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Home is where we keep our food: The origins of agriculture and Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic food storage

Authors:
Paléorient
Home is where we keep our food: The origins of agriculture and
Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic food storage
Ian Kuijt
Citer ce document / Cite this document :
Kuijt Ian. Home is where we keep our food: The origins of agriculture and Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic food storage . In:
Paléorient, 2011, vol. 37, n°1. Néolithisations : nouvelles données, nouvelles interprétations. À propos du modèle
théorique de Jacques Cauvin. pp. 137-152;
doi : 10.3406/paleo.2011.5444
http://www.persee.fr/doc/paleo_0153-9345_2011_num_37_1_5444
Document généré le 20/06/2016
Résumé
Les archéologues ont longtemps considéré que le développement du système de stockage
constituait une étape majeure dans le processus socio-économique de néolithisation, contribuant
à la domestication des plantes, à des modes de vie sédentaires allant en s’accroissant et à une
nouvelle organisation sociale. Dans le même temps notre compréhension du matériel associé au
stockage des aliments est restée peu développée et dans de nombreux cas les archéologues ont
eu de grandes difficultés à quantifier de façon significative l’importance du stockage de nourriture
à travers le temps. Cette difficulté est sans aucun doute liée en partie à l’absence de visibilité de
certaines formes de stockage au sein des villages néolithiques, avec pour résultat probable une
connaissance médiocre des pratiques de stockage au Néolithique. Dans cette étude, je commente
une série de données relatives au stockage alimentaire, à partir surtout des découvertes du Sud
levantin, à la fi n du PPNB. Dans une perspective alternative, les bâtiments circulaires de ‘ Ain
Ghazal, souvent interprétés comme des témoignages de pratiques rituelles, ont pu en réalité avoir
servi à la préparation et au stockage des aliments.
Abstract
For many years archaeologists have understood that the development of storage systems is a
major step in the social and economic process of Neolithisation, contributing to plant
domestication, increasingly sedentary lifestyles, and new social organizations. At the same time
our understanding of the material correlates of food storage remains underdeveloped, and in many
cases archaeologists have struggled to meaningfully quantify the scale of food storage through
time. Part of this challenge unquestionably is linked to the lack of visibility of some forms of plant
food storage within Neolithic villages. This has probably resulted in an under recognition of
Neolithic storage practices. Drawing on evidence from the Southern Levant, in this paper I discuss
select evidence for food storage during the Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period. Adopting an
alternative perspective on the Circular Buildings from ‘ Ain Ghazal, I explore the view that these
features, often identifi ed as evidence for ritual practices, may have actually been used for food
preparation or storage.
Paléorient, vol. 37.1, p. 137-152 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2011 Manuscrit reçu le 31 mars 2011, accepté le 10 mai 2011
HOME IS WHERE WE KEEP OUR FOOD:
THE ORIGINS OF AGRICULTURE AND LATE
PRE-POTTERY NEOLITHIC FOOD STORAGE
I. KUIJT
Abstract: For many years archaeologists have understood that the development of storage systems is a major step in the social
and economic process of Neolithisation, contributing to plant domestication, increasingly sedentary lifestyles, and new social
organizations. At the same time our understanding of the material correlates of food storage remains underdeveloped, and in
many cases archaeologists have struggled to meaningfully quantify the scale of food storage through time. Part of this challenge
unquestionably is linked to the lack of visibility of some forms of plant food storage within Neolithic villages. This has probably
resulted in an under recognition of Neolithic storage practices. Drawing on evidence from the Southern Levant, in this paper I discuss
select evidence for food storage during the Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period. Adopting an alternative perspective on the Circular
Buildings from ‘Ain Ghazal, I explore the view that these features, often identifi ed as evidence for ritual practices, may have actually
been used for food preparation or storage.
Résumé : Les archéologues ont longtemps considéré que le développement du système de stockage constituait une étape majeure dans
le processus socio-économique de néolithisation, contribuant à la domestication des plantes, à des modes de vie sédentaires allant
en s’accroissant et à une nouvelle organisation sociale. Dans le même temps notre compréhension du matériel associé au stockage
des aliments est restée peu développée et dans de nombreux cas les archéologues ont eu de grandes diffi cultés à quantifi er de façon
signifi cative l’importance du stockage de nourriture à travers le temps. Cette dif culté est sans aucun doute liée en partie à l’absence
de visibilité de certaines formes de stockage au sein des villages néolithiques, avec pour résultat probable une connaissance médiocre
des pratiques de stockage au Néolithique. Dans cette étude, je commente une série de données relatives au stockage alimentaire, à
partir surtout des découvertes du Sud levantin, à la fi n du PPNB. Dans une perspective alternative, les bâtiments circulaires de ‘Ain
Ghazal, souvent interprétés comme des témoignages de pratiques rituelles, ont pu en réalité avoir servi à la préparation et au stockage
des aliments.
Keywords: Food storage; Archaeological visibility; Social organization.
Mots-clés : Stockage de la nourriture ; Visibilité archéologique ; Organisation sociale.
INTRODUCTION
As part of a multi-researcher discussion of The Birth of the
Gods and the Origins of Agriculture Ofer Bar-Yosef stated,
“In sum, it is an impossible task to discuss the whole range
and richness and diversity of comments and interpretations
offered by Jacques Cauvin”.1 While the publication of The
1. BAR-YOSEF, 2001: 117.
Birth of the Gods and the Origins of Agriculture represents
the most high-profi le, innovative and controversial of Cauvin’s
research, in many ways it has come to overshadow the contri-
butions that Cauvin made as a long-time fi eld archaeologist
who both refl ected upon the broader mechanism behind the
Neolithic Revolution, the Neolithic material world, and the
outcomes of Neolithisation. At his broadest, he wrote about the
engines of change driving the social and economic processes
of Neolithisation. Now ten years since his passing, I come back
to Bar-Yosef’s comments about the work of Cauvin, and fi nd
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138 I. KUIJT
Paléorient, vol. 37.1, p. 137-152 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2011
it very diffi cult to write about just one small dimension of his
ideas, work and legacy, as his research transcended experien-
tial replicated research, exhaustive descriptive treatments of a
range of material culture, and of course, his broad overview of
the Neolithic Revolution.
Recently I have become very interested in turning around
some of Cauvin’s ideas, and rather than focusing on the initial
engines of change, the ideas and causes if you will, I have tried
to explore some of the outcomes, both materialist and social, of
the Neolithic Revolution. So, if I am to restrict myself to a sin-
gle argument, a single theme that intersects with the research
interests of Cauvin, then it will be the following: archaeolo-
gists are only now starting to understand the economic, social,
and ritual impact of food storage as part of the Neolithic revo-
lution. This is, of course, an easy argument to make, so let me
narrow this down further: while we have long identi ed the
importance of food storage, and at times its material corre-
lates, archaeologists have struggled to meaningfully quantify
the scale of food storage, and in the case of the Late Pre-Pot-
tery Neolithic B, we may be underestimating the magnitude of
food storage within these villages.
This paper is based upon the following assumption: the
social and economic changes of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic were
interconnected with shifting food storage practices. Elsewhere2
I have explored some of the interconnections between Neolithic
demography and food storage, and with Bill Finlayson
3 we
looked at food storage within early pre-agricultural villages.
My aim in this paper is not to revisit previous research explor-
ing the signifi cance of food storage among hunter-gatherers
and foragers4 or present a chronological overview of chang-
ing storage practices through the Neolithic.5 Nor is this essay
viewed as being a comprehensive treatment, either geographi-
cally or temporarily, of food storage. Rather, in this paper I
want to think further about food storage in the later stages of
the Neolithic narrative, not as a driver of domestication but as
a byproduct of economic and social changes in the Late Pre-
Pottery Neolithic B period (LPPNB). In the space available I
want to think about the materiality and visibility of food stor-
age and the current archaeological evidence for food storage in
the LPPNB. As part of this I want to revisit the interpretation
that LPPNB Circular Buildings at ‘Ain Ghazal were used as
ritual structure, and instead suggest that these structures may
in fact have existed for food storage or perpetration.
2. KUIJT, 2008.
3. KUIJT and FINLAYSON, 2009.
4. TESTART, 1989.
5. See KUIJT, 2008.
THINKING ABOUT NEOLITHIC
FOOD STORAGE
To understand the Neolithic Revolution we need to envi-
sion food production as a long-term human process that centers
on the control and management of cycles of plant reproduction,
including the harvesting, storage and planting of seed stock.
Drawing upon a growing body of literature illustrating multiple
trajectories and pathways to agriculture, I see domestication as
developing through co-evolution between human beings and
the resources they exploited. To gain a more detailed under-
standing of the processes and pathways of the Neolithic Revo-
lution requires us to disentangle a complex knot of different
yet interrelated factors including technological developments,
environmental background, new social practices and the
development of food storage. Over the last few years several
researchers6 have directed renewed attention to understand-
ing the social context of food systems, and the possible links
between the control and storage of food and the scale and orga-
nization within communities. In brief, evidence from the Near
East indicates that while the use of storage practices increased
dramatically through the Neolithic sequence, it is equally
important for us to consider who had access to stored foods,
how such commodities were, or were not, viewed as forms of
property, and foundational questions of the archaeological vis-
ibility of foods storage.
Articulating the interrelationships between food storage,
economic decision-making, and community organization rep-
resents one of the greatest challenges that anthropologists face
in understanding the global emergence of social differentia-
tion and middle-range societies. Control of food represents one
of, if not the, most important physical and observable founda-
tion for increasing economic and political social differentia-
tion. The ability to manipulate the availability of food, both
wild and domestic, and to regularly overcome the seasonal
schedule of availability, through good years and bad, is a criti-
cal foundation for the emergence of social differentiation in
middle-range communities. In many geographical and tem-
poral contexts, food storage precedes plant domestication as
well as the appearance of status differences. Storage does not
automatically result in a food surplus, but a food surplus is
a central condition for social differentiation. From this per-
spective domestication and the development of a food surplus
are foundational adaptations for later development of status
6. See BOGGARD et al., 2009; FAIRBAIN et al., 2007; FLANNERY, 2002;
KUIJT, 2008; TWISS, 2008; WRIGHT, 2000.
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Home is where we keep our food: The origins of agriculture and late pre-pottery Neolithic food storage 139
Paléorient, vol. 37.1, p. 137-152 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2011
inequalities. The invention of food storage technology and the
renegotiation of social, economic and political arrangements
around storage practices are the fi rst step in the transition to
more complex, segmented communities. While anthropolo-
gists recognize the evolutionary importance of the transition
from more egalitarian to hierarchical social systems, we still
lack a comprehensive understanding of the diverse pathways of
how food storage and surplus lead to social differentiation in
middle-range societies.
Over the last ten years researchers have made signifi cant
advances in our understanding of community organization and
ritual within Neolithic communities. They have spent consid-
erable time exploring the timing of morphological changes
in seeds, and we are collectively developing a more refi ned
understanding of the long-term evolutionary trajectory from
foraging to cultivation to farming, and with lots of potential
moments in between these idealized social and economic
types. At the same time, we continue to have a poor under-
standing of food systems, as both a symbolic and practical
dimension of Neolithic social change. While there are notable
exceptions7 we have only the most coarse- grained understand-
ing of the location of food consumption within Neolithic set-
tlements, feasting, food as property, food preparation (such as
drying and smoking), and food storage of different types. It is
not that one has been neglected for the other; rather I would
argue that while our understanding of ritual and symbolism
has been advanced as an agenda, our understanding of food
systems beyond the morphological and temporal changes of
different taxa has lagged behind. In this paper I want to try and
ll in this gap, and to think about the visibility and evidence
for food storage.
CONSIDERING ARCHAEOLOGICAL
VISIBILITY AND INVISIBILITY OF LATE
PRE-POTTERY NEOLITHIC FOOD STORAGE
Before considering the available data on Neolithic food
storage, it is necessary to briefl y refl ect upon the materiality
of food storage, and to explore the methodological challenges
in reconstructing food storage. The reconstruction of past food
storage through archaeological data is a highly complex chal-
lenge, and given that it deals with materials that do not always
preserve well in the archeological record, it is important to rec-
7. See BOGGARD et al., 2009; FAIRBAIN et al., 2007; FLANNERY, 2002;
FULLER et al. 2010; KUIJT, 2008; TWISS, 2008; WRIGHT, 2000.
ognize that our understanding will always be incomplete. As
researchers, we are limited by the data that are preserved. In
some archaeological sites preservation of food storage is likely
to be remarkably poor, and it is therefore necessary to pay
greater attention to those case studies that are better preserved.
The assumption that most sites shared similar storage tech-
nologies and practices is diffi cult to assess. Most likely, there
were differences in practices through time, and as pointed out
by researchers8 these differ in terms of their ethnographic and
archaeological visibility.
Needless to say, not all food storage can be identifi ed in
the archaeological record. Ethnographic accounts of hunter-
gatherers and farmers illustrate a wide-range of storage prac-
tices. Many have no material manifestation in the long-term,
and as such, are largely untraceable even with the most sensi-
tive and sophisticated archaeological research. Some storage,
as expressed through architectural rather than paleobotanical
remains, may have been focused on general storage of goods
rather than food. Thus, depending upon specifi c case studies,
as researchers we are likely to be missing signifi cant aspects of
food storage practices.
There are a number of challenges that researchers face
when reconstructing prehistoric food storage. First, research-
ers must determine which archaeological data, such as small
rooms or features, are physical manifestations of storage rather
than representing some other behavior. While it is possible to
draw upon ethnographic or ethnoarchaeological data, at some
level this requires a judgment by the researcher and a series of
inbuilt assumptions, including that if we see x types of food
storage in y type of feature then similar food storage might
be occurring in other y features where no food remains were
recovered. Second, it is necessary for researchers to determine
if these spaces were used for some type of food storage, or
more likely, a range of food and non-food storage practices. In
some cases there is direct evidence available, such as burned
grain or beans found in the rooms, that help us identify the
presence of food storage. But in many, if not most, cases the
determination of food storage is based on circumstantial evi-
dence. This is particularly true with when addressing the pos-
sible interconnections between architecture, space and food
storage. Third, and perhaps most complex, researchers need
to determine if the scale of food storage actually refl ects a
food surplus beyond the yearly needs of a specifi c scale social
group, such as the household or village. Such analysis takes
researchers beyond the level of identifying individual features,
and challenges them to refl ect upon the number of features for
8. DAV I D and KRAMER, 2001; KENT, 1999.
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140 I. KUIJT
Paléorient, vol. 37.1, p. 137-152 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2011
the entire village, how this helps us estimate population levels,
and how much food was available at the household.
While recognizing the need for a detailed exploration of
the materiality of Neolithic food storage, in this paper I am
going to adopt a fairly fl exible position as to what represents
potential storage space. I am going to assume that if there is
archaeological evidence for carbonized food resources from
one site, in a particular type of feature or room, then features
/ rooms of the same type at the same or other sites, have the
potential to also be used for food storage. For example, ethno-
graphic studies have illustrated that roofs are often used for
food processing, drying plants, and short-term (less than six
months) storage. At the moment, however, the lack of archaeo-
logical evidence makes this impossible to confi dently explore
with archaeological data. In cases where there is no preserved
paleobotanical remains and direct evidence, I develop cir-
cumstantial arguments by considering other possible alterna-
tive uses for space. This is most important when considering
the possible use of specifi c rooms in the LPPNB that are very
small (generally less than 1.5 by 1.5m) that have a half-door
entrance, no windows, and are located in spatially controlled
areas of the building. Again, I am focused on assessing the
potential space for food storage, and then comparing this to
the patterning seen with other archaeological data sets and the
expectations of emerging social inequality with the develop-
ment of domesticated plants and animals.
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT DURING
THE LATE PRE-POTTERY NEOLITHIC B
PERIOD
Food storage is a vital component in the economic and
social package that comprises the Neolithic, contributing to
plant domestication, increasingly sedentary lifestyles, and new
social organizations. Research at several PPNA sites provides
evidence for the appearance of large settlements, with build-
ings that required signi cant energy investment, and drasti-
cally expanded development of food storage compared to the
Early and Late Natufi an periods and increased manipulation
of plant food sources. Excavations at Dhra, Gilgal I, Netiv
Hagdud, and WF 16, illustrate that at the end of the Younger
Dryas climatic period, for the fi rst time people started to live in
larger communities. This is echoed by additional architectural
data from Çayönu and Nevalı Çori.
Archaeological data from Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
period settlements allows researchers to develop a preliminary
understanding of, and how food storage fi ts within a broader
developmental framework.9 In brief, there are clear indications
that through the LPPNB we see how:
a) access to storage space becomes more restricted;
b) that there was a general shift from extra to intra-mural
storage;
c) by the LPPNB storage technology eventually involved
the creation of dedicated storage rooms;
d) there is a signifi cant increase in the scale of potential
storage space through the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (Tables 1
and 2).
Several LPPNB settlements have been excavated in rela-
tively broad horizontal areas, and as a result, archaeologists are
quickly developing an understanding as to the nature of settle-
ment organization at different sites in the Near East. At Beisa-
moun and Abu Gosh, for example, buildings are freestanding
with the spacing of structures creating alleyways and distinct
areas between buildings. In contrast, at the LPPNB settlements
east of the Jordan River, such as Basta, ‘Ain Ghazal, Es-Sifi ya,
Ain el-Jammam, El-Hemmeh, and Khirbet Hammam, build-
ings are usually built next to other structures, resulting in areas
with remarkably high architectural density (fi g. 1). It is not
clear if this refl ects a greater density of human occupation or if
it is actually a by-product of more elaborate architecture.
To understand food storage in the LPPNB we need to
briefl y step back and think about residential architecture. As
with the preceding MPPNB period, residential architecture in
LPPNB settlements is generally characterized by rectangular
or sub-rectangular buildings with plastered fl oors and walls.10
In regions of the southern Levant where large stone mate-
rial was not readily available, buildings were constructed of
unfi red mud-brick. At settlements where angular or fl at stones
were available, residential structures were quite elaborate,
and in several cases included the development of true second
story architecture. At Basta, Ba’Ja, and Es-Sifi ya, for example,
excavations have uncovered evidence of two story buildings
with prepared stairways and stone platforms to support roof
beams.11 In some cases, external walls preserved to a height
of 2-3 m illustrate remarkable stone working and two story
buildings.
There are two other important aspects to LPPNB residen-
tial architecture: the existence of freestanding and/or abutting
architecture at different sites, and the appearance of room
systems that probably served as dedicated storage areas. Free-
9. See KUIJT, 2008.
10. PURSCHWITZ and KINZEL, 2007.
11. GEBEL et al., 2006; KINZEL, 2004; PURSCHWITZ and KINZEL, 2007.
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Paléorient, vol. 37.1, p. 137-152 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2011
standing buildings were often constructed where there was no
readily available fl at or rectangular stone material (such as a
Beisamoun, Abu Gosh, and Ramad). In larger settlements,
buildings often abutted each other, using existing walls as a
form of structural support. Beyond producing the conditions
for second story residential architecture, these practices appear
to have created, intentionally or unintentionally, ground fl oor
room blocks composed of adjoining small 1.5-2 m rooms.
In light of their size and the perceived absence of domestic
artifacts, these areas possibly functioned as dedicated storage
rooms.
FOOD STORAGE PRACTICES DURING THE
LATE PRE-POTTERY NEOLITHIC B PERIOD
With the onset of the LPPNB people shifted their food
storage to intra-mural locations, in many cases with the use of
separate dedicated rooms inside of buildings ( g 1). If avail-
able archaeological data accurately refl ect the broader pattern
during this point, then this refl ects an increase in the scale of
storage that was practiced, and perhaps just as importantly, the
location of stored goods.
The transition from the MPPNB to LPPNB period illus-
trates a remarkable transition in how buildings were con-
structed, and how residential and non-residential space was
defi ned and used by people.12 Some of the interesting shifts
are seen in how people generally shifted the location of food
storage to internal areas of buildings, how storage potential
increased signifi cantly in scale, and how people created stor-
age areas where access could be controlled. Archaeological
evidence for storage systems is seen in the uncovering of dedi-
cated storage rooms inside of buildings, in some cases with
specially designed door ways. The other shift in architecture
and food storage is that with the LPPNB we fi nd our fi rst evi-
dence for two story-buildings, probably with people in select
12. See GORING MORRIS and BELFER-COHEN, 2008; KUIJT, 2000.
Table 1 – General aspects of Levantine Natufi an and Pre-Pottery Neolithic storage practices.
Extra-mural Inter-mural Architecture Interpretation Sites
Early Natufian
ca. 14,500-12,800 BP
• No evidence • Possible rare
storage installations
• Single-story oval
architecture
• Free-standing semi-
subterranean buildings
• Low residential mobility and
some storage
• Unclear access
‘Ain Mallaha, Hayonimn
cave, Kebarah, Wadi
Hameh 27
Late Natufian
ca. 12,800-11,700 BP
• No evidence • No evidence • Single-story oval
architecture
• Free-standing semi-
subterranean buildings
• Highly mobile groups with
limited storage
• Unclear access
‘Iraq ed-Dubb, Fazael
IV, Givat Hayil, Baaz
Rockshelter
Pre-Pottery Neolithic
A period (PPNA) ca.
11,700-10,500 BP
• Extra-mural storage
silos
• Small storage
installations in
rooms?
• Single-story oval
architecture
• Free-standing Semi-
subterranean buildings
• Low residential mobility and
significant storage
• Separation of residential and
storage areas
• Relatively open access
Netiv Hagdud, Jericho,
Dhra‘
Gilgal I, Zahrat adh-
Dhra‘ 2
Middle Pre-Pottery
Neolithic B period
(MPPNB) ca. 10,500-
9,250 BP
• Clay storage
installations in open
areas
• Clay storage
installations in corner/
sides of room
• Small compartments
• Single-story rectangular
architecture
• Free-standing buildings
• Sub-basement?
• Low residential mobility and
significant storage
• Integration of storage facilities
and residential areas
• Restricted access
‘Ain Ghazal, Yiftahel,
Jericho, Kfar Hahorish
Late Pre-Pottery
Neolithic B period
(LPPNB) ca. 9,250-8,700
BP
• Unclear
(Limited excavations)
• Transition to
dedicated storage
rooms
• Two-story rectangular
architecture
• Abutting buildings
• Access by ladder/stairs
from above?
• Low residential mobility and
significant storage
• Integration of residential and
storage areas
• Restricted access
Basta, ‘Ain Ghazal,
Es-Sifiya, ‘Ain Jammam,
Ghwair, Ba’ja
Pre-Pottery Neolithic C
period (PPNC) ca. 8,700
- 7,800 BP
• No evidence • Dedicated storage
buildings?
• Abandonment of two-
story architecture
• Single-story buildings
• Low residential mobility and
significant storage
• Separation of residential and
storage areas?
• Unclear access
‘Ain Ghazal, Khirbet
Sheikh Ali, Atlit Yam
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142 I. KUIJT
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villages spatially dividing up their use of space between the
ground and upper fl oors.
Architectural practices in the LPPNB shifted to the con-
struction of buildings that were composed of a series of rooms
that abutted each other. By the later stages of the LPPNB, with
aggregate villages, buildings were no longer freestanding. It
was common for individual rooms to be added to earlier build-
ings, and in other cases older structures were later sub-divided
into smaller rooms. In some cases buildings appear to have
been pre-planed and purposefully designed. In contrast to the
architecture of the MPPNB it was quite common for people to
add rooms on to existing buildings or to sub-divide them.13 At
Es-Sifi ya people constructed multi-story buildings along a rel-
atively steep slope area, with remarkably dense architecture.14
Many of these buildings had small (ca 1.5 x 1.5 m) rooms, with
13. GEBEL et al., 2006; KINZEL, 2004; PURSCHWITZ and KINZEL, 2007.
14. MAHASNEH and BIENERT, 2000.
no windows to exterior areas, and half-door entrances con-
necting to what was probably a central room.15 The resulting
rooms were often ir regular in shape, with many of them having
plastered red fl oors, and internal subdivisions. As is seen in
g. 1, rooms at Ba’Ja, Basta and Es-Sifyia, were accessed from
central or adjacent rooms through small half-door entrances
that are about 1 meter high.16 These entrances have the appear-
ance of windows, although they only connect rooms inside of
structures.
At Basta, we see the same practice: the construction of two-
story buildings with compartmentalized room blocks accessed
through a series of small half-door entrances. Importantly,
these are not found in every building.17 Rather, it appears
that they were built in spatial association with multiple inter-
connected half-door rooms. Unfortunately, our limited under-
15. GEBEL et al., 2006; Fig. 4.
16. GEBEL et al., 2006; KUIJT, 2000; PURSCHWITZ and KINZEL, 2007.
17. GEBEL et al., 2006.
Table 2 – Levantine Natufi an through Pre-Pottery Neolithic food surplus and practical storage.
Plant economy Animal economy
Organization of
practical storage
(Dedication /
Integration)
Scale of practical
storage
(Residential to
Communal)
Access to stored materials
(Restricted to open)
Early Natufian
ca. 14,500-12,800 BP
Intensive collection and
variable cultivation of
local wild plant resources
Intensive hunting of wild
animal resources: no
evidence for subsistence
husbandry
• Storage inside and
outside of residential unit
in public context
• Very small
volume
• Relatively unrestricted spatial
access
Late Natufian
ca. 12,800-11,700 BP
Intensive collection and
variable cultivation of
local wild plant resources
Intensive hunting of wild
animal resources: no
evidence for subsistence
husbandry
• Storage inside and
outside of residential unit
in public context
• Very small
volume
• Relatively unrestricted spatial
access
Pre-Pottery Neolithic
A period (PPNA) ca.
11,700-10,500 BP
Intensive collection
and variable cultivation
of local wild plant
resources: possible early
domestication of some
plants
Intensive hunting of wild
animal resources: no
evidence for subsistence
husbandry
• Dedicated / storage
outside of residential unit
in public context
• Small volume • Relatively unrestricted spatial
access
• Possible extramural storage
facilities between residential
structures
Middle Pre-Pottery
Neolithic B period
(MPPNB) ca. 10,500-
9,250 BP
Collecting and cultivation
of wild plant resources:
variable use of a wide
range of domesticates
depending upon location
Hunting of wild animal
resources: domestication
of caprines (goat-sheep)
for meat and secondary
products
• Dedicated / storage
inside of residence
• Medium volume • Storage installations in corner/
sides of room
• Clearly identified storage
locations
Late Pre-Pottery
Neolithic B period
(LPPNB) ca. 9,250-8,700
BP
Primarily focused on
a restricted range of
domesticates depending
upon location
Hunting of wild animal
resources: increased
reliance upon narrow
spectrum (caprines, pig,
cattle)
• Dedicated / separate
rooms for storage
• High volume •Spatially restricted access from
second floor to first floor
• Dedicated storage rooms in
lower floor of building
Pre-Pottery Neolithic C
period (PPNC) ca. 8,700
- 7,800 BP
Primarily focused on
a restricted range of
domesticates depending
upon location
Hunting of wild animal
resources: increased
reliance upon narrow
spectrum (caprines, pig,
cattle)
• Dedicated / separate
rooms for storage
• Unclear • Single-story buildings
• Dedicated storage rooms in
lower floor of building
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Home is where we keep our food: The origins of agriculture and late pre-pottery Neolithic food storage 143
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c
b
DW
DW
DW
DW
DW
*
Location of wood charcoal 14C from
floor, 7,930±70 BP (ISGS-3279).
1
2
3
4
6
5
Burnt oven
fragments
Meal
bin
Hearth
Meal
bin
Hearth
Milling tools
Heavy grinding slabs Large handstones Doorway
0123 m
GH
GH
H
H
GH
GH
a
GH
Fig. 1 Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period architecture from Es-Sifyia and Basta. Plan view of Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period (ca. 9,500
to 8,700 cal BP).
a. area B, Basta Jordan (based on WRIGHT, 2000 and GEBEL et al., 1997).
b. cell structures and half-door system, Es-Sifyia, Jordan (photo by I. Kuijt).
c. area A architecture, Es-Sifyia, Jordan. * is location of the viewer in photo 3 above right (based on MAHASNEH, 1997, fi g.3).
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144 I. KUIJT
Paléorient, vol. 37.1, p. 137-152 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2011
standing of the horizontal spatial organization of LPPNB sites
makes it diffi cult to understand if the clustering of these half-
door rooms was organized as part of household property, with
one or more of these store rooms owned by household, or if
they refl ect some other system of ownership.
There are several possible explanations for why people
constructed the half-door entranceways. It is possible that the
half-door system with a plastered stone below and some form
of wooden door up above were useful in creating a barrier
against rodents and insects. This would have created a storage
room where sacks or baskets of foods could have been securely
stored. The other possibility is that these served as large bins
for a range of commodities. People might have used them
directly as grain bins that were of an increased scale compared
to those of MPPNB. Regardless of what was being stored in
these areas, it is clear that in the LPPNB people started to
actively defi ne space in new ways that were focused on limited
access and protecting goods. Both the apparent spatial clus-
tering of these within sites, the restricted access to these, as
well as the signifi cant scale, indicates that people were dealing
with new technological systems of storing food as well as new
means of controlling and owning resources.
LATE PRE-POTTERY NEOLITHIC B
PERIOD FOOD STORAGE, PREPARATION,
AND CONSUMPTION
While still poorly understood, select research has provided
us with an improved sense of the spatial location of food stor-
age, preparation and consumption. Research at Çatalhöyük18
and Aşikli Höyük,19 illustrates that food storage, preparation
and consumption were a major focus of life within Neolithic
houses. These excavations have noted the close association of
re hearths and storage areas, and in some cases, refuse pat-
terning that is consistent with feasting and eating. Excavations
in the southern Levant have also provided new information on
the spatial connection between LPPNB food storage and food
preparation. As outlined by Gary Rollefson,20 excavations at
the North fi eld of ‘Ain Ghazal provide evidence for the spa-
tial association of high-density food storage and food prepara-
tion. These excavations uncovered the incomplete remains of a
rectangular structure, perhaps even a two story building, that
18. BOGGARD et al., 2009; FAIRBAIN et al., 2007.
19. ÖZBAŞARAN, 1998; DÜRING and MARCINIAK, 2006.
20. ROLLEFSON, 1997.
was divided into multiple compartments and with a clay oven,
hearth and storage rooms with well-made plaster fl oors. Pre-
served on the fl oor of one of the rooms was a large quantity of
carbonized grain. Both the density of carbonized macrobotan-
ical remains, as well as their spatial association with the oven,
indicate that people used these rooms for storage and food
preparation. Similar practices have been noted at Es-Sifyia21
and Basta.22 Given the limited horizontal exposure around this
structure, it remains unclear if this was a special building, per-
haps serving as one of a series of buildings associated with an
large household, or if this is representative of a broader pattern
with most LPPNB structures.
Another example of the co-association of cooking and stor-
age is seen at Basta.23 Excavations of Basta Area B uncovered
the remains of a two-story building that was probably accessed
from above through the use of ladders. In the basement were
multiple half-door storage rooms that were entered through
a larger central room. In this case no hearths were identifi ed
on the ground level, probably indicating that food preparation
occurred either outside of the building or the elevated fi rst oor.
Given that residential str uctures were built next to each other, it
seems more likely that the cooking would have occurred on the
rst elevated fl oor. In area A, excavations identifi ed a similar
building system similar to that seen at Es-Sifyia. In many of
the rooms, large grinding stones were left in place, illustrating
the spatial connection between food processing and storage.24
The food preparation rooms were located relatively evenly
across the excavation area. This again, raises the question if
these were associated with individual biological families or
larger household units.
ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVE OF THE ‘AIN
GHAZAL LATE PRE-POTTERY NEOLITHIC B
PERIOD CIRCULAR BUILDINGS
While very diffi cult to quantify in a meaningful way, I now
suspect that as a group of researchers we have been overlook-
ing some Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B manifestations of food
preparation and storage within Neolithic villages. This is not
linked to the skills and ability of the excavators, rather this is
a byproduct of complex, and at times limited, material mani-
21. MAHASNEH and BIENERT, 2000.
22. GEBELet al., 2006.
23. GEBEL et al., 2006; KUIJT, 2000; WRIGHT, 2000.
24. WRIGHT, 2000.
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Paléorient, vol. 37.1, p. 137-152 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2011
festations of food preparation and storage, as well as that in
many cases researchers are challenged by identifying physical
remains and structures that no longer exist. While subject to
further research, I suspect that ‘Ain Ghazal is one example of
this.
Broad horizontal excavations at several LPPNB settlements
have provided important insights into the spatial organization
of these villages, and by extension, uncovered evidence for
non-residential buildings. Excavations at Beidha,25 for example,
have revealed substantial buildings that are larger than residen-
tial buildings and are organized differently. As outlined earlier,
excavations in the East Field of ‘Ain Ghazal26 have uncovered
large structures that are internally organized differently from
25. BYRD, 1994.
26. ROLLEFSON, 1998 and 2000.
Fig. 2 Partially preserved rectangular stone building, North Field, ‘Ain Ghazal (adapted from ROLLEFSON, 1997).
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146 I. KUIJT
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what are traditionally viewed as residential buildings. Struc-
tures at both of these sites have been interpreted as community
buildings, a place that would have served as a physical place for
community activities. Similar, and in some cases even larger,
community buildings have been identifi ed at Beidha, Çayönu,
Nevalı Çori, and a host of other sites that have residential and
non-residential buildings.27 Excavations in 1993 at the North
and the East Field at ‘Ain Ghazal revealed evidence for build-
ings that are distinct from residential buildings.28 Rectangular
buildings in the LPPNB are commonly viewed as existing as
residences, but also as a physical location for economic activi-
ties and household ritual within the community.29
As noted earlier, excavations in the North Field uncov-
ered the remains of a partially preserved rectangular build-
ing where different rooms were used for storing grain, and for
cooking (fi g. 2).30 Excavations fi ve meters to the south uncov-
ered two partially preserved round structures situated between
or around (it is unclear at this point), rectangular buildings to
the southwest and north and at least one courtyard to the west.
Gary Rollefson (1998) identifi es these as Circular Building I
(the northern building) and Circular Building II. The Circular
Buildings are small structures, less than 5 m2, with the outer
walls constructed of cobbles and rubble fi ll (fi g. 3-4). Circu-
lar Building I has the partial remains of an entrance way on
the east side of the building. The walls and fl oors of Circular
Building II are poorly preserved and it is not possible to deter-
mine if there was an entrance. The fl oors of Circular Building
I were placed on a gravel foundation, just as the houses were.
In contrast, the poor quality fl oors of Circular Building II were
built directly on dirt. Rollefson31 argues that this indicates that
the structure was hastily constructed. Both of these structures
have a central hole, with Circular Building I having subfl oor
channels radiating out from the center. Circular Building I
was built with four sub-fl oor channels with one set oriented
north-south and the other pair oriented northeast-southwest.
It is not clear if these channels were designed to improve air
circulation, water drainage, or if perhaps there was some ritual
signifi cance in their construction, such as a chamber for air
to feed an elevated internal re hearth for ritual.32 While the
27. It should be noted that I am deliberately not discussing the site of Göbekli
Tepe as it is not clea r how, or even if, people lived in specifi c buildings at
this settlement. For this reason I think it would be potentially misleading
to draw comparisons between Göbekli Tepe and the dramatically differ-
ent, and much later, settlements being discussed in this paper.
28. ROLLEFSON, 1998 and 2000.
29. ROLLEFSON, 2000.
30. ROLLEFSON, 1997.
31. Personal communication, 2011.
32. ROLLEFSON, 1998.
Fig. 3 – Gary Rollefson in circular building I, North Field,Ain
Ghazal, 1993. Note the central hold in the plaster fl oor, the small
channel in the for ground, and the remains of the stone wall with
plaster lipping up on the walls (photo by I. Kuijt).
building was void of contents, on the basis of material pat-
terning and the unique nature of these structures, the excava-
tors at ‘Ain Ghazal argued that these served as cult buildings
and have labeled them ‘Shrines’ to highlight the small size of
these structures compared to what they argue are ‘Temples
located in the eastern area of the settlement. Circular Building
II, which is remarkably similar in construction and size to Cir-
cular Building I, was situated four meters to the south. Unlike
with Circular Building II, according to Rollefson (1998), Cir-
cular Building I was refl oored a minimum of eight times, each
time painted red. Rollefson33 suggests that since refl ooring of
33. Personal communication, 2011.
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Paléorient, vol. 37.1, p. 137-152 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2011
some residential buildings seems to have been associated with
a ritual of some sort (especially subfl oor burials in houses),
it is likely that the CBI refl oorings were also related to some
ceremonies. Interestingly, while Circular Building II also has a
central hole, and was refl oored once, it did not have the small
sub-fl oor channels and the fl oors were not painted red. Both
of these round buildings have been interpreted as being ritual
buildings on the basis of the rare geometry of the buildings, the
central hole and subfl oor channels, and the multiple refl ooring
episodes.34
For many years I have also interpreted the Circular Build-
ings as being ritual in nature. In our publications, and with
discussions with Rollefson, I have been struck by how different
the Circular Buildings are from residential buildings at ‘Ain
Ghazal, as well as other contemporary sites in the southern
Levant. Over the last few years, however, I have started to won-
der if we have missed something and now increasingly won-
der if the Circular Buildings were designed and used for food
processing or storage. Specifi cally, as an alternative I want to
suggest that the round structures at ‘Ain Ghazal were buildings
designed for grain storage, or perhaps for preparation and dry-
ing of grain before storage in other buildings. Archaeological
eld research at ‘Ain Ghazal clearly illustrates that people in
LPPNB settlements used internal areas of individual buildings
for food storage,35 but I now wonder if food storage was more
extensive than previously recognized and occurred in a vari-
ety of different inter and extra mural locations. The argument
for the ‘Ain Ghazal round structures as food storage features
grows out of my increased awareness of the pre-existence
of oval grain storage structures in the PPNA at Dhra’36 and
WF 16,37 and the realization that in many ways the size, mor-
phology, and design of the round buildings at ‘Ain Ghazal are
consistent with other food storage systems.
To start this discussion let me note how several physical
aspects to these Circular Buildings are inconsistent with the
interpretation that these structures were used for ritual. First
and most importantly, compared to other non-residential
MPPNB and LPPNB buildings (e.g., Beidha, Çayönu, Nevalı
Çori), these are very small buildings. As is seen in fi g. 3-4,
oor space indicates that it would only be possible to squeeze
in 3-4 kn eeli ng a rc hae ologists into Ci rcu la r Bu il ding I, an d thi s
is not considering headroom. It is, of course, possible that the
small size of the Circular Buildings relates to a different form
34. ROLLEFSON, 2000.
35. KUIJT, 2008; ROLLEFSON, 1997 and 1998.
36. KUIJT and FINLAYSON, 2009.
37. MITHEN et al., 2011.
Fig. 4 – Circular building I, North Field, ‘Ain Ghazal (photograph
courtesy of G. Rollefson ; from ROLLEFSON, 2005).
of ritual, such as household based practices that were more
restricted in access, perhaps focused on a sub-section of soci-
ety. At the same time, the Circular Buildings are very differ-
ent in size, and are much smaller than other, widely accepted,
rectangular ritual buildings from different Neolithic settle-
ments. Rollefson notes,38 however, that that sixAin Ghazal
apsidal buildings are similar in size to the Circular Buildings.
He argues that the apsidal buildings were used by family / lin-
age groups for ancestral rituals.39 While rituals are often con-
ducted in private household spaces as well as at the scale of the
community, some ritual performances have a public face, and
this public face is linked to scale and participation. Our cur-
rent narrative for the Circular Buildings does not address the
limited size of the structures, nor the limited number of people
who could have used these buildings. Second, it is interest-
ing to note that there are no benches or seating areas in the
Ain Ghazal Circular Buildings. Some, but by no means all,
earlier non-residential buildings, such as Nevalı Çori40 have
benches around the perimeter of the room. At the same time
38. ROLLEFSON, 2005:7.
39. Rollefson, personal communication, 2011.
40. HAUPT MAN N, 1999.
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148 I. KUIJT
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it is not clear that we should expect there to be benches in the
Ain Ghazal Circular Buildings. Moreover, this is a potentially
weak argument since seating in residential or non-residential
contexts may have been constructed of wood, and therefore
leaves no archaeological signature due to the limited preserva-
tion of the structures and material objects within them. The
bottom line is that we have only a limited understanding of the
nature of architectural variability within a single LPPNB com-
munity, and as such it is very diffi cult to con dently argue how
neighborhood areas were laid out, how individual structures
were used, or speculate on the possible links between these
architectural practices and domestic/residential activities or
ritual practices. As pointed out by Rollefson,41 however, there
is no question that the Circular Buildings are distinct from the
rectangular structures excavated at ‘Ain Ghazal. The question
is how are we to interpret them.
To turn this around for a moment, it is important to note
that there are several physical and design aspects to the ‘Ain
Ghazal Circular Buildings that are consistent with grain stor-
age, or perhaps for preparation and drying of grain before
storage in other buildings. First, from an engineering stand
point it is clear that the people who designed and constructed
these buildings, especially that of Circular Building I, were
concerned with air circulation and / or control of water and
humidity. These small buildings had a prepared plaster fl oor,
plaster walls, and a hole in the center.42 It was important to
have the air circulation be focused on the ground level. With
the exception of storage systems that are sub-fl oor and focused
on oxygen depletion, most storage silos or drying systems are
designed to maximize air circulation.43 This can be done by
either elevating the storage unit, or alternatively, lifting the
commodity being stored such as grain in baskets, above the
ground. Second, the plaster fl oor also helps us understand that
cleanliness was important to the users of this building includ-
ing, controlling dust and presumably insects. This is, of course,
a critical element of grain storage, but is also likely to be an
important aspect of ritual and living areas as well. Third, the
small size of these structures, with a fl oor space of less than
2.5 by 2.5 m, is very similar to ethnographic storage and dry-
ing areas, and distinctly smaller than other widely accepted
41. ROLLEFSON, 2000.
42. ROLLEFSON, 1998 (p. 47-49), argues that Circular Building II was hastily
constructed, perhaps even to the point of neglect. While Circular Build-
ing II appears to be complete, with damage likely being post-occupa-
tional, it is almost as if the builders of Circular Building II intentionally
omitted several construction elements, and that there was less attention
paid to the quality of construction. For these reasons I am going to focus
this discussion upon circular structure I.
43. DAV ID and KRAMER, 2001; SEEDEN, 1985.
Neolithic ritual structures. Finally, it is also interesting to note
the spatial proximity of these round structures to the rectangu-
lar LPPNB structures where the excavation of multiple rooms
revealed evidence for food storage and cooking. Collectively,
all of these design elements can be interpreted as refl ecting the
need of Neolithic people to reduce and minimize water and
moisture, and restrict access of insects and rodents. In sum,
the design, organization, and size, of the round structures is
consistent with argument for food storage or preparation.
What would such a structure look like and how might it
have functioned? This is, of course, the critical question. It
also, unfortunately, require us to think in terms of what remains
were uncovered and what was destroyed. As with Rollefson,44
I suspect that Circular Building I was relatively small in size.
Although impossible to demonstrate, my hunch is that it was
no higher than 1.5 m and with a fl at roof made of wood, reeds,
and mud, probably looking similar to the exterior of storage
structures identi ed at Dhra.45 There is evidence for a single
entrance into this structure. It would have had a plaster fl oor,
resurfaced at times, and walls made of stone, mud, and pos-
sibly with upright posts for support.
Although there are other possibilities, I can envision four
possible ways this building was used for household food stor-
age or perpetration:
1) Grain stored directly on the plaster fl oor as in a silo
(fi g. 5),
2) In containers / baskets directly on the plaster fl oor,
3) Grain stored in containers / baskets elevated off the
oor,
4) The structure was used for drying, smoking, or curing
of grain or meat.
The fi rst of these options is probably the least likely. Sim-
ply put the size of the structure and existence of a central hole
makes this unlikely. In contrast, the second and third options
t well with the physical design of the structures. As noted
by David and Kramer,46 and seen in fi g. 5, air circulation is a
critical aspect to controlling moisture levels and water. This
can be accomplished by either building a sealed container and
then elevating it above the fl oor, or alternatively, constructing
a dry room with sub-fl oor drainage in which containers, such
as sacks and baskets can be stored as well as other foods was
hung from the walls and celling. Finally, it is possible that the
Circular Building were not used for long-term grain storage,
but were used for drying, smoking and preparation of food,
44. ROLLEFSON, 2000.
45. See g. 4 in KUIJT and FINLAYSON, 2009.
46. DAVID and KRAMER, 2001: Fig. 9.6.
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and the fi nished prepared food was then moved to a secondary
location for long-term storage. Certainly we know that the cir-
cular buildings at ‘Ain Ghazal were located near to rectangula r
buildings with storage rooms. It is not clear, however, if these
rectangular buildings were dedicated food storage buildings, or
if the buildings are the basement remains of a residential house
where people lived upstairs and stored food down stairs.47
Given the clear archaeological evidence for signi cant
capacity for food storage inside of rectangular residential struc-
tures, how might we explain the presence of another system of
food storage with the Circular Buildings? The answer to this
question is partially linked to if we interpret the Circular Build-
ings as being related to food preparation or storage. If these
were buildings designed for processing foods, such as drying
grain, smoking foods, or some other yet to be considered alter-
native, then the Circular Buildings were not another food stor-
age location, rather they would be physical manifestations of a
different and earlier, technical stage in the processing of food
for human consumption. As noted earlier, while researchers
have a developing sense of morphological change in plant sub-
sistence species, we have a remarkably poor understanding of
the complicated pathways from plant growth, harvest, process-
ing, and storage to later human consumption. One major gap in
our understanding is how plant foods were processed.
If the Circular Buildings were used for food storage, how-
ever, then the simplest way to explain the co-existence of food
storage in different contexts (rooms inside of rectangular build-
ings, and inside of the Circular Buildings) is that they represent
different types of food storage, potentially focused on differ-
ent types of food, or that these were locations controlled by
different social or economic groups within the community.
This maybe similar to later practices seen at Tell Sabi Abyad
where round and rectangular buildings were used for food
storage through time.48 Elsewhere,49 I have argued that food
47. In discussing this alternative view of the Circular Buildings, G. Rollefson
(personal communication, 2011) points out that if there were family/line-
age celebrations taking place in the apsidal buildings, common storage
of food for celebratory feasts may have characterized part of the apsidal
buildings as well as the antechamber of Circular Building I (there are
the remains of a poorly preserved room of unknown size next to the east
side of Circular Structure I). He also notes that in the large cult buildings
(“Temples”), there was an extramural sub- or semi-subterranean feature
(“F1”) at the back of the structure about 5 x 1 x 1.2 m in size that may
have stored food for feasting during rites practiced in this structure (see
ROLLEFSON, 1998). Gary’s idea highlights the need for future refl ection
upon the organization of potentially different storage practices for daily
subsistence foods, those for feasting, and potentially select storage for
ritual.
48. AKKERMANS, 2010; VERHOEVEN, 1999.
49. KUIJT, 2008.
Fig. 5 – Aliabad women standing beside a grain bin, Iranian
Kurdistan (from DAVID and KRAMER, 2001: Fig. 9.6).
storage in the LPPNB was characterized by increased control
and reduced access to food, manifest in the appearance storage
rooms inside of residential buildings. While it is diffi cult to
estimate the total volume of such storage, especia lly in cont rast
to where there are clear storage bins, such as at Çatalhöyük,50
the overall long-term picture is one of greater household control
of stored foods. If Circular Buildings were used for food stor-
age rather than preparation, then they might be best explained
as facilities designed to hold excess grain, or other plants, from
years when everything worked. Ethnographic research has
demonstrated that there is remarkable variation between years,
and Neolithic people would have wanted to take advantage of
good years as a means of overcoming bad crop years. It is also
possible that the Circular Buildings provide a material refl ec-
tion of storage for different groups within a Neolithic com-
munity, with food storage inside of the rectangular buildings
50. BOGGARD et al., 2009; FAIRBAIN et al., 2007.
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150 I. KUIJT
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belonging to a single family / household in nature while food
storage in the Circular Buildings being shared between mul-
tiple families and / or an extended household. All of these are
entirely viable explanations, but given the lack of broad hori-
zontal excavations to west of the Circular Buildings, and the
downslope destruction to the east of the Circular Buildings,
for the moment it seems unlikely that the exact use of these
structures will be resolved anytime soon.
DISCUSSION
With the publication of fi eldwork, in some cases initiated
by Jacques Cauvin and now brought to fruition by his former
students, as well as the initiation of new fi eld projects, archae-
ologists continue to shape our understanding of the economic
and social engines that drive the early stages of the Neolithic
Revolution. A number of recent studies have looked at the ini-
tial stages of the Neolithisation, and outlined how new food
storage practices must have changed communities ability to
overcome seasonal risk and food shortages.51 Pre-domesticate
food storage served as an economic and nutritional foundation
for population growth several thousand years before domes-
tication. By the PPNA, and possibly the Natufi an, people had
the ability to store any food surplus based of pre-domesticated
plants, and this both reinforced the need for people to live in
one place, as well as changed the potential for some house-
holds to control resources. By the MPPNB we see evidence for
the development of a series of new complex systems for storing
wild and domesticated plants. The existence of morphologi-
cally domesticated plants, as well as increased frequency of
specifi c stone tools for harvesting and food processing, echo
what we see with the development of MPPNB storage features
from Jericho, ‘Ain Ghazal and Yiftahel, and highlights the
increased importance and reliance on food storage.
In this paper I have explored some of the material manifes-
tations of food storage in the LPPNB, and tried to expand our
discussion to consider one example of what may, or may not,
be additional evidence for food processing / storage. Although
limited by issues of archaeological visibility, this study clearly
illustrates a signifi cant ratcheting up of storage practices in
the LPPNB, and quite possibly new systems and ideas about
ownership. In light of the likely nutritional improvements from
greater quantity of food and greater predictability that effec-
tive storage systems would have brought to Neolithic commu-
51. KUIJT, 2008 and 2009; KUIJT and FINLAYSON, 2009.
nities, it is clear that many of the elaborate ritual practices,
signifi cant population growth and appearance of aggregate
villages in the LPPNB were related at least partially to new or
improved systems of food storage. Collectively, this underlines
that we need to think of food storage as something more than a
binary category (it exists, it does not exist), and to develop the
methodological means and interpretive framework, identify
the variety of different food preparation and storage methods,
that Neolithic villagers would have practiced.
Much of Cauvin’s synthetic writing was focused on how
the Neolithic Revolution represents a signifi cant mental and
social change in ideas and human cognition. I am sure, how-
ever, that if he were with us to day he would agree that it is
important to both consider the genesis of ideas as well as their
impact. In some ways archaeologists are now developing an
understanding of the material outcomes of the Neolithic Revo-
lution. Archaeologists are only now starting to understand the
economic, social, and ritual impact of food storage as part
of the Neolithic revolution. More to the point, while we have
long identifi ed the importance of food storage, and at times
its material correlates, archaeologists are only at the earliest
stages of meaningfully quantifying the scale of food storage,
and in the case of the Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, the means
to recognize food storage within large villages. The research
of Cauvin, be it directly or indirectly, continues to frame some
of the critical discussions as to the causes and social outcomes
of food production within the long term process of Neolithisa-
tion.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This study has been directly and indirectly supported by: The
Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame, and The
National Endowment for the Humanities. I would specifi cally like
to thank Gary Rollefson for his critical and constructive discussion
of the sections related to ‘Ain Ghazal. His constructive criticism
and willingness to share information have immeasurably improved
the clarity and organization of this work. I would also like to thank
Claire Brown and several autonomous reviewers for their construc-
tive detailed comments on this paper. I take full responsibility for
the contents of this paper, but owe all of them many thanks for its
realization.
Ian KUIJT
University of Notre-Dame
617 Flanner Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556-5611 – USA
ian.kuijt.1@nd.edu
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... [33,55]; (c) proportions of non-shattering spikelets in charred cereal chaff assemblages, data based on [24] and modified (see Table S1 and Appendix A). Architectural plans redrawn from [32,36,[68][69][70] Tell Qarassa North early PPNB intramural possible storage pit in house [70] Beidha early-middle PPNB intramural charred Pistacia nutlets in baskets [27,78] Jericho middle PPNB intramural stone bins [73] 'Ain Ghazal middle PPNB intramural charred cereal/pulse deposit near door [29,79] Yiftahel middle PPNB intramural charred pulses in clay silo and perishable container [80] Tell Aswad late PPNB intramural two large storage basins with high densities of cereal remains [81,82] 'Ain Ghazal late PPNB intramural storage rooms, one with accumulation of charred pulse seeds [29] Es-Sifyia late PPNB intramural storage rooms [49,83] Basta late PPNB intramural storage rooms [49,84] Ba'ja late PPNB intramural storage rooms [49,85] Comparable non-residential buildings were long absent from excavated PPNA settlements in the southern Levant. The only larger structures that clearly represent communal building activities are the tower and the associated wall at Jericho [73]. ...
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DÜRING B., and MARCINIAK. A. 2005 Households and communities in the central Anatolian Neolithic. Archaeological Dialogues 12,2: 165-187.
The Architecture and Stratigraphy
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Exploring Daily Lives, Community Size and Architecture in the Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic Demography and Storage Systems during the Southern Levantine Neolithic Demographic Transition The Neolithic Demographic Transition and Its Consequences: 287-313
KUIJT I. 2000 People and Space in Early Agricultural Villages: Exploring Daily Lives, Community Size and Architecture in the Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 19:75-102. 2008 Demography and Storage Systems during the Southern Levantine Neolithic Demographic Transition. In: BOCQUET- APPEL J.P., BAR-YOSEF O. (eds.), The Neolithic Demographic Transition and Its Consequences: 287-313. New York: Springer Verlag. 2009 What do we really know about Food Storage, Surplus and Feasting in Pre-Agricultural Communities? Current Anthropology, 50,5: 641-644 and 711-712.
Evidence for Food Storage and Predomestication Granaries 11,000 years ago in the Jordan Valley
KUIJT I and FINLAYSON B. 2009 Evidence for Food Storage and Predomestication Granaries 11,000 years ago in the Jordan Valley. PNAS 106,27: 10966- 10970.
Two room and Ground Floor Fills: Reconstructed House-life Scenarios
  • Ba'ja
Ba'ja 2007. Two room and Ground Floor Fills: Reconstructed House-life Scenarios. Neo-Lithics 2,07: 7-35.
ritual and ceremony III Ritual and social structure at Neolithic 'Ain Ghazal
  • Ain Ghazal
  • Jordan
Ain Ghazal (Jordan): ritual and ceremony III. Paléorient 24,1: 43-58. 2000 Ritual and social structure at Neolithic 'Ain Ghazal. In: KUIJT I. (ed.), Life in Neolithic farming communities: Social organization, identity, and differentiation: 165-190. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. 2005