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Chapter 4: Neolithic 2 (Pages 205-207)

Tell aux Scies - Dik el Mehdi II - Saaideh

Pre-History and Archaeology Glossary

Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums:

Several surface sites in Lebanon should now be considered. Two of them, Tell aux Scies and Dik el Mehdi II are near the coast. Tell aux Scies is in the dunes just south of Beirut and the main collections from it were made by Bergy in 1932. The site is now buried beneath rubbish dumps (See Page 131 in *1 Below). Beergy also collected material from Dik el Mehdi II, a site in the hills immediately behind Antelias a little north of Beirut (Page 83 ibid). These finds were deposited in the Universite Saint-Joseph and have since been discussed by Cauvin (See Page 220ff ibid).

The material which I have studied from both sites was quite homogeneous although there were intrusive elements. Tell aux Scies had some pyramidal cores and a number of double-ended ones mostly of the keeled variety. Associated with these were many crested blades. Many of the tools were made on blades from these double-ended cores. Among them was a group of sickle blades from which the site took its name. These had nibbled or finely-denticulated cutting edges but very few were backed or truncated. The arrowheads fell into two groups. One consisted of arrowheads with a short straight or hollow-based tang. The tang was defined by a pair of notches and there were pairs of notches along the blade. These arrowheads may also have had a little light edge retouch. The others had long tangs without shoulders and were retouched with squamous pressure-flaking. The remaining blade tools from Tell aux Scies consisted of angle and dihedral burins, some borers, end-scrapers and retouched blades.

There were a number of flake scrapers which should probably be grouped with the blade tools and also several axes and adzes or chisels. The axes were flaked with a polished cutting edge and were oval or trapezoidal in shape; one was polished all over and had straight sides. The adzes or chisels were smaller and were flaked but not polished. There were also a few small flaked picks.

The collection from Dik el Mehdi II was smaller but many of the same artifacts were represented. The cores and associated waste products were similar as were the burins, borers and scrapers. There were also a sidenotched arrowhead, one or two trapezoidal axes or adzes and several core choppers.

Cauvin has pointed out that there are many similarities between these two assemblages and the material found at Tell Ramad in Level I. They have the same techniques of blade production and many of the same distinctive tool types such as notched arrowheads, long sickle blades and flaked and polished axes. It would seem therefore that Tell aux Scies and Dik el Mehdi belong within the same regional cultural grouping as Tell Ramad I and that these sites were occupied at about the same time.

One other site must be mentioned here and that is Saaideh in the Bekaa [Valley]. Several years ago a Neolithic flint assemblage was found 3.2 metres below the present ground surface in an irrigation sump a little to the west of the village at Saaideh. The flints all belonged to the same industry and among them were four double-ended keeled cores with the appropriate blades. A number of these had been retouched with a finely denticulated edge and used as sickle blades. The rest of the tools consisted of end-scrapers on blades, burins and a large borer; there was also a fragment of obsidian.

This assemblage, though much sparser than that from Tell aux Scies and Dik el Mehdi II, has the same characteristics as Hours has observed. It is thus another Neolithic 2 site and was probably occupied in the second half of the 7th millennium. The site was located quite by chance because it was so deeply buried. No other Neolithic 2 sites have been discovered in the Bekaa [Valley] but this is probably because they too are covered by soil which has washed off the surrounding mountains onto the valley floor.

The closest cultural parallels for Labweh and the three unexcavated sites are with Tell Ramad in Levels I and II and the other Damascus basin sites. All four belong within the West Syrian group.

Several other Neolithic 2 sites in Lebanon and Syria should now be mentioned .....

BIBLIOGRAPHY

*1 Inventory of Stone Age Sites From Lebanon
L. Copeland and P. Wescombe
[1965] Volume 41 (Pages 29 - 175)
Mélanges de l'Université Saint-Joseph
Library of Congress # PJ 3001 B5

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium