Variation in economic specialization as revealed through the study of Pottery Neolithic faunal assemblages from the southern Levant

Linoy Namdar*, Jacob Vardi, Yitzhak Paz, Lidar Sapir-Hen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Our research examines the extent of animal husbandry between the Early and the Late Pottery Neolithic period in the southern Levant. Based on the faunal analysis of several assemblages from sites dated to the Jericho IX/Lodian (7800–7500 Bp) and Wadi Raba cultures (7500–6500 Bp), located in diverse geographic zones, it expands upon the current knowledge regarding the status of livestock exploitation and the extent of hunting. We expected some measure of exploitation of secondary products, as previous studies show that intense use of livestock for milk had already emerged in several places in Europe and the Near East by the 8th millennium BC. Our examination of the species abundance, herd demography, and changes in body size of the main livestock animals and wild species in multiple sites showed that livestock were utilized mainly for meat, and not for their secondary products. Additionally, while the animal economy in all sites relied on a combination of livestock and wild species, the extent of reliance on each source varied greatly between sites, especially in the Late Pottery Neolithic. Finally, our findings demonstrate that the economy of the Late Pottery Neolithic (Wadi Raba) of the southern Levant is more similar to the Early Pottery Neolithic (Jericho IX/Lodian) than to the later Chalcolithic Ghassulian.

Original languageEnglish
Article number207
JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Volume13
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Domestication
  • LSI
  • Livestock management
  • Pottery Neolithic
  • Southern Levant
  • Wild species

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