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Establishing a Radiocarbon Sequence for Göbekli Tepe. State of Research and New Data.

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Recent fieldwork in the main excavation area at Göbekli Tepe has focused on the excavation of deep soundingsto reach the natural bedrock in preparation for the construction of a shelter, urgently required for the protection of the exposed Neolithic architecture. Eleven deep soundings have been excavated to the bedrock. At several locations, considerable amounts of carbonized botanical material were discovered, so far unique for excavations at Göbekli. A series of more than 150 samples has been produced either on site or by flotation of the relevant soil units. To test the quality of the material for radiocarbon dating, five samples from the area of the large enclosures from Layer III were submitted for AMS-radiocarbon dating. These new data, together with a further age made on collagen from an animal tooth, are presented and discussed in context with previously available absolute chronological evidence.
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Editorial
Field Reports
Purschwitz
Abiotic Resources
Rollefson, Rowan, Wasse
Wisad Pools
Contribution
Becker, Helms
Tell Tawila
Dietrich, Köksal-Schmidt, Notroff, Schmidt
Göbekli Tepe
Book Review
New Publications/Masthead
NEO-LITHICS 1/13
The Newsletter of
Southwest Asian Neolithic Research
2
Neo-Lithics 1/13
Contents
Editorial
Editorial 2
Field Reports
Christoph Purschwitz
Abiotic Resources and Early Neolithic Raw Material Procurement in the Greater Petra Area
(ARGPA) - Research Aims and First Results (Ba‘ja Neolithic Project 2012, 10th Season) 3
Gary O. Rollefson, Yorke Rowan, and Alexander Wasse
Neolithic Settlement at Wisad Pools, Black Desert 11
Contributions
Jörg Becker and Tobias B.H. Helms
A Halaan Ritual Deposit from Tell Tawila, Northeastern Syria 24
Oliver Dietrich, Çiğdem Köksal-Schmidt, Jens Notroff, and Klaus Schmidt
Establishing a Radiocarbon Sequence for Göbekli Tepe. State of Research and New Data 36
Book Review
Review of F.R. Valla, Les Fouilles de la Terrasse d’Hayonim (Israël). 1980-1981 et 1985-1989
by Tobias Richter 42
New Publications 46
Masthead 48
In the past decade, an accelerating number of outraging reports on looted museums and archaeological sites, churches
and mosques, cemeteries and dig houses, and other monuments have come from Middle Eastern countries. And now
Egypt. Of course, lamenting about this appears callous in the face of the tens of thousands of plundered private
homes, rape, and murder. Often our indignation forgets that systematic (and even institutionalized) looting has been
reported in many ancient Near Eastern texts, including the Old Testament, or that the western countries’ history
is full of such periods, such as the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, the looting of the Aztec gold,
Napoleon’s or the Nazi / Allied Forces “removal” of cultural objects from conquered territories. Or see the Lieber
Code of 1863! The topic is highly complex and old: Many of us have found evidence of systematic contemporaneous
looting in Neolithic and Chalcolithic contexts. Be it the villager making pits in Tell Jokha (Umma), or the armed
ghters coming with bulldozers to Apamea, their disposition to benet from the chaos is encouraged by the greed
of the wealthy “co-looters” from all around the world, be they institutions or private collectors secretly enjoying
the plunder. Neolithic collections may not yet be largely in the focus of looters and co-looters, but does this protect
their integrity during a looting raid?
Hans Georg K. Gebel and Gary O. Rollefson
Contribution
Neo-Lithics 1/13
36
The stratigraphy of Göbekli Tepe comprises three layers,
an older Layer III, assigned to the PPNA, a younger
Layer II, attributed to the early and middle PPNB,
and a nal Layer I, featuring mixed sediments derived
from agricultural activities, though containing PPN
materials and sporadic nds from the Middle Ages and
the modern period (but with no architectural remains).
Layer III has produced the well-known monumental
architecture with megalithic T-shaped pillars arranged
in circle-like enclosures around two taller central pil-
lars; Layer II consists of smaller rectangular buildings
often containing just two or even one smaller pillar, and
sometimes none at all. The difculties and possibilities
linked to the application of radiocarbon dating at the site
have already been highlighted (Dietrich 2011); as such,
in the following we provide only a brief summary of the
current state of research.
Radiocarbon Dating at Göbekli: the State of
Research
At least for the large enclosures from Layer III it can
be stated that these were intentionally backlled at the
end of their use-lives. This backlling poses severe pro-
blems for the dating of this layer using the radiocarbon
method, as organic remains from the ll-sediments
could be older or younger than the enclosures, with
younger samples becoming deposited at lower depths,
thus producing an inverse stratigraphy. Another issue
is the lack of carbonized organic material available for
dating; only in the last campaigns have larger quantities
been discovered.
Given these inherent difculties, in a rst approach
the attempt was made to date the architecture directly
using pedogenic carbonates. These begin to form on
limestone surfaces as soon as they are buried with se-
diment (Pustovoytov 2002, 2006; Pustovoytov and
Taubald 2003; Pustovoytov et al. 2007a, 2007b). Un-
fortunately the pedogenic carbonate layers accumulate
at a variable rate over long time periods, so a sample
comprising a whole layer will yield only an average
value. This problem can be avoided by sampling only
the oldest calcium carbonate layer in a thin section: the
result should be a date near the beginning of soil for-
mation around the stone, i.e. near the time of its burial
(Pustovoytov 2002). Radiocarbon data are available
from both the architecture of Layers III and II (Dietrich
2011, Tab. 1). Although the observed archaeological
stratigraphy is conrmed by the relative sequence of the
data, absolute ages are clearly too young, with Layer III
being pushed into the 9th millennium, and Layer II pro-
ducing ages from the 8th or even 7th millennia calBC.
Therefore, the data fail to provide absolute chronological
points of reference for architecture and strata. At most
they serve as a terminus ante quem for the backlling of
the enclosures (Layer III) and the abandonment of the
site (Layer II).
A far better source of organic remains for the direct
dating of architectural structures is the wall plaster used
in the enclosures. This wall plaster comprises loam,
which also contains small amounts of organic material
(Dietrich and Schmidt 2010). A sample (KIA-44149)
taken from the wall plaster of Enclosure D (Area L9-68,
Loc. 782.3) gives a date of 9984 ± 42
14
C-BP (9745-
9314 calBC at the 95.4% condence level), thus placing
the circle in the PPNA.
Concerning the ll-material from the enclosures, two
approaches have been pursued, the rst dedicated to the
dating of animal bones and a second to ages made on
charcoal. The archaeological appraisal of a recently ac-
quired series of 20 data made on bone samples (Fig. 3)
is quite complicated, as they pose some methodological
problems (Dietrich 2011: 19-20, Tab. 4). At least within
the group of samples chosen, collagen conservation is
poor, and the carbonate-rich sediments at Göbekli Tepe
may be the cause for problems with the dating of apatite
fractions (cf. Zazzo and Saliège 2011).
Carbonized plant remains have been very scarce at
Göbekli, thus limiting the possibilities for dating char-
coal. Nevertheless, three charcoal samples (Tab. 1) are
available for Enclosure A. While two samples (Hd-
20025 and Hd-20036) stem from back-ll (Kromer and
Schmidt 1998) and have been dated to the late 10th /
earliest 9th millennium calBC, a third charcoal sample
(KIA-28407) was taken from beneath a fallen fragment
of a pillar. This sample has provided a date for a possible
nal lling event around the mid-9th millennium calBC.
It is conrmed by a measurement (IGAS-2658; Tab. 1)
made on humic acids from a buried humus horizon that
provides a terminus ante quem for Layer II in area L9-
68, dating to the late 9th / early 8th millennium calBC.
In conclusion, up to now charcoal samples have
suggested that the backlling or burial of the larger en-
closures occurred some time in the late 10th and early
9th millennium calBC, while KIA-44149 from the wall
plaster of Enclosure D indicates building activities in
the mid-10
th
millennium calBC, i.e. in the early PPNA.
Notwithstanding these results, no clear image ermerged
in regard to the contemporaneity of the enclosures .
A New Series of Data
Recent eldwork in the main excavation area at Göbekli
Tepe has focused on the excavation of deep soundings
Establishing a Radiocarbon Sequence for Göbekli Tepe.
State of Research and New Data
Oliver Dietrich, Çiğdem Köksal-Schmidt, Jens Notroff, and Klaus Schmidt
Dietrich et al., A Radiocarbon Sequence for Göbekli Tepe
Neo-Lithics 1/13
37
to reach the natural bedrock in preparation for the
construction of a shelter, urgently required for the pro-
tection of the exposed Neolithic architecture. Eleven
deep soundings have been excavated to the bedrock. At
several locations, considerable amounts of carbonized
botanical material were discovered, so far unique for
excavations at Göbekli (Fig. 2). A series of more than
150 samples has been produced either on site or by o-
tation of the relevant soil units. To test the quality of
the material for radiocarbon dating, ve samples from
the area of the large enclosures from Layer III were
submitted for AMS-radiocarbon dating (Tab. 1, Fig. 2,
3; UGAMS-10795 to 10799). In the following, these
new data, together with a further age made on collagen
from an animal tooth (KIA- 44701; Tab. 1, Fig. 2, 3),
are presented and discussed in context with previously
available absolute chronological evidence.
Enclosure D
Two deep soundings were excavated directly adjacent
to the ring wall belonging to Enclosure D, with three
new ages obtained from charcoal recovered from the
sounding in area L9-78 (for location of samples dis-
cussed in the text, cf. Fig. 1). These samples were col-
lected close to the bedrock, which in its interior forms
the oor of this enclosure. Calibrated ages cluster
between 9664 to 9311 calBC at the 95.4% condence
level (UGAMS-10795, 10796, 10799; Tab. 1, Fig. 2, 3),
a time-span which is in good agreement with the earlier
measurement made on clay mortar from the ring wall
of Enclosure D between Pillars 41 and 42 (KIA-44149,
9984 ± 42
14
C-BP, 9745-9314 calBC at the 95.4% con-
dence level; Tab. 1, Fig. 2, 3). Based on these data, we
now have a much clearer picture of the chronological
frame within which construction activities took place in
the area of Enclosure D. It is only regrettable that these
four data all correspond to a period with a slight pla-
teau in the calibration curve (Fig. 2b), thus resulting in
larger probability ranges. Additional excavation work
is needed to clarify the exact stratigraphical correlation
of the three new charcoal dates with Enclosure D.
Finally, from the ll-material of Enclosure D there
is one new
14
C-age made on collagen from an animal
tooth found north of Pillar 33 (KIA-44701, 9800 ±
120
14
C-BP, 9746-8818 calBC at the 95.4% condence
level; Tab. 1, Fig. 2, 3). Taken together with another
new measurement made on charcoal extracted from the
same ll (Layer III) in area L9-69 (UGAMS-10798,
9540 ± 30
14
C-BP, 9127-8763 calBC at the 95.4%
condence level; Tab. 1, Fig. 2, 3) there can still be
no consensus regarding the time of abandonment and
burial of this enclosure. Further radiocarbon measure-
ments will be needed to clarify this process. Indeed, the
animal tooth used to produce sample KIA-44701 might
even stem from the use-life of the enclosure, which as
we know would have included the celebration of large
feasts (Dietrich et al. 2012). This line of thought would
then allow for a considerable (several hundred years)
time of use of the enclosure prior to its burial some-
time in the late 10th or early 9th millennium calBC
(UGAMS-10798). But at the moment, a rather short
life-span of the enclosure remains a possibility, too.
Code Date δ13C, ‰ Material Context
UGAMS-10796 9990±30 -25.6
charcoal
(Pistacia atlantica, Prunus
amygdalus, undetermined)
Enclosure D
L9-78, Loc. 129.11
space adjacent to ring walls
UGAMS-10795 9970±30 -24.8
charcoal (Pistacia atlantica, Prunus
amygdalus, undetermined)
Enclosure D
L9-78, Loc. 129.12
space adjacent to ring walls
UGAMS-10799 9960±30 -25.7
charcoal
(Pistacia atlantica, Prunus
amygdalus, Prunus, Rhamnus
sp., undertermined; mainly
fragments of branches)
Enclosure D
L9-78, Loc. 129.10
space adjacent to ring walls
KIA- 44149 9984±42 -26.31 ± 0.57 wall plaster, organic remains
Enclosure D
L9-68, Loc. 782.3
inner ring wall between
pillars 41 and 42
KIA- 44701 9800±120 -20.57 ± 0,13 collagen from cattle tooth
Enclosure D
L9-67, Loc. 65.2,
north of pillar 33
UGAMS-10798 9540±30 -25.4
charcoal
(Pistacia atlantica, Populus
/ Salix, undetermined)
Layer III, north of Enclosure D
L9-69, Loc. 123.3
UGAMS-10797 9700±30 -26.7
charcoal
(Pistacia atlantica; fragments
of branches)
Enclosure C
L9-97, Loc. 64.2
space between outer ringwalls
Hd-20036 9559±53 not provided
charcoal
(Pistacia sp., Amygdalus sp.)
Enclosure A
L9-75, Loc. 48.1
Hd-20025 9452±73 not provided
charcoal
(Pistacia sp., Amygdalus sp.)
Enclosure A
L9-75, Loc. 44.3
KIA-28407 9250±55 -24.82 ± 0.11 charcoal
Enclosure A
under a fallen pillar frag-
ment in L9-75, Loc. 50.
IGAS- 2658 8880±60 not provided humic acids from soil sample
Terminus ante quem for
Layer II over the Filling of
Enclosure D in L9-68
Table 1 List of radiocarbon
data made on organic samples
from Göbekli Tepe.
Contribution
Neo-Lithics 1/13
38
At this point reference should again be made to
sample IGAS-2658 (8880 ± 60
14
C-BP, 8241-7795
calBC at the 95.4% condence level; Tab. 1, Fig. 2, 3)
taken from a humus layer in area L9-68 (Pustovoytov
2006: 707-708, Fig. 2f). This date marks the last PPN
activities in this area and provides a terminus ante
quem for Layer II.
Enclosure C
To present, only one date is available for Enclosure C
(UGAMS-10797, 9700 ± 30
14
C-BP, 9261-9139 calBC
at the 91.6% probability level; Tab. 1, Fig. 2, 3). This
sample was taken from a deep sounding in area L9-97
(Loc. 64.2) between the outermost ring walls of the
enclosure and close to the bedrock. This could indicate
that building activities at the outer ring walls of this
enclosure were underway during the backlling of En-
closure D. However, a larger series of data and a close
inspection of Enclosure C´s building history will be
necessary to conrm such far-reaching conclusions.
Enclosure A
From the area of Enclosure A there are the two dates
already published by Kromer and Schmidt (1998) and
mentioned above (Hd-20036, 9559 ± 53
14
C-BP, 9175-
8759 calBC; and Hd-20025, 9452 ± 73
14
C-BP, 9131-
Fig. 1 The main excavation area at Göbekli Tepe with origin of 14C samples discussed in the text.
Dietrich et al., A Radiocarbon Sequence for Göbekli Tepe
Neo-Lithics 1/13
39
Fig. 2 Charts of radiocarbon data from Göbekli Tepe.
Contribution
Neo-Lithics 1/13
40
8559 cal BC at the 95.4% condence level; Tab. 1, Fig.
2, 3). As these charcoals came from the ll of the enclo-
sure, these measurements most likely date its abandon-
ment, though it certainly cannot be ruled out that older
organic remains became mixed in with material used for
the burial of the structure (Kromer and Schmidt 1998).
In combination with the new data, these dates may
indicate that Enclosure A is generally later (or was in use
for a longer period) than Enclosures C and D. From the
perspective of its rather square-like ground-plan, Enclo-
sure A could be an architectural missing link between the
older circular structures of Layer III and the smaller rect-
angular complexes of Layer II. Good comparisons for its
general layout can be found in the sub-quadratic “Ter-
razzo Building” in Çayönü (cell plan layer) (Schirmer
1990: 382-384) or in the „Cult Building“ at Nevalı Çori
(Hauptmann 1993), which also yielded T-shaped pillars
of forms similar to those at Göbekli, Layer II.
KIA-28407 (9250 ± 55
14
C-BP; 8617-8315 calBC at
the 95.4% condence level; Tab. 1, Fig. 2, 3) is a date
made on charcoal from a soil sample extracted from
beneath a rather large fragment of fallen pillar (Pus-
tovoytov 2006: 709, Fig. 3g). Although this age could
mark the time of abandonment of Enclosure A, its or-
igin makes it difcult to determine whether it dates the
burial of the enclosure at the end of its use-life, a later
intentional destruction, or a moment when Enclosure A
was already lled and Layer II activities led to the
deposition of the pillar fragment.
Conclusion
As a preliminary conclusion, the still limited series
of radiocarbon data seems to suggest that Layer III
enclosures at Göbekli Tepe were not exactly con-
Fig. 3 The calibrated radiocarbon data from Göbekli Tepe – single plots.
Dietrich et al., A Radiocarbon Sequence for Göbekli Tepe
Neo-Lithics 1/13
41
Hauptmann H.
1993 Ein Kultgebäude in Nevalı Cori. In: M. Frangipane,
H. Hauptmann, M. Liverani, P. Matthiae, and
M. Mellink (eds.), Between the Rivers and over the
Mountains. Festschrift fur Alba Palmieri: 3769.
Dipartimento di Scienze Storiche Archeologiche
e Antropologiche dellAntichità, Università di Roma
“La Sapienza”.
Kromer B. and Schmidt K.
1998 Two Radiocarbon Dates from Göbekli Tepe, South
Eastern Turkey. Neo-Lithics 3/98: 8-9.
Pustovoytov K.
2002 14C Dating of Pedogenic Carbonate Coatings on Wall
Stones at Göbekli Tepe (Southeastern Turkey). Neo-
Lithics 2/02: 3-4.
2006 Soils and soil sediments at Göbekli Tepe, southeastern
Turkey: A preliminary report. Geoarchaeology 21. 7:
699-719.
Pustovoytov K. and Taubald H.
2003 Stable Carbon and Oxygen Isotope Composition
of Pedogenic Carbonate at Göbekli Tepe (Southeastern
Turkey) and its Potential for Reconstructing Late
Quaternary Paleoenviroments in Upper Mesopotamia.
Neo-Lithics 2/03: 25-32.
Pustovoytov K., Schmidt K., and Taubald H.
2007 Evidence for Holocene environmental changes in
the northern Fertile Crescent provided by pedogenic
carbonate coatings. Quaternary Research 67: 315-327.
Pustovoytov K., Schmidt K., and Parzinger H.
2007 Radiocarbon dating of thin pedogenic carbonate
laminae from Holocene archaeological sites. The
Holocene 17. 6: 835-843.
Schirmer W.
1990 Some aspects of building at the ‘aceramic-neolithic’
settlement of Çayönü Tepesi. World Archaeology 21. 3:
363-387.
Zazzo A. and Saliège J.-F.
2011 Radiocarbon dating of biological apatites: A review.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
310, 1-2: 5261.
temporaneous. Earliest radiocarbon dates stem from
Enclosure D, for which the relative sequence of cons-
truction (ca. mid-10th millennium calBC), usage, and
burial (late 10th millennium calBC) are documented.
The outer ring wall of Enclosure C could be younger
than Enclosure D. However, more data are needed to
conrm this interpretation. Finally, Enclosure A seems
younger than Enclosures C and D. With only eleven
radiocarbon dates, many questions remain. It is hoped
that the recent discovery of larger amounts of carbo-
nized material at Göbekli Tepe will soon provide us
with further dates and a much rmer grasp on the abso-
lute chronology of this unique site.
Acknowledgements: We thank Lee Clare for language
corrections and comments on the text.
Oliver Dietrich
oliver.dietrich@dainst.de (corresponding author)
Çiğdem Köksal-Schmidt
Jens Notroff
Klaus Schmidt
German Archaeological Insitute
Orient-Department
References
Dietrich O.
2011 Radiocarbon dating the rst temples of mankind.
Comments on 14C-Dates from Göbekli Tepe.
Zeitschrift für Orient-Archäologie 4: 12-25.
Dietrich O. and Schmidt K.
2010 A radiocarbon date from the wall plaster of
Enclosure D of Göbekli Tepe. Neo-Lithics 2/10: 82-83.
Dietrich O., Heun M., Notroff J., Schmidt K., and Zarnkow M.
2012 The role of cult and feasting in the emergence of
Neolithic communities. New evidence from Göbekli
Tepe, south-eastern Turkey. Antiquity 86, 333: 674-695.
New Publications
Neo-Lithics 1/13
46
forthcoming by Oxbow Books:
The Later Prehistory of the Badia.
Excavations and Surveys in Eastern
Jordan
by A.V.G. Betts and D. Cropper, L. Martin and
C. McCartney
with contributions by L. Cooke, A. Garrard,
W. and F. Lancaster, F. Matsaert, H. Pessin, D.
Reese, and G. Willcox
Levant Supplementary Series 11
Oxbow Books, Oxford and Oakville
Contents
Lists of gures, tables and plates
Abstract
Preface
Background and Methodology,
by A. Betts, L. Martin and C. McCartney
Late Neolithic Sites in the Harra, by A. Betts, L. Cooke, A.
Garrard, C. McCartney and D. Reese
Prehistoric Sites at Burqu’, by A. Betts, L. Martin, F. Mat-
saert and C. McCartney
Excavations at Mahfour al-Ruweishid, by A. Betts, C. Mc-
Cartney, H. Pessin and G. Willcox
Excavations at Tell al-Hibr, by A. Betts and L. Martin
Area Survey in the Hamad, by A. Betts, D. Cropper and W.
and F. Lancaster
The Eastern Badia, by A. Betts and D. Cropper
Bibliography
Index
From the volume’s abstract:
This is the second of two volumes to document extensive
surveys and excavations in the region from Al-Azraq to the
Iraqi border over the period 1979–1996. Broadly, it covers
the Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic of the eastern badia,
including surveys in the harra, excavations at a number of
sites at Burqu’ and extensive surveys of sites of all periods
in the eastern hamad. The rich prehistoric record preserved
in the east Jordanian badia was rst brought to the attention
of western scholars through casual discoveries by RAF pi-
lots ying along the old air route to Baghdad, and through
surveys carried out by Henry Field in the period from 1925
to 1950. The region then remained unstudied until the 1970s,
when Garrard and Stanley-Price undertook further survey
work in the Azraq Oasis. This was followed by the surveys
and excavations documented in this series.
published by ex oriente:
Neolithic Archaeology in the Khabur
Valley,
Upper Mesopotamia and Beyond
edited by
Yoshihiro Nishiaki, Kaoru Kashima and
Marc Verhoeven
Studies in Early Near Eastern Production,
Subsistence, and Environment 15, 2013.
13 contributions, 236 pages, 102 gs., 12 plates, 4
tables, paperback [ISBN 978-3-944178-01-1] (45 Euro)
Orders can be placed at www.exoriente.org/bookshop
Contents
Preface, by Y. Nishiaki, K. Kashima and M. Verhoeven
Introduction, by Y. Nishiaki
Habitat, economy and social territories in the Neolithic,
by F. Hole
Part 1 Prehistoric Environment of Upper Mesopotamia
Geological and geomorphological features of the upper drai-
nage areas of Euphrates and Tigris, by H. Yiğitbaşoğlu
Fluvial surfaces along the Khabur River near Tell Seker al-
Aheimar and their palaeoenvironmental implications, by T.
Oguchi, K. Hori, T. Watanuki, C.T. Oguchi, J. Komatsubara,
Y. Hayakawa and M.K. Jaiswal
Climatic events during the Neolithic in central Turkey and
northern Syria, by K. Kashima and K. Hirose
Part 2 Neolithic Archaeology of the Khabur Basin
PPNB int blade production at Tell Seker al-Aheimar, Upper
Khabur, Syria, by Y. Nishiaki
Gypsum plaster manufacturing in northeast Syria: An ethno-
graphic case study, by S. Kume
Neolithic pottery from the Khabur basin: A reassessment in
the light of recent discoveries, by M. Le Mière
The Proto-Hassuna culture in the Khabur headwaters: A wes-
tern neighbours view, by O. Nieuwenhuyse
Part 3 Neolithic Archaeology in Upper Mesopotamia and
Beyond
Outside the body, inside the mind: Interpreting Neolithic
landscapes of the Syrian Jezirah, by M. Verhoeven
Recent progress in the Neolithic investigations of the Anato-
lian Tigris Valley, by Y. Miyake
Another image of complexity: The case of Tell el-Kerkh, by
A. Tsuneki
Neolithic pottery in the northern Levant and its relations to
the east, by T. Odaka
The Jeziran Neolithic “market”, by S. Kozłowski
New Publications
Neo-Lithics 1/13
47
published by ex oriente:
Neolithisation of Northeastern Africa
edited by
Noriyuki Shirai
Studies in Early Near Eastern Production, Subsis-
tence, and Environment 16, 2013.
14 contributions, 256 pages, 62 gs., 15 tables, pa-
perback <ISBN 978-3-944178-02-8> (48 Euro)
Orders can be placed at www.exoriente.org/bookshop.
Contents
What makes the Neolithic in northeastern Africa? A new
debate over an old issue for eliminating neighbourly igno-
rance, by N. Shirai
An appraisal of the terms ‘Neolithic’ and ‘Neolithisation’
for use in North Africa in the 21st century, by A.B. Smith
Reconsidering the ‘Mesolithic’ and ‘Neolithic’ in Sudan, by
A.M. Sadig
Continuity, change and material memory: Taking a tempo-
ral perspective on the Neolithisation in Northeastern Africa,
by A. Dittrich
Early Holocene palaeoclimate in North Africa: An over-
view, by A. Zerboni
Why are there very few archaeological sites of the Early
Holocene in the Egyptian Nile Valley? Geological and geo-
morphological reasons, by M. Pawlikowski
Early stock keeping in northeastern Africa: Near Eastern
inuences and local developments, by V. Linseele
Modelling cereal selection in Neolithic Egypt: An evaluati-
on of economic criteria, by R.T.J. Cappers
Unraveling the prehistoric ancestry of the present-day inha-
bitants of Northeast Africa: An archaeogenetic approach to
Neolithisation, by A.C. Smith
Was a transition to food production homogeneous along the
circum-Mediterranean littoral? A perspective on Neolithiza-
tion research from the Libyan coast, by G. Lucarini
Whence the Neolithic of Northeastern Africa? Evidence
from the Central Western Desert of Egypt, by M.M.A. Mc-
Donald
Rock art in Egypt: Visual communication in the Eastern
Desert in the Early to Mid-Holocene, by R. Döhl
Was Neolithisation a struggle for existence and the survival
of the ttest, or merely the survival of the luckiest? A case
study of socioeconomic and cultural changes in Egypt in
the Early-Middle Holocene, by N. Shirai
Nile Valley-Levant interactions: An eclectic review, by
O. Bar-Yosef
The Neolithisation of Northeastern Africa: Reections on
knowns, unknowns, and unknown unknowns, by G. Barker
in press by ex oriente:
‘Ain Ghazal Excavation Reports 3:
Symbols at ‘Ain Ghazal,
edited by Denise Schmandt-Besserat
bibliotheca neolithica Asiae meridionalis et
occidentalis (2013)
&
Yarmouk University, Monograph of the Faculty of
Archaeology and Anthropology (2013)
13 contributions, XVI + 368 pages, 139 gures (including 5
colour illustrations), 38 plates, 3 tables. hardcover
[ISBN 978-3-944178-03-5] (114 Euro)
Orders can be placed at www.exoriente.org/bookshop
Contents
Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION
G.O. Rollefson and Z.A. Kafa The Town of ‘Ain Ghazal
Chapter 2. TOKENS
2.1 H. Iceland Token Finds at Pre-Pottery Neolithic ‘Ain
Ghazal. A Formal and Technological Analysis
2.2 D. Schmandt-Besserat Tokens and Writing: The Cogni-
tive Development
Chapter 3. ANIMAL FIGURINES
D. Schmandt-Besserat Animal Figurines
Chapter 4. HUMAN FIGURINES
D. Schmandt-Besserat The Human Clay Figurines and
Ancient Near Eastern Magic
Chapter 5. STONE STATUETTE
D. Schmandt-Besserat A Stone Metaphor of Creation
Chapter 6. MODELED AND DECORATED HUMAN
SKULLS
6.1 C.A. Grissom and Patricia S. Grifn Three Plaster Faces
6.2 D. Schmandt-Besserat The Plastered Skulls
Chapter 7. THE STATUARY
7.1 C.A. Grissom Statue Cache 2
7.2 D. Schmandt-Besserat ‘Ain Ghazal “Monumental”
Figures: A Stylistic Analysis
Chapter 8. PAINTINGS
D. Schmandt-Besserat Murals and Floor Paintings at ‘Ain
Ghazal
Chapter 9. STANDING STONES
Z.A. Kafa Standing Stones of the Neolithic Village of
‘Ain Ghazal
Chapter 10. CONCLUSION
D. Schmandt-Besserat Neolithic Symbolism at ‘Ain Ghazal
... 2015;Schmidt 2012), but much speaks in favor of the structures having been partly subterranean with entrances through the roofs (Kurapkat 2012(Kurapkat , 2015. During excavations, these structures were identified as belonging to an older layer (III) of site occupation (Schmidt 2000(Schmidt , 2011(Schmidt , 2012 dated to the PPNA (O. Dietrich 2011;O. Dietrich et. al. 2013;Pustovoytov 2006). ...
... cation of sediments. It is still not entirely clear where the material for the refilling originated from. There is one radiocarbon sample of collagen from an animal tooth from the deepest layer (FIGURE 2.2, layer 6) inside building D (KIA-44701, 9800 ±120 14C-BP), resulting in a calibrated age between 9746-8818 cal BC at the 95.4% confidence level (O. Dietrich et. al. 2013). This date has a time-span which is in concordance with an earlier measurement made on clay mortar from the ring wall between Pillars 41 and 42 (KIA-44149, 9984 ± 42 14C-BP, 9745-9314 calBC at the 95.4% confidence level) (O. Dietrich et. al. 2013), attesting that PPNA materials were part of the sediments used to repair and backfill the ...
... 120 14C-BP), resulting in a calibrated age between 9746-8818 cal BC at the 95.4% confidence level (O. Dietrich et. al. 2013). This date has a time-span which is in concordance with an earlier measurement made on clay mortar from the ring wall between Pillars 41 and 42 (KIA-44149, 9984 ± 42 14C-BP, 9745-9314 calBC at the 95.4% confidence level) (O. Dietrich et. al. 2013), attesting that PPNA materials were part of the sediments used to repair and backfill the building. The block of probably intentional backfill is followed by bands of sloped rubble layers, which indicate slips of sediment from higher-lying parts of the mound into the lower-lying buildings as a factor in the final sealing of the building ...
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... At Göbekli Tepe depictions of arthropods were until now only found in Building D, the oldest of the excavated probable cult buildings so far. It was radiocarbon-dated to the middle of the tenth millennium BC (Dietrich et al. 2013). Possible insect depictions are found on three pillars: Pillar 21, Pillar 33, and Pillar 43 (Figure 3.1.2). ...
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Southwest Asia is at the epicenter of zooarchaeological research on pivotal changes in human history such as animal domestication and the emergence of social complexity. This volume continues the long tradition of the ASWA conference series in publishing new research results in the zooarchaeology of southwest Asia and adjacent areas. The book is organized in three thematic areas. The first presents new methodological tools and approaches in the study of animal remains exemplified through studies on domestication, butchery practices, microdebris, intrasite contextual comparisons and age-at-death recording. Besides offering interesting insights into our past, these methodological developments enable higher resolution for future research. The second section focuses on the subsistence economies of prehistoric and early complex societies and provides new insights into how animal management developed in southwest Asia. The third section includes intriguing new research results on the roles of animals in the symbolic world of ancient societies, such as the meaning of insect figures at Göbekli Tepe, animal cults in Egypt, feasting in Iron Age Oman, and the ornithological interpretation of Byzantine mosaics.
... At Göbekli Tepe depictions of arthropods were until now only found in Building D, the oldest of the excavated probable cult buildings so far. It was radiocarbon-dated to the middle of the tenth millennium BC (Dietrich et al. 2013). Possible insect depictions are found on three pillars: Pillar 21, Pillar 33, and Pillar 43 (Figure 3.1.2). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Göbekli Tepe is well-known for its monumental buildings with anthropomorphic T-shaped pillars, decorated with reliefs of wild animals which have been featured prominently in earlier works. The abandonment which occurred some 1500 years after the initial occupation of the site, however, remains virtually unexplored. This paper attempts to reconstruct abandonment practices and routines within and parallel to phases of occupation. A crucial source of data for the abandonment of Göbekli Tepe is provided by considerations relating to site formation, including the topography of the site with its mounds, steep slopes, and hollows where strong winter rainfalls potentially favoured erosional processes. I clearly oppose the widespread yet outdated interpretation of ‘ritual backfilling’ of the monumental buildings. Instead, I propose that the inhabitants of the Neolithic settlement were strongly intertwined with their landscape and built environment, which is reflected by the continuous rebuilding of structures as a response to slope slide events, the use of ruins for extracting recycled building material, and the creation of memory spaces by following a specific habitus. I argue that by applying microarchaeological approaches and the social sphere of ‘detachment from place’ the heterogeneity of settlement layout can be reconstructed by including the engagement of ancient people with ruins, abandonment, and memory. In: Christian W. Hess and Federico Manuelli (eds.) Bridging the Gap: Disciplines, Times, and Spaces in Dialogue Vol. 1. Sessions 1, 2, and 5 from the Conference Broadening Horizons 6 held at the Freie Universität Berlin, 24–28 June 2019, p. 212–239. Oxford: Archaeopress Access Archaeology. Open Access full volume: https://www.archaeopress.com/ArchaeopressShop/Public/displayProductDetail.asp?id={2BAEAD08-B78C-4945-A482-66588CEDED48}
Article
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The last 25 years witnessed an unprecedented increase in the theoretical and empirical research on the southeast Anatolian Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) period, focusing on cult buildings and ritual symbolism. The cult structures, pillars, and relief motifs, which became the center of research in the region with the discovery of Nevali Çori and Göbeklitepe, engendered novel theoretical discussions within the archaeology of religion. The main subject of this study is the evaluation of the stone pillars—which became a tradition in the PPN period—in terms of their archaeological contexts. This paper discusses the pillars and details and depictions etched on them, while compiling numerical data on their assessed features. All the stone pillars unearthed so far in archaeological excavations and surveys have been re-evaluated and reinterpreted from a holistic approach by considering the archaeological contexts as well as their structural features and relief depictions. Stone pillars provide ample information on the symbolism and ritual practices of the communities when assessed with their archaeological contexts and symbolic features as a whole. The stone pillars identified in the Euphrates and Tigris regions represent two different traditions in terms of form, size, and depiction, which indicate that these two regions need to be viewed as two unique and separate yet connected entities. This difference is an indication of unique symbolic and ritual practices that refer to distinct ideological worlds. However, in both regions, the cult and special buildings were mostly located in a specially selected area of the settlements, separate from the domestic features and architecture. In addition, the practice of constant construction and re-construction, the secondary use of pillars as architectural elements, and the subsequent burial of buildings when their use-life was completed are common characteristics observed in both regions. Masculine and wild faunal symbols typically characterize the pillars from the Euphrates Basin sites. The gradual shrinkage of pillar size and their subsequent disappearance at the Euphrates Basin sites may suggest that ideological and economical transformations were underway in Neolithic society. Keywords: Southeast Anatolia, Pre-Pottery Neolithic Period, Pillar Tradition, Cult Buildings, Göbeklitepe
Article
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The paper elaborates on points raised on a previous paper by this author titled “Carbon-14 evidence and Neolithic sites: dating the Architectures of Boncuklu Tarla and Gobekli Tepe”. It also discusses and analyzes some more recent carbon-14 related evidence from Gobekli Tepe published by a team of archeologists associated with the excavation there.
Chapter
From the mid‐nineteenth century, each generation of antiquaries and archaeologists has examined the subject of agricultural origins anew, and they have been gradually joined by scholars in many other disciplines: botanists, zoologists, geneticists, chemists, demographers, and linguists among them. As a critical human transition requiring explanation, earliest agriculture has also become something of a battleground in the contest of ideas over proper forms of explanation in the social sciences. Some archaeologists have focused attention on internal, societal, and ideational factors as causes, and others on external factors such as climate change and population pressure as reasons for the agricultural transition. In order to judge the emergence of agriculture as a global phenomenon, it is necessary to compare the evidence from many regions and continents. The accumulation of palaeoenvironmental and archaeological field data, and broadening ethnographic perceptions on hunter‐gatherer food procurement strategies gradually overturned and outdated all of the precepts of the Oasis Theory.
Article
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Along with the emergence of sedentary life, the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) settlements brought revolutionary changes in production of material cultures as well as cultic and ritual activities, which are often argued to be associated with new waves of interactions between humans and their natural world. Körtiktepe of southeastern Turkey yielded by far the richest PPN assemblage in the world, standing among the very few earliest cultural and production centers which acted to be the predecessors of the development and spread of the Neolithic in West Asia. In this paper, we report a heart-shaped bone artifact which is one of the rarest finds in the extremely large cultural assemblage of Körtiktepe. The manufacture features indicate that the “heart-like” shape of this unique artifact was the product of intentional human activity. Overall archaeological context indicates its probable use as a bone pendant or amulet for the dead; providing the fact of its association with three early PPNA burials, many other ritual objects, and a large number of grave goods. Although difficult to argue for its association with the sense for “emotion”, “affection” or “love” in the present world, it is still significant that the unique specimen traces the symbolic presence and ritual use of the shape of a “heart” in West Asian prehistoric context back to the Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic of around 10000 cal BC.
Article
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Göbekli Tepe in southeastern Turkey has delivered the oldest examples of religious monumental architecture so far known, dated by archaeological methods to 9600-8000 BC. At the end of its uselife, the megalithic enclosures of Göbekli Tepe were refilled systematically. This special element of the site formation process makes it hard to date the enclosures by the radiocarbon method, as there is no clear correlation of the fill with the architecture. Several ways have been explored to overcome this situation, including the dating of carbonate laminae on architectural structures, of bones and the remains of short-lived plants from the filling. The data obtained from pedogenic carbonates on architectural structures back the relative stratigraphic sequence observed during the excavation. But, unfortunately, they are of no use in dating the sampled structures themselves, as the carbonate layers started forming only after the moment of their burial. At least these samples offer a good terminus ante quem for the refilling of the enclosures. For layer III this terminus ante quem lies in the second half of the 9th millennium calBC, while for layer II it is located in the middle of the 8th millennium calBC. The data obtained from bones discovered in the filling and layers are at least partially biased by methodological problems. At least within the group of samples chosen, collagen conservation is poor and isotopic exchange processes with carbon rich surface and ground waters may cause alterations in the carbonate contents of bones that lead to problems with the dating of apatite fractions. Nonetheless, the data could hint at last refilling activities in the big enclosures of layer III in the middle and later 9th millennium calBC. Charcoal samples from short-lived plants could give a good hint at the beginning of the refilling and “burial” of the big enclosures in the late 10th and early 9th millennium calBC, but they could also simply indicate the use of older fill material. The last intrusions in the big enclosures can be dated by a charcoal sample taken from under a fallen pillar fragment in Enclosure A to the middle of the 9th millennium. The analysis of this type of sample, which is available in considerable amounts from recent excavation work at Göbekli Tepe, will be pursued preferentially in the future. Also further analysis should show, whether poor conservation of collagen is a general problem at the site and the extent to which the apatite dates can be taken into consideration.
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Pustovoytov, 2003; Amoroso, 2006). Although of these three methods radiocarbon dating provided the majority of numerical data, the validity of 14 C ages of soil carbonates remains poorly known. In this paper we present a comparison of radiocar-bon dates from pedogenic carbonate coatings on clasts with the ages of related archaeological sites, which suggests that pedogenic carbonate can be accurately dated with 14 C. 14 C dating of pedogenic carbonate: uncertainties and the study goal Pedogenic carbonate forms in equilibrium with soil CO 2 in terms of carbon isotopes (Cerling, 1984; Cerling et al., 1989). In the-ory this implies that the 14 C content in inorganic carbon of sec-ondary carbonate accumulations in soils should approximate the atmospheric 14 CO 2 level at the time of the secondary carbonate formation, and therefore be a substrate suitable for radiocarbon dating (Amundson et al., 1994). However, in practice this assumption is difficult to directly verify because of several potential problems. (1) The 14 C content at the moment carbonate crystallizes in a soil may be lower than that in the atmosphere and result in radio-carbon ages that are too old. Before the late 1980s this had been attributed to the 'limestone-dilution effect' (Williams and
Article
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Göbekli Tepe is one of the most important archaeological discoveries of modern times, pushing back the origins of monumentality beyond the emergence of agriculture. We are pleased to present a summary of work in progress by the excavators of this remarkable site and their latest thoughts about its role and meaning. At the dawn of the Neolithic, hunter-gatherers congregating at Göbekli Tepe created social and ideological cohesion through the carving of decorated pillars, dancing, feasting - and, almost certainly, the drinking of beer made from fermented wild crops.
Article
Since the early trials in the 50's, the reliability of 14C dates obtained from bioapatites has always been questioned. However, methodological attempts at dating biological apatites are rare. The compilation of the radiocarbon dates published in Radiocarbon over the period 1959–2009 shows that less than 6% of all the bone dates were performed on purified bioapatite. Crucial for the validation of the approach, is the design of tests for the preservation of the geochemical signal in biological apatites that are relevant for 14C dating. Because carbonate in apatite can exchange isotopically with dissolved carbon present in the environmental fluids, pretreatments are necessary but not sufficient and preservation criteria based on mineral integrity are of limited help. In this case, only an indirect approach, based on the dating of different bone/tooth fractions of the same individual and/or associated material is able to distinguish between preserved and altered fossils. In case of alteration, it is unlikely that the rate of isotopic exchange/recrystallization will be identical in skeletal tissues with different physico-chemical properties and any intra-individual difference measured in 14C age must result from differential diagenesis. We applied this strategy to more than 100 Holocene and Late Pleistocene localities worldwide. This approach confirms that carbonate in calcined bone is very resistant to post-burial isotopic exchange and is the most reliable source of inorganic carbon for 14C dating regardless of the environmental conditions. Large intra-individual differences in 14C age are found in several European and American localities, showing that both bone and enamel apatite can suffer from rejuvenation due to isotopic exchange during fossilization. On the contrary, the absence of significant intra-individual differences in 14C age in most of the localities from arid environments (Africa, Arabic Peninsula) attests to the good preservation of bone apatite in these regions. This contrasting situation confirms that bone diagenesis must be treated on a site-by-site basis, and demonstrates that bioapatite is a reliable material to date skeletal remains in arid environments.
Article
Holocene environmental changes in the northern Fertile Crescent remain poorly understood because of the scarcity of local proxy records in the region. In this study we investigated pedogenic (soil-formed) carbonate coatings on stones at the Pre-Pottery Neolithic site Göbekli Tepe as an indicator of local early-mid Holocene environmental changes. The 14 C ages and stable isotopic composition of carbon and oxygen in thin (0.2–0.3 mm thick) pedogenic carbonate lamina indicate two main periods of coating formation: the early-Holocene (ca. 10000–6000 cal yr BP) and the mid-Holocene (ca. 6000–4000 cal yr BP). During the first period, there was an inverse relationship between δ 13 C and δ 18 O curves: a decrease in δ 13 C values coincide with an increase in δ 18 O values. For this period a trend towards higher temperatures is suggested. In the mid-Holocene, the mean rate of coating growth was 2–3 times higher than in the early Holocene. Both δ 13 C and δ 18 O reached their maximum values during this time and the direction of changes of the δ 13 C and δ 18 O curves became similar. The combination of data suggests that this period was the most humid in the Holocene and on average warmer than the early Holocene. At ca. 4000 cal yr BP secondary accumulation of carbonate ceased, presumably reflecting a shift to a more arid climate.
Article
Excavations at Çayönü Tepesi in southeastern Turkey have taken place since 1964. The main phase of occupation belongs to the aceramic neolithic and is dated between about 7250 and 6750 be. The architecture of the site ‐ the long sequence of building types as well as the outstanding special buildings ‐ is of considerable importance, since we know of no other site from such an early period that yields as much architectural information, concerning both the invention of building techniques and the shift from constructional into decorative features.
13 contributions, XVI + 368 pages, 139 figures (including 5 colour illustrations), 38 plates, 3 tables. hardcover [ISBN 978-3-944178-03-5] (114 Euro) Orders can be placed at www.exoriente.org/bookshop Contents Chapter
Yarmouk University, Monograph of the Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology (2013) 13 contributions, XVI + 368 pages, 139 figures (including 5 colour illustrations), 38 plates, 3 tables. hardcover [ISBN 978-3-944178-03-5] (114 Euro) Orders can be placed at www.exoriente.org/bookshop Contents Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION G.O. Rollefson and Z.A. Kafafi The Town of 'Ain Ghazal Chapter 2. TOKENS
Dating of Pedogenic Carbonate Coatings on Wall Stones at Göbekli Tepe (Southeastern Turkey) NeoLithics 2/02: 3-4. 2006 Soils and soil sediments at Göbekli Tepe, southeastern Turkey: A preliminary report
  • K Pustovoytov
Pustovoytov K. 2002 14C Dating of Pedogenic Carbonate Coatings on Wall Stones at Göbekli Tepe (Southeastern Turkey). NeoLithics 2/02: 3-4. 2006 Soils and soil sediments at Göbekli Tepe, southeastern Turkey: A preliminary report. Geoarchaeology 21. 7: 699-719.
Monumental" Figures: A Stylistic Analysis Chapter 8. PAINTINGS D. Schmandt-Besserat Murals and Floor Paintings at 'Ain Ghazal Chapter 9
  • D Schmandt-Besserat 'ain
  • Ghazal
D. Schmandt-Besserat 'Ain Ghazal "Monumental" Figures: A Stylistic Analysis Chapter 8. PAINTINGS D. Schmandt-Besserat Murals and Floor Paintings at 'Ain Ghazal Chapter 9. STANDING STONES Z.A. Kafafi Standing Stones of the Neolithic Village of 'Ain Ghazal Chapter 10. CONCLUSION D. Schmandt-Besserat Neolithic Symbolism at 'Ain Ghazal