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THE “NEAR EAST” Powered By Docstoc

           The “Cradle of Civilization”
Driscoll C A et al. PNAS 2009;106:9971-9978
         (years before present, BP)

            Zagros Mountains
V. Gordon Childe‟s Neolithic Revolution:
    The Oasis Theory (1928, 1936)
                         • As Pleistocene glaciers melted,
                           world‟s climate became hotter and
                         • In desert areas, the few well
                           watered areas became oases
                         • People, animals, and plants
                           became more densely
                           concentrated near oases and
                           desert streams
                         • Forced association led to greater
       Jericho, Isreal     intimacy, even symbiotic
                           relationships, between humans
                           and plants/animals, and then
                           domestication (domestic or “tame”)
   Kathleen Kenyon excavated at Jericho (1952-58)
    to test Childe‟s Oasis Theory. She discovered
pre-Neolithic occupations (Natufian hunter-gatherers)
    and two early Aceramic Neolithic occupations
     (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A, or PPNA, and PPNB).
     Aceramic Neolithic tower                  Ancient Jericho (Tell es-Sultan)

    On top of small Natufian occupation, the long-lived Neolithic settlement rivaled
   the later Bronze-Age settlement in size (2.5 ha) and had a wall and ditch, like the
later occupations. Early Neolithic occupations lacked ceramics, hence PPNA, PPNB.
      Robert Braidwood excavated at
      Jarmo, Iraq (1948-1955) to test
        the “hilly flanks hypothesis”
         Jarmo: A Village of Early Farmers
Robert Braidwood in Antiquity Volume 24:189 (1950)
   Braidwood‟s Hilly Flanks Theory
• Hilly flanks of Zagros Mountains, Iraq: rich natural
  habitat for wild grasses (natural habitat zone
  hypothesis; Peake-Fleur, 1927)
• Argued that there was little evidence of dramatic post-
  Pleistocene desiccation (now known to be an
  important factor in Pleistocene-Holocene transition in
  the Younger Dryas cooling period)
• Agriculture was logical outcome of cultural
  experimentation and elaboration as hunters-gatherers
  settled-in in those areas where wild grasses were
• Like Childe‟s model, assumes agriculture is logical
  outcome of humanity seeking to improve its condition
Farming Towns
      • Food production and
        more sedentary ways of
        life resulted in growth in
        settlement size and
        provided foundation for
        numerous cultural
        innovations outside of
      • Domestication and
        settled village life were
        traditionally seen as
        happening more or less
        simultaneously, although
        more recent research
        shows a more
        complicated story
Thomas Malthus
    •   An essay on the principle of population as
        it affects the future improvement of
        society (1798)

    •   Population naturally grows until
        something dramatic occurs
    •   Population growth kept in check through
        mortality (misery, war, famine, epidemics)
    •   Neo-Malthusian premise: population
        growth is dependent variable, determined
        by preceding changes in subsistence
    •   as population reaches critical threshold,
        or “carrying capacity,” population growth
        is checked (held in place) by some
        cultural or natural factor (contraception,
        infanticide, disease, famine)
Neo-Malthusian View: Revolutionary Change
Population growth dependent on technology

    Intensive agriculture


                                            Food Foraging
        Ester Boserup
                 • Made population growth the
                   independent variable
                 • Technology will respond when
                   population growth approaches
                   critical threshold (carrying capacity)
                   creating demographic stress
                 • Agriculture emerges due to
                   population pressure (demographic
                   stress) and the need to
                   technologically increase carrying

The Conditions of Agricultural Growth: The Economics of
  Agrarian Change under Population Pressure (1965)
Carrying capacity

                            Mathusian = Black
                     (population = dependent variable)
                            Boserupian = Red
                    (population = independent variable)
      Lewis Binford‟s (1968) Marginal
               Zone Model
• Environmental changes in late Pleistocene encouraged
  development of early sedentary villages in areas of rich
• Inevitable population growth forced some groups to move to
  more marginal areas;
• We should expect to find the earliest evidence of agriculture not
  in prime areas but in marginal areas where people had to
  expand their “diet breadth” – in prime areas existing
  technology/diet were adequate;
• Kent Flannery attempted to test this theory at Ali Kosh and later
  work by Flannery in Mesoamerica supported Boserup‟s idea
  (domesticated crops long before sedentism): broad-spectrum
  revolution (1969), decreased mobility, increased fertility, and
  population growth, and the increased reliance on large-seed
 Haplotype frequency among geographic regions at multiple loci infer at least two domestications of
   barley; one within the Fertile Crescent and a second 1,500–3,000 km farther east. The Fertile
  Crescent domestication contributed the majority of diversity in European and American cultivars,
whereas the second domestication contributed most of the diversity in barley from Central Asia to the
                              Far East. (Morell and Clegg, PNAS, 2/07)
             Netiv Hagdud, Israel

• Very early evidence of domesticated plants (c. 9500-8,500 BC) in
  Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA)
• Hunting gazelle, fish, waterfowl, 50 species of wild plants, especially
  wild cereal grasses harvested with sickles (included a semi-tough
  rachis, two-row domesticated barley)
• Mud-houses, cereals stored in bins
• Cereal seeds– supplementary food
• during the colder Younger Dryas (12.8-11.6 k) early cultivation :
  emerged as environment stress forced people to rely more heavily
  on cultivated species. Natufians (late Epipaleolithic, 12,000 to 9,600
  BC; 14-11.6 k) shifted to management and early cultivation of
  grasses as natural stands depleted
• (Bar-Yosef and Goffer 1997)
                • Early Epipaleolithic (ca.
                  20,000 – 13,000 BC)
                • Late Glacial maximum
                • Cluster of small oval (3-4
                  m) huts; more settled
                • Organics survived from
                  being waterlogged
     Ohalo II
                • Grinding stones, gazelle,
                  remains from a diversity
                  of ecological zones
Netiv Hagdud
Small, round, semi-subterranean houses,
           lined with grasses
        (PNAS, Nadel et al. 2004)
•   The beginning of agriculture is one of the most important developments in human
    history, with enormous consequences that paved the way for settled life and
    complex society.

•   Much of the research on the origins of agriculture over the last 40 years has been
    guided by Flannery‟s (1969, in The Domestication and Exploitation of Plants and
    Animals) „„broad spectrum revolution‟‟ (BSR) hypothesis, which posits that the
    transition to farming in southwest Asia entailed a period during which foragers
    broadened their resource base to encompass a wide array of foods that were
    previously ignored in an attempt to overcome food shortages.

•   A collection of >90,000 plant remains, recently recovered from the Stone Age site
    Ohalo II (23,000 B.P.), Israel, offers insights into the plant foods of the late Upper

•   The staple foods of this assemblage were wild grasses, pushing back the dietary
    shift to grains some 10,000 years earlier than previously recognized. Besides the
    cereals (wild wheat and barley), small-grained grasses made up a large component
    of the assemblage, indicating that the BSR in the Levant was even broader than
    originally conceived, encompassing what would have been low-ranked plant foods.

•   Over the next 15,000 years small-grained grasses were gradually replaced by the
    larger-grained cereals (wheats and barley)

•   From PNAS, Weiss et al. 2004
    Domestication was a very long-term process that involved changes in
human behaviors and changes in plant and animal communities, as well as climate

   •   Wheat and barley refined into cereals 23,000 years ago, suggesting that humans
       were processing grains long before hunter-gatherer societies developed agriculture.
       Earliest known oven, evidence of baking.
   •   Routine processing of a selected group of wild cereals, combined with effective
       methods of cooking ground seeds, were practiced at least 12,000 years before their
       domestication in southwest Asia.

       Piperno et al. (2004), Nature
Eynan (Ain Mellaha),
 12,000- 9,600 BC
 Earliest “true village” in
 the world
 - Long-term settlement
 - Over 70 structures
 - Population estimated 300

   Wild Barley and Almonds
   Found in Hearths
   Wild Cereals - Important
                  First Phase

                                Third-phase, smaller, less
                                  substantial structures

Eynan/Ain Mallaha

         Second Phase
                                          Upper Euphrates River

•Discovered in salvage work before site
   was flooded by dam (early 1970s)
                   Abu Hureyra, Syria
•   Small village (11,000-9,600 BC),
    focused on hunted and gathered foods
    in this marginal location (situated in
    transition area between ecological
    zones). Living in small, round, semi-
    subterranean houses
•   Clear evidence of fairly intensive
    cultivation of cereal grains, notably
    rye, which was soon domesticated
    (earliest domesticated species, by
    9,600 BC, at end of Younger Dryas
    cold phase)
•   At this time hunted gazelles, wild
    cattle, pigs, goats, and other species
•   Abandoned and later reoccupied by
    Neolithic (PPNA) group and grew to
    large community (>1,000) living in
    rectangular, mud-brick structures with
    storage compartments and upper story
    living areas
•   By Neolithic times, ca. 7500-6500 BC,
    gazelles depleted and domesticated
    sheep were dominant

                                             9500-9000 BC
•   New evidence from the site of Abu Hureyra suggests that systematic cultivation
    of cereals in fact started well before the end of the Pleistocene by at least 13000
    years ago [11,000 BC], and that rye was among the first crops. The evidence
    also indicates that hunter-gatherers at Abu Hureyra first started cultivating crops
    in response to a steep decline in wild plants that had served as staple foods for
    at least the preceding four centuries.

•   The decline in these wild staples is attributable to a sudden, dry, cold, climatic
    reversal (Younger Dryas). At Abu Hureyra, therefore, it appears that the primary
    trigger for the occupants to start cultivating caloric staples was climate change. It
    is these beginnings of cultivation in the late Pleistocene that gave rise to the
    integrated grain-livestock Neolithic farming systems of the early Holocene.

•   “What they did was to take seed of the wild cereals from higher areas to the
    West, and sowed it close to Abu Hureyra in areas such as breaks in slope,
    where soil moisture was greatly enhanced naturally.”

•   “Wild stands of these cereals could not have continued to grow unaided in such
    locations because they would have been out-competed by dryland scrub.
    Therefore, these first cultivators had to clear the competing vegetation.”

•   Hillman et al. The Holocene, Vol. 11, No. 4, 383-393 (2001).
      Abu Hureya

Aceramic Neolithic Settlement
            Jerf el Ahmar, Syria
• (9600-8800 BC), filling gap
  at Abu Hureyra (PPNA),
  with wild game and cereals
• Houses of diverse plans,
  core of small rectangular
  houses, around large
  circular communal structure
  (storage), with small round
  mud-brick structures at
• Later circular communal
  structure for ritual/public
  functions (?)
Implications of Food Production
•   Increased carrying capacity, Greater number of people can be supported
    on given unit of land
•   Requires more intensive land use, which, in most cases, is cost-deficient
    (I.e., higher cost-benefit ratio)
•   Sedentary settlement is a must for intensive agriculture (delayed return
    on labor);
•   Accumulation of material culture and infrastructure
•   Decreased mobility does seem to be linked with increased population
    growth - increased fertility and capacity for child rearing
•   Increased potential for infectious disease
•   Decline in overall health; Nutritional deficiencies from diminished diversity
    in diet; work related pathologies
•   Less free time, at least for producers
•   Increase in social complexity, emergence of segmentary groups in larger
    communities (lineages/clans), and, later, more hierarchical groups, class
    of non-producers, greater differences in wealth
•   Trade, interaction, diffusion, and migration
Zeder (2008) PNAS, years before present


                                 Fertile Crescent

Expansion of Near East
  Farming Complex
Zeder (2008), PNAS, years before present (BP)

                      Red = Colonist groups
      Blue = Integration of colonists and indigenous groups
                        Green = Diffusion
Levant (pre-pottery Neolithic)
 Central Anatolian Neolithic
  Mesopotamian Neolithic
     Göbekli Tepe, SE Turkey
Religious Center Before Agriculture

   - 9000-8000 BC
   - 300 m diameter mound, 15 m high
   - Served as a central place, with no traces
      of domestic buildings or village life
   -Semi-subterranean circular structure with
        T-shaped stone monuments (five mapped,
        20 more based on geophysical survey)
    Çayönü, Neolithic settlement
(southern Turkey), 7200 to 6600 BC.
• Early excavations by Robert Braidwood (from 1964).
• Settlement covers Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA), Pre-
  Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB), and Pottery Neolithic (PN).
• Aceramic Neolithic divided into sub-phases according to
  dominant architecture:
   –   round, PPNA
   –   grill, PPNA
   –   channeled, Early PPNB
   –   cobble paved, Middle PPNB
   –   cell, Late PPNB
   –   large room, final PPNB
        Çatalhöyük, Turkey
• Great mound (13 ha, 32 acres), rebuilt many times
  between ca. 7,300-6,200 BC, several thousand
  people, tightly packed houses
• agglomerated settlement of connected
  rectangular-roomed houses with flat roofs and
  room entrances
• remarkable for its artistic tradition and trade,
  including carefully constructed shrines with
  painted walls and sophisticated figurine and
  plastic art
• Prospered through trade – obsidian, shell,
  turquoise, jadite, other exotics –
Çatalhöyük, southern Turkey (Anatolia), 7300-6200 BC
Ian Hodder, with Prince Charles
 (Hodder directs large research
      project since 1993)

13 ha (32 acres) and over 21 m of
   stratified occupation debris;
 Aggregated houses divided into
    family living compartments
   Sub-floor burials in houses
(some with none, some with many)
             'Ain Ghazal, NE Jordan
               (ca. 7250-5000 BC)
• PPNB: 7250-6000 BC; valley side location, terraced village
  area, plaster-walled, multi-room, rectangular houses, cereal
  agriculture, and herding domesticated goat (fairly typical
• After 6500 BC, population dropped sharply to about one
  sixth within only a few generations, probably due to
  environmental degradation
• Late aceramic Neolithic, 6000-5500 BC, settlement grew
  rapidly to four times its original size, extending over 10-15
  hectares (25–37 ac) and was inhabited by as many as 3000
  people (four to five times contemporary Jericho), perhaps
  due to integration of diverse communities.
• First large-scale anthromorphic statuary, shrines, caches of
  plaster figurines, masks, and tokens (in ceramic Neolithic,
„Ain Ghazal, Jordon
 Masks, figurines,
    And tokens
                      Caches of figurines
We return to SW
 Asia later, with
the rise of state     Next, the rise
  civilizations     of farming in the
                        East Asia

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