Award Date

5-1-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Anthropology

First Committee Member

Alan Simmons

Second Committee Member

Barbara Roth

Third Committee Member

Levent Atici

Fourth Committee Member

Andrew Bell

Number of Pages

167

Abstract

Understanding the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) environmental adaptations, subsistence patterns, and lifestyles in the southern Levant is pivotal in investigating the consequences of the human transformation from the exploitation of wild resources to the production of food through domestication or, the "Neolithic Revolution". At the most fundamental level, this investigation provides a comprehensive zooarchaeological study of the archaeological faunal assemblage from Ghwair I, a Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) community in southern Jordan, in effort to explore local exploitation patterns and refine our understanding of the community's social and economic systems. This type of investigation enhances our current understanding of the spatial organization, village life, and the eventual abandonment of villages at the end of the PPNB.

This research was designed to address the following questions: (1) What were the economic strategies and adaptations utilized at Ghwair I during the PPNB? (2) Was Ghwair I an autonomous village structured to meet local subsistence demands and focused on self-sufficiency, or was it part of a regional system? and (3) What role did the subsistence strategies play in social organization of the community at Ghwair I?

The combined results of an extensive archaeological investigation at Ghwair I and a comprehensive zooarchaeological analysis that integrates faunal taxonomic identification, quantification, assemblage composition and characterization, has yielded the following interpretations:

1) The macrofaunal assemblage at Ghwair I reflects a pastoral animal economy focused heavily on goat herding, supplemented with exploitation of a range of other wild species. Ecological degradation is not suggested.

2) The inhabitants of Ghwair I appear to have made a deliberate choice to rely on goats over other animal resources available in their environmental zone. The presence of wild animals in the assemblage indicates their availability to the community as a resource, even if they were only utilized on a limited bases or for special occasions.

3) Social complexity and differentiation within the community is implicated by the unequal distribution to aurochs across the community and suggests that aurochs was primarily utilized during feasting to build and maintain solidarity.

4) The presence and location of cache of several goat skulls, aBos primigeniusskull, and a very well preserved horn core suggests their use as dedicatory items for an associated infant burial, thus hinting at a level of social complexity that included ascribed status and some level of inequality within the community that was heredity based.

This investigation confirms that Ghwair I was a developed and socially complex community and provides researches with data to explore new ideas about human adaptations during the PPNB in the southern Levant.

Keywords

Animal remains (Archaeology), Excavations (Archaeology), Jordon – Ghwair I, Middle East, Neolithic period

Disciplines

Anthropology | Archaeological Anthropology

Language

English