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Chapter 4 : Neolithic 2 Khiam (Pages 221-223)

Pre-History and Archaeology Glossary

Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums:

El Khiam is the third site in Palestine at which Neolithic 2 remains have been found stratified over Neolithic 1 occupation. This material was recovered from the topmost level, level A, in Neuville's excavations. This level was sub-divided into three, A1 which was a surface deposit ccntained mixed Neolithic 2, Chalcolithic, Byzantine and Islamic artifacts and A2 and A3 which were Neolithic 2 deposits altghough they also contained some material from earlier levels. These levels corresponded to Echegeray's levels 2 (Prototahunian) and 1 (Tahunian) which was subdivided into 1a and 1b. The only structures in these deposits were a straight stone wall and some hearths found by Echegeray in level 1b.

The raw material for the flint tools was obtained locally as in earlier levels. A very little obsidian was supported in the form of blades. One piece frcm level 6 analysed by neutron activation proved to be from a source in the Acigol region (See Page 81 in *1). Most of the tools were made on blades but these were struck off pyramidal cores and so were relatively small. Arrowheads were one of the most numerous classes of tools and there were several types of these. Most were tanged although there were a few pressure-flaked leaf-shaped points. Some of the tanged arrowheads had pairs of notches along the blade while most of the others had wings or sharply-defined shoulders. These types of arrowheads were found both at Nahal Oren I and PPNB Jericho but the El Khiam examples were frequently extensively retouched with pressure-flaking.

Burins were very common in these levels at El Khiam, the principal types being angle and dihedral burins. End-scrapers on blades were also numerous but outnumbered by small flake disc scrapers. Other types such as sickle blades were less frequent. These were backed irregular blades of which only a few had any edge retouch. This type is different from those found on other Palestinian and West Syrian sites partly because a different core technique was used. The scarcity of sickle blades may reflect the unsuitability of the environment for agriculture.

Some larger flint tools were found, among them flaked tranchet axes, chisels and picks. There were also a very few flaked and polished axes. Ground store tools were abundant. Most of these were made of local limestone but a few were of basalt probably obtained from northern Palestine or Transjordan. These included pestles and mortars as well as rubbers and querns. There were one or two decorated stone objects and also fragments of a few limest one bowls. No mention was made of other finds in the reports so it does not seem likely that many bone tools or decorative items were found.

This whole deposit at El Khiam was no more than 1.5 metres deep although one should remember that some of the original material would have washed down the slope of the terrace. The site was probably occupied intermittently in Neolithic 2 like Nahal Oren though there are indications that El Khiam continued to be used for a longer period. If one considers the typology of the arrowheads in level A then it is clear that they include both notched arrowheads recalling those of Neolithic 1 and heavily pressure-flaked examples which in Syria where the deposits are well-dated would be late 7th or even 6th millennium in date. Throughout the Levant there was a tendency for pressure-flaking to be used more extensively towards the end of Neolithic 2 and into the 6th millennium. While this cannot be taken as a precise chronological indicator the presence of many heavily pressure-flaked arrowheads at El Khiam does suggest that the site continued to be visited after occupation at Nahal Oren I and PPNB Jericho had ceased .....


1. Source Areas for Obsidian Recovered at
Munhatta - Beisamoun - Hazorea and El Khiam

G. Wright and A. Gordus (1969) Volume 19
[Pages 79 - 88] Israel Exploration Journal
Library of Congress # DS 111 A1 I87

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium