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Selection of long cylinders from various sites. 1–4) Hatoula; 5) Motza; 6–8) Kefar Ha-Horesh; 9) Nahal Hemar Cave; 10–11) Nahal Issaron; 12–13) Nahal Zehora II.  

Selection of long cylinders from various sites. 1–4) Hatoula; 5) Motza; 6–8) Kefar Ha-Horesh; 9) Nahal Hemar Cave; 10–11) Nahal Issaron; 12–13) Nahal Zehora II.  

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This study is an attempt to develop a comprehensive typology of the earliest stone bead assemblages in the southern Levant from Late Natufian and Neolithic sites. I propose this typology as a tool for studying stone beads almost a century after Horace Beck published his monumental bead typology. Beads are often neglected artifacts in archaeological...

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... Hard stones (Mohs hardness 7 and greater) such as jasper (many different colors), agate (many different colors), and carnelian (red-orange agate) are also found at many sites but the perforation and production of these beads requires more complex technologies, particularly for perforating the stone. A wide variety of stone beads have been found as grave goods, votive offerings, and hoarded wealth at sites in the Levant and Eastern Mediterranean from at least the 8 th millennium BCE through modern times, (Bar-Yosef-Mayer, 2013;Colburn, 2012;Golani, 2013;Groman-Yaroslavski and Bar-Yosef Mayer, 2015;Kenoyer, 2017a;Ludvik, 2018, Benz, Gresky, andAlarashi, 2020). ...
... Beads come in a diverse range of shapes and sizes which are widespread in time and space (for a general typology see Beck 1928; for lithic beads in the Near East see, among others, Alarashi 2014: figs. 4 and 8-11; Bar-Yosef Mayer 2014a;2014b;Özdoğan 2006;Yelözer & Sönmez 2018: fig. 4). ...
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Obsidian was used widely in the Near East in prehistoric and early historic times to make tools and other objects. We know quite a lot about its use as a tool-stone, but much less about other objects made from it, although such things in other contexts would be regarded as markers of identity. This apparent duality of use raises the question of whether the object made or obsidian as a raw material was more significant; it also raises questions about whether the same crafts-people were involved in both the production of tools and other objects or whether they were separated. As research progresses, we are increasingly realising that there is much information that is scattered and that more holistic and integrated approaches are needed. This demands in-depth study of individual objects using multi-disciplinary approaches. Significant areas for further study include the use of geochemical analysis to determine the provenance of the obsidian from which the objects were made and so to evaluate choice of source. Advanced technological investigation is also needed to elucidate manufacturing methods and techniques. These include studies of manufacturing techniques and surface topography as well as an evaluation of experimental data, not only to elucidate which techniques might have been used but also to assess skill and time input. The objects also need to be examined for indications of use and their context of deposition considered in greater detail. The type of objects produced and the way they were crafted also need to be compared to similar objects made of other materials to see if obsidian had a privileged position. Research into these matters is still at an early stage and this paper can only summarise what we know in order to provide a foundation for further study.
... The Neolithic is an interesting period for observing the changes that affected the material culture and the ideology of prehistoric groups. During its early phase, the production of personal ornaments improved; new types and a greater variability of forms and raw materials are found compared to the previous period (Bar-Yosef Mayer, 2013;Martínez-Sevilla et al., 2021;Rigaud, d'Errico, & Vanhaeren, 2015). The increase and spread of these objects were certainly due to innovations in the social organization of Neolithic communities determined by the development of farming, animal husbandry, and settled villages (Cauvin, 1994;Chapman & Gaydarska, 2011;Robb, 2007;Whittle, 1996), as well as being consequences of the changes in craft production, exchange networks, and raw material procurement, which strongly influenced the material culture and subsistence of Neolithic groups (Baysal, 2019;Micheli, 2012a;Wright & Garrard, 2003). ...
... The manufacturing of disc-shaped or cylindrical beads, as well as ring bracelets, requires knowledge of specific processes related to abrasion, polishing, and perforation techniques that call for careful planning and manual skills and derive from developments in the production of polished and ground stone tools. The technological complexity of ornament production reveals in many cases the beginnings of craft specialization and the social organization that underlay it (Bar-Yosef Mayer, 2013;Bonnardin, 2009;Martínez-Sevilla, 2019;Wright & Garrard, 2003;Wright et al., 2008). Although stone ornaments appeared at the end of the Palaeolithic, manufactured stone beads and rings increased in frequency from the earlier phases of the Neolithic, expanding the range of stones and minerals used and the colours of the raw materials available. ...
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... Within the context of task-specific forays to hunt and fish aquatic resources, we investigate task specialization by considering the execution of tasks that require specific knowledge, skillsets, and experience that were likely held by individuals or small subsets of the population (Costin 1991;Flad and Hruby 2007). The investigation of such task-specific activities is especially relevant on the eve of the Neolithic, a time when producer specialization emerges to play a central role in the intensification of social complexity (e.g., Bar-Yosef Mayer 2013;Quintero and Wilke 1995;Twiss 2006;Wright 2008;Wright et al. 2008). ...
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This paper investigates aquatic resource exploitation at the Late Natufian site (ca. 12,000 cal. BP) of Nahal Ein Gev II located 2 km east of the Sea of Galilee. Aquatic game, here fish and waterfowl, were an important component of the diverse small game resources that became important in the Late Epipaleolithic in Southwest Asia. We characterize local adaptations to the aquatic habitat and their economic and social implications at Nahal Ein Gev II. Taxonomic abundance and diversity, body-part representation, and fish body-size were investigated to evaluate the contribution of aquatic resources to human diets and butchery and transport strategies. Our results show that the residents of Nahal Ein Gev II were highly selective of the aquatic resources they captured and transported home. The hunters maximized foraging efficiency by nearly exclusively choosing the largest bodied species of fish and waterfowl and processing their carcasses to maximize meat utility before transporting them back to the site. The selectivity of these human foragers enables us to reconstruct rare details about the organization of forays for aquatic resources. When combined with evidence from other material classes from Nahal Ein Gev II and other sites, the results suggest that aquatic resource exploitation is only one of several specialized activities practiced at Nahal Ein Gev II. These along with other archaeological evidence provide evidence of task diversification that foreshadows the emergence of a more complex division of labor to come in the succeeding Neolithic period.
... Avanzando en el tiempo, del Neolítico se tiene un gran conocimiento sobre la fabricación y uso de cuentas perforadas tanto en roca, como hueso o conchas, aumentando en número las cuentas fabricadas en concha, como se observa en toda la zona mediterránea, desde el Levante hasta la Península Ibérica (Enciso y Martínez, 1979;Gilligan, 2010;Bar-Yosef, 2013 Es durante el Mesolítico y Neolítico europeo mediterráneo (mayormente), cuando se tiene constancia del uso de conchas de organismos marinos para la elaboración de cuentas perforadas como las que son objeto de estudio en este TFM (Berbell, 1986:19;Enciso Navarrete y Martínez Capel, 1979:112 y 115;Fernández-Álvarez, 2008:105). ...
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Valencina de la Concepción-Castilleja de Guzmán Archaeological Zone is a major resource for the study of the Coper Age in South-west Europe. Within this mega-site, numerous tholos-type constructions have been found which contained a large number of artefacts and organic remains (human and animal bones, botanical residues, etc). A major category are the perforated beads found around the human bodies inhumed inside the Large Chamber of the Montelirio tholos. This masters dissertation focuses in the study of those beads through their comparison with similar productions documented among different prehistoric societies throughout the planet. Secondly, this work also includes the characterisation of the beads from the point of view of its raw material, and by an experimental archaeology trial, the analysis of the technical processes used in its manufacture.
... Unio sp. shells were probably selected to make 'disc beads' in the Epipaleolithic of the Levant, at Eynan (Natufian, 10,000-8,000 BCE; Bar-Yosef Mayer, 2013), and in Europe the presence of Unio sp. beads has been recorded 259 times according to the dataset gathered from the literature by Rigaud et al. (2015), mainly from Neolithic sites. ...
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The extensive use of mollusc shell as a versatile raw material is testament to its importance in prehistoric times. The consistent choice of certain species for different purposes, including the making of ornaments, is a direct representation of how humans viewed and exploited their environment. The necessary taxonomic information, however, is often impossible to obtain from objects that are small, heavily worked or degraded. Here we propose a novel biogeochemical approach to track the biological origin of prehistoric mollusc shell. We conducted an in-depth study of archaeological ornaments using microstructural, geochemical and biomolecular analyses, including 'palaeoshellomics', the first application of palaeoproteomics to mollusc shells (and indeed to any invertebrate calcified tissue). We reveal the consistent use of locally-sourced freshwater mother-of-pearl for the standardized manufacture of 'double-buttons'. This craft is found throughout Europe between 4200 - 3800 BCE, highlighting the ornament-makers' profound knowledge of the biogeosphere and the existence of cross-cultural traditions.
... Types and forms can reflect the designed and/or intended style of a certain object as a result of the production sequence from the acquisition of the raw material to the finished status of the object. While typological studies constitute an important step in understanding production sequences and modelling various chaînes opératoires (Alarashi, 2014;Bains, 2012;Bains, 2013;Bar-Yosef Mayer, 2013b;Vanhaeren et al., 2013, p. 503), it is also a classification method for distribution analysis and comparisons within and between archaeological sites (Newell et al., 1990;Rigaud et al., 2015;Vanhaeren & d'Errico, 2006). It is also stated that early Neolithic beads show little consistency and standardization. ...
... Moreover, typology and related terminologies do not always reflect the overall meaning and significance of the Neolithic beads (Baysal, 2015b, p. 11). Therefore, typology may not necessarily reflect how the prehistoric people perceived and valued objects from different materials and types (Bains, 2013;Bar-Yosef Mayer, 2013b). ...
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Body ornaments can be read as both symbols and media reflecting personal or social aspects of their owners’ identities. Understanding the use of ornaments in prehistoric societies can contribute to an evaluation of their social, technological, cognitive, symbolic and economic systems, values or traditions, as well as their relations with the outer world. As a whole, these items may reflect individual or corporate identities, personal and social aspects of both the individuals within the society and the society itself as a whole. The present data from Aşıklı Höyük, an early Neolithic settlement located in Central Anatolia, suggests that sedentism in the region begins around the 9th millennium B.C. Habitation at the site is continuous, lasting more than 1000 years. Notably, in the 8th millennium there are indications for significant changes in settlement pattern and architecture; in contrast, traditions in other aspects such as burial customs, subsistence and technologies, remain constant. Studies demonstrate on the one hand a gradual and rather slow change, yet on the other hand it is apparent that the community was intrinsically bound to its past. The aim of this contribution is to identify changes and/or continuity in the community through selected small finds, namely personal ornaments, comprising beads, necklaces, bracelets and the so-called belt buckles. These finds, which have been found in various contexts and layers, will be assessed with respect to raw materials and shapes/types. Aspects of change and/or continuity will be identified. Implications for our understanding of newly established life ways and social organization of the community will be discussed.
... Beads are a useful medium for studying human behavior because they are portable, wearable, able to be decorated, and they preserve well in the archaeological record (see Bar-Yosef 2014;Bellina 2003;Carter 2013;Kenoyer 2001;Kenoyer et al 1991;Stiner 2014). In this chapter, I describe the OKV site, and the methodology I used for collecting data. ...
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The androcentric, male-biased archaeological perception with a linear understanding of the past, which is mainly focused on material culture with a descriptive concern, is a product of cultural historical and positivist archaeological traditions. Through time, this approach has chosen to focus on material culture, nurturing from dichotomies such as nature/culture, domestic space/communal space, man the hunter/woman the gatherer, productive/fertile etc. But this shift into a different understanding of the past, with a concern of past societies social aspects, still has not been able to alter the androcentric base of the discipline. The mainstream archaeological knowledge production is still not concerned with the context of the archaeological artifacts and data; when relating the archaeological thing with the human(s) who produced, used, functioned and valued it, archaeologists mainly define and interpret the thing itself with androcentric, implicit and presentist gender codes. But the archaeologist itself should approach this relation of humans and things –both in past and today– searching for agents who produced, used, valued and functioned those things, rather than de-contextualizing both the subject and the object by interpreting them with today’s androcentric gender norms. The main aim of this paper is to start an argument and criticism of the male biased archaeological knowledge production and therefore the discipline itself with a ‘deconstructive’ manner, through feminist archaeology as a critical archaeological approach.
... Similar greenstone pendants were found at Final Natufian Eynan (e.g. [49,51]), Late Natufian Gilgal II [52] and the Harifian site of Ramat Harif (GVIII) [53]. Several lines of evidence suggest that these unique ornaments were imported at NEG II: (1) greenstone was not locally available; (2) no production evidence such as waste or preforms were recovered; and (3) only two specimens were found. ...
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The Natufian culture is of great importance as a starting point to investigate the dynamics of the transition to agriculture. Given its chronological position at the threshold of the Neolithic (ca. 12,000 years ago) and its geographic setting in the productive Jordan Valley, the site of Nahal Ein Gev II (NEG II) reveals aspects of the Late Natufian adaptations and its implications for the transition to agriculture. The size of the site, the thick archaeological deposits, invested architecture and multiple occupation sub-phases reveal a large, sedentary community at least on par with Early Natufian camps in the Mediterranean zone. Although the NEG II lithic tool kit completely lacks attributes typical of succeeding Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) assemblages, the artistic style is more closely related to the early PPNA world, despite clear roots in Early Natufian tradition. The site does not conform to current perceptions of the Late Natufians as a largely mobile population coping with reduced resource productivity caused by the Younger Dryas. Instead, the faunal and architectural data suggest that the sedentary populations of the Early Natufian did not revert back to a nomadic way of life in the Late Natufian in the Jordan Valley. NEG II encapsulates cultural characteristics typical of both Natufian and PPNA traditions and thus bridges the crossroads between Late Paleolithic foragers and Neolithic farmers.