management of symbols: Weapons variability and the emergence of large tanged points in early pre-pottery neolithic context of Motza, Judean Hills, Israel. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 47:103790, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1016/j.jasrep.2022.103790

Yizhaq M., Mintz G., Cohen I., Khalaily H., Weiner S. and Boaretto E. 2005 – Quality controlled radiocarbon dating of bones and charcoal from the Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) of Motza (Israel). Radiocarbon 47,2: 193–206, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1017/S003382220001969X

Yom-Tov Y., Balaban A., Hadad E., Weil G. and Roll U. 2021 – The plight of the Endangered mountain gazelle Gazella gazella. Oryx 55,5: 771–778, [online] https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1017/S003060531900108X

Zilberman E., Ron H. and Sa’ar R. 2011 – Evaluating the potential seismic hazards of the Aḥihud Ridge fault system by paleomagnetic and morphological analyses of calcretes. Jerusalem: Geological survey of Israel, [online] https://www.gov.il/blobFolder/generalpage/links-to-earthquake-articles/he/f.pdf

Haut de page

Notes

1 The data related to the Pottery Neolithic settlement will be published elsewhere.

2 The examination of the obsidian artifacts from the site of Aḥihud was conducted by E. Rice. A detailed report will be published elsewhere.

3 The XRD text and the identification of the minerals were carried out at the Geological Survey of Israel by N. Morag.

4 https://www.mindat.org/min-4011.html

Haut de page

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1 – A. The location of Aḥihud; B. Aḥihud and the Aḥihud ridge; C. The location of Aḥihud, British Royal Airforce aerial photograph 1945.
Crédits Courtesy of the Hebrew University Geographic Archives.
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 162k
Titre Fig. 2 – The excavation area (view to the southwest) and Aḥihud Hill.
Crédits Aerial Photograph Sky Ballon, operator D. Gahali).
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 13M
Titre Fig. 3 – An aerial photograph of the excavation part of the excavated area.
Légende In the east, rows 20 and 21 with high bedrock and few late finds are covered and do not appear in this photograph.
Crédits Aerial photograph Sky Ballon, operator D. Gahali
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,3M
Titre Fig. 4 – Massive terrace Wall 436.
Crédits Photo Y. Bibas.
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 5,4M
Titre Fig. 5 – L450 Vicia Faba seeds Silo, note the sterile soil (reddish brown material) on the right.
Crédits Photo J. Vardi.
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 5,1M
Titre Fig. 6 – Square C9, burial niche L332.
Crédits Photo Y. Bibas.
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,8M
Titre Fig. 7 – Secondary burial (L332).
Crédits Photo Y. Bibas.
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 6,7M
Titre Fig. 8 – Primary burial L222.
Crédits Photo Y. Bibas.
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,0M
Titre Table 1 – Waste and tools frequencies from the EPPNB layer of Aḥihud.
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 405k
Titre Table 2 – EPPNB occupation tool types.
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 287k
Titre Fig. 9 – Bidirectional blade products.
Légende 1. Upsilon blade; 2. Secondary crested blade (Lame sous crète); 3–4. Bidirectional blades (no 4 refitted from two fragments).
Crédits Drawings L. Zeiger
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 50k
Titre Fig. 10 – Bidirectional core.
Crédits Drawings H. Parrow-Souchon.
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 51k
Titre Fig. 11 – Projectiles.
Légende 1. Khiam points; 2–5. Helwan points, 6–7. Jericho points; 8. Byblos point 9. Atypical arrowhead.
Crédits Drawings L. Zeiger
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 73k
Titre Fig. 12 – 1–3. Sickle blades; 4. Recycled arrowhead (Amuq) on a former sickle blade; 5–6. Byblos points.
Crédits Drawings L. Zeiger
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 61k
Titre Fig. 13 – Bifacial axe.
Crédits Drawings M. Smilanski.
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 109k
Titre Fig. 14 – 1. Tranchet axe; 2–3. Polished axes.
Crédits Drawings M. Smilanski.
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 95k
Titre Table 3 – The breakdown of the ground stone tool assemblage by type and raw material.
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-17.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 321k
Titre Fig. 15 – Stone tools from the EPPNB occurences of Aḥihud.
Crédits Drawings M. Smilanski.
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-18.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 119k
Titre Fig. 16 – Obsidian artifacts from the site of Aḥihud.
Légende 1. Burin spall; 2. Blade; 3. Bladelet core.
Crédits Drawings S. Alon
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-19.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 50k
Titre Fig. 17 – Obsidian tools from Aḥihud.
Légende 1–3. Retouched bladelets; 4–6. Arrowheads (note no 5 with a “burin” impact scar); 7. Drill (on a core tablet fragment); 8. Microendscraper.
Crédits Drawings S. Alon
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-20.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 74k
Titre Table 4– Source and taxonomic breakdown of shells from Aḥihud.
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-21.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 456k
Titre Fig. 18 – Shells from the EPPNB contexts of Aḥihud.
Crédits Photo H. Schechter
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-22.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 74k
Titre Table 5 – Radiocarbon dating of seeds from the EPPNB settlement.
Crédits Radiocarbon dates: E. Boaretto in the D- Reams laboratory of the Kimmel center, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot.
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/docannexe/image/3318/img-23.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 426k
Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Jacob Vardi, Hannah Parow-Souchon, Yossi Nagar, Ian Cipin, Danny Rosenberg, Lidar Sapir-Hen, Shirad Galmor, Heeli Schehter, Valentina Caracuta, Yitzhak Paz et Maayan Shemer, « The Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic B Site of Aḥihud (Western Galilee, Israel) »Paléorient, 49-2 | -1, 19-42.

Référence électronique

Jacob Vardi, Hannah Parow-Souchon, Yossi Nagar, Ian Cipin, Danny Rosenberg, Lidar Sapir-Hen, Shirad Galmor, Heeli Schehter, Valentina Caracuta, Yitzhak Paz et Maayan Shemer, « The Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic B Site of Aḥihud (Western Galilee, Israel) »Paléorient [En ligne], 49-2 | 2024, mis en ligne le 10 avril 2024, consulté le 26 mai 2024. URL : http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/paleorient/3318 ; DOI : https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.4000/paleorient.3318

Haut de page

Auteurs

Jacob Vardi

Prehistoric branch, Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem – Israel

Articles du même auteur

Hannah Parow-Souchon

Austrian Archaeological Institute, Austrian Academy of sciences Vienna – Austria Archaeology department, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva – Israel

Yossi Nagar

Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem – Israel

Ian Cipin

Laboratory for Ancient Food Processing Technologies (LAFPT) Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, Haifa – Israel

Danny Rosenberg

Laboratory for Ancient Food Processing Technologies (LAFPT) Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, Haifa – Israel

Articles du même auteur

Lidar Sapir-Hen

Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv – Israel

Shirad Galmor

Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv – Israel

Heeli Schehter

Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem – Israel

Valentina Caracuta

ISEM – Institut des Sciences de l’Évolution de Montpellier, Montpellier – France

Yitzhak Paz

Mega Projects division, Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem – Israel

Maayan Shemer

Prehistoric branch, Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem – Israel

Articles du même auteur

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

CC-BY-4.0

Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence CC BY 4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.

Haut de page
Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search