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Chapter 4: Neolithic 2 Wadi Dhobai (Pages 241-243)

Pre-History and Archaeology Glossary

Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums:

The Wadi Dhobai is in TransJordan southeast of Amman beside the road from Qasr El Mushatta to Qasr et-Tuba. Site B is situated at the junction of a tributary wadi with the main valley floor. Remains of several circular huts were found at the site (See Page 175 and Plate XXVI in *1 Below) constructed of stones set upright in the ground. These presumably served as foundations for a light superstructure of poles, brush and skins. There were two hearths in an occupation layer associated with these huts.

A few beads were found in the excavations but most of the artifacts were flint tools. Many of these were made on blades struck from double-ended cores with crested blades as charcteristic by-products. The most numerous tools were angle and dihedral burins (See Page 176ff ibid). End and side-scrapers on flakes were also quite common.

Tanged arrowheads were the third major class of tools, the tang being defined with a notch or pronounced narrowing of the blade in most instances. A few foliate examples were thinned a little at the tang end. Most of the arrowheads had a little abrupt or squamous retouch around the tang and under the tip. There were very few other tools types and no sickle blades.

This industry is in the Neolithic 2 tradition but when the site was excavated it was thought that it did not exactly resemble the known contemporary material found on sites in Palestine (See Page 297 ibid) and for this reason it was given its own name, the Dhobian industry. The artifact types can now be closely paralleled at Beidha. The core technique is the same at both sites and the Dhobai arrowheads are similar in shape to those at Beidha. They have the same pronounced shoulders and retouch. No winged arrowheads of the Palestinian kind were found at either site and no notched arrowheads at Dhobai although these are known from Beidha. Several similar stations, sites A, C, D and E1 were found along the Wadi Dhobai (See Page 174 ibid) but not excavated; all had the same structures visible on the surface and surface finds like those from Dhobai B.

Several surface stations with Neolithic material have been found by Harding, Parks and others around Qasr Kharaneh in the desert southeast of Amman. Sites 1, 2, and 3 (See Page 54 in *2 Below) yielded Neolithic 2 artifacts similar to those at Abu Suwan. Other stations found by Parks had Neolithic 2 artifacts with an abundance of burins like the assemblade from Wadi Dhobai B. A great deal of unusual material was found by Harding at one other site in this group, Kharaneh IV (See Page 42 ibid). This site is a very large mound composed of stone rubble. The material included a number of thin bifacial ovates, end-scrapers on blades, discoid and other flake scrapers, burins and blades. The affinities of this material were uncertain when published although Harding believed the site to have been occupied in Neolithic 2. This attribution has since been confirmed by Garrard and Stanley Price who made further collections at the site in 1975.

Four more Neolithic stations were found by Field in his early explorations of north and northeastern TransJordan. The sites were Qasr El Hallabat east of Zerka, Site 220 near Landing Ground H, Sites 212 and 213 near Qasr El Uweinid just south of Azraq and Site 243 near Landing Ground K (See Map in *3 Below). These were described as "arrowhead" sites by Garrod in her report on the finds (See Page 122ff ibid) because each of them contained tanged arrowheads retouched with pressure flaking. The exact affinities of such small surface collections are unclear but it is probable that some of the material can be assigned to Neolithic 2.

Much more material has been found by others on what may be another site near Qasr El Uweinid. Among the implements were tanged arrowheads, some of which had squamous retouch, end-scrapers, borers on blades, burins and flake scrapers. There were also a large number of blades and some crested blades. This seems to have been another Neolithic 2 site which was used as a camp or settlement for a time.

Following surveys made by Kirkbride, Parks and others it has been known for many years that there were Neolithic 2 stations in the Azraq Basin and more were found in 1975 by Garrard and Stanley Price. The sites with varied artifact inventories would have been camps or settlements which were occupied for weeks or months at a time while those with very few tools are likely to have been hunting stations. Enough sites are now known in northern TransJordan to indicate that the area was occupied by semi-sedentary and sedentary groups in Neolithic 2 at least as far east as Azraq and possibly beyond.


*1 The Excavations at Wadi Dhobai
J. Waechter and M. Seton Williams (1938)
Volume 18 [Pages 172 - 186 and 292 - 298]
The Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society
Library of Congress # DS 101 P37

*2 Stone Age Exploration in Jordan
F. Zeuner (1957) [Pages 17 - 54]
Palestine Exploration Quarterly
Library of Congress # DS 111 A1 Q57

*3 North Arabian Desert Archeological Survey
H. Field (1960) in Volume 45 [Pages 1 - 224]
Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology
and Ethnology: Harvard University

Library of Congress # E 51 H337

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium