Microwear analysis of early Neolithic (PPNA) axes and bifacial tools from Netiv Hagdud in the Jordan Valley, Israel

Richard W. Yerkes, Ran Barkai, Avi Gopher, Ofer Bar Yosef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A sample of 76 bifacial lithic artifacts from the Sultanian assemblage at the Netiv Hagdud site (9900-9600 BP; American School of Prehistoric Research Bulletin 43, 1997) was examined for microwear and technological traces in order to determine the function of ground and flaked bifacial tools used during the PPNA period. Standardized axe types (flint tranchet axes and polished stone axes made of coarser-grained materials) are among the technological, typological, and functional innovations of the Sultanian culture. The ground stone celts do not seem to have been used as tools, but 78% of the flaked bifacial tools and 27% of the tranchet axe spalls in the microwear sample were used. Most (85%) of the utilized bifacial tools in the sample were used to work wood, and 91% of the utilized axe spalls had woodworking traces. In this article, methods of distinguishing woodworking tools from chipped stone hoes and scrapers are presented, and the significance of the evidence for light woodworking or carpentry at Netiv Hagdud and early Neolithic sites in the Levant is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051-1066
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume30
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2003

Keywords

  • Microwear
  • Neolithic crafts
  • Netiv Hagdud
  • PPNA
  • Sultanian
  • Tranchet axes

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