HOME / Table of Contents = Civilizations - Cultures - Areas - Regions - Prehistory
Other Archaeological Sites / The Neolithic of the Levant (500 Page Book Online)

Chapter 5: Neolithic 3 Tell Judaidah (Pages 307-313)

Pre-History and Archaeology Glossary

Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums:

The lowest layers reached at Judaidah were below the water table which seriously impeded the excavation and limited the information that could be recovered from the deep sounding there. No buildings were found in phase A though they imay have existed (See Page 47 in *1 Below). Remains of rectilinear buildings with stone foundations and perhaps mud-brick or mud walls were found in the phase B layers above (See Page 68 ibid).

The chipped stone industry was of the same character throughout phases A and B. Most of the tools kept for study were made on blades struck from single-ended pyramidal or conical cores, the by-products of which included crested blades and core tablets. The most abundant tools seem to have been arrowheads and sickle blades (See Page 525 and 526 ibid). Many of the arrowheads were of the types called Amuq 1 and 2 by Cauvin. These were mostly quite long, long enough to be called javelin heads in the published account, although on ethnographic analogy all could have been used to arm arrows. They were extensively pressure-flaked on the upper surface and had some retouch on the back at the tip and tang. Most of the type 2 arrowheads had swollen tangs. Some of the arrowheads though still. tanged were much shorter than these and a few were finished with abrupt retouch.

All the sickle blades were segmented and usually about 3.5 centimetres in length. Most of these blade sections had been snapped off at the required length although a few were made by the notch technique. The cutting edge of many of the sickle blades had been slightly retouched but they were not backed. Many still retained traces of the mastic which secured them in the sickle.

Among the other tools were borers on blade segments and single-blow, angle and dihedral burins. There were also end-scrapers on blades and flake scrapers some of which were discoid (See Page 527 ibid). Obsidian was quite plentiful as a raw material and was worked on the spot, the evidence for this being pyramidal cores, crested blades and core tablets (See Page 528 and 529 ibid). Not only were there obsidian blades and flakes but also small borers and arrowhead tangs. One piece has been analysed from Judaidah which was found to have come from the Ciftlik source (See Page 65). The chipped stone industry is in general quite similar to what we know of the material from Ras Shamra V B and V A although there are differences in the types of sickle blades preferred at each site and the quantities of obsidian present, a function of ease of communication with and distance from the sources.

The other stone tools at Judaidah were both abundant and varied. Trapezoidal stone axes and adzes were particularly common (See Page 58 and 87 ibid). These were quite thin and had straight sides with a bevelled cutting edge. All were ground and partly polished. They were made in both large and small sizes so would have been suitable both for preparing rough timber and shaping wooden artifacts. Disc rubbers were abundant while hammers and slingstones were also present (See Page 55, 61 and 86 ibid). One macehead was found in the phase B levels, a grooved stone in phase A and several stamp seals in both phases (See Pages 61, 63, 90 and 94 ibid). The stamp seals were incised with geometric patterns which in most cases consisted of criss-cross lines. Spindle whorls were made from both stone and baked clay while circular stone dishes were also used. These were usually ground and polished and at least one had a spout for pouring (See Page 8 and Figure 32 ibid). Decorative stone objects were also made, among them two studs, pendants and beads. The latter included several butterfly beads of the kind found in such abundance at Abu Hureyra in both Neolithic 3 and Neolithic 2 contexts (Figures 36:5-7 and 67:7 ibid). The usual bone awls, needles and spatulae were also used at the site (Pages 65 - 67 and 97 - 99 ibid).

Three principal types of pottery have been distinguished from Judaidah although there were small quantities of several others in phase B. The shapes of the vessels were quite simple, consisting for the most part of globular hole-mouth jars, some collared jars and bowls with flat bases. The most common type was dark-faced burnished ware, a group of thick-walled medium-fired vessels made of clay tempered with grit, sand and some organic matter (See Page 49ff ibid). When fired the core was usually dark grey or black. The surface colour of these pots varied from buff to black but most of them were in shades of brown. All had been roughly burnished. Surface decoration was limited to jabs and incised shell or fingernail impressions on a few pots. Some jars had ledge handles for lifting. In phase B certain vessels were made with thinner walls and given more even surface treatment. Some of these pots were decorated with pattern burnish (See Page 77). Carinated bowls were made for the first time in phase B which, together with a few other pots, could be classed as dark polished ware.

The second type of pottery was coarse simple ware, a group of thick-walled vessels of a softer fabric with much straw filler (See Page 47ff ibid). The surface colour of the pots ranged from light buff to orange and brown. The third type was washed impressed ware, a series of vessels with the varied surface colours of the other varieties but which had been partly covered in thin red paint (See Page 52ff ibid). The rims were painted red and often burnished with a band of impressed decoration below usually done with the edge of a shell.

The pottery.was a little more elaborate in phase B with more varied surface treatment (See Page 69 ibid). A number of vessels were coated with red slip and burnished, a type of finish quite rare in phase A. A brittle painted ware could be distinguished, the vessels of which were painted vith lines of reddish paint on a burnished surface (See Page 80ff ibid). Other pots were decorated more extensively with incised lines and shell-impressed patterns.

Amuq A and B pottery was found in great quantity at Judaidah which enables us to see just how varied in fabric and decoration the finished product was. The pots were probably made by many individuals using methods that would have been irregular and subject to uncertainty. The vessels were probably fired in bonfires which would account for the uneven colours and textures of the fabrics. Because the pottery was made in this way the result was bound to vary considerably from site to site. One cannot use pottery at this early stage, therefore, for a precise chronological or cultural comparison between sites in the way one can with Halaf and later stages. That being said, it is still possible to make certain general comparisons between the pottery of different sites in Neolithic 3.

The Amuq A and B dark-faced burnished ware bears a general resemblance to the burnished wares of Ras Shamra V B and V A. Dark polished red and black ware, so abundant at Ras Shamra, is, however, quite rare at Judaidah. The pattern burnished vessels are generally similar at both sites. The Amuq coarse simple ware has some features in common with the unburnished grosser vessels at Ras Shamra but the washed impressed ware is virtually absent so far as we know. Painted pottery seems to have been more common in the Amuq than at Ras Shamra.

Judaidah and Ras Shamra are separated from each other by the Jebel Akra (Mount Cassius) massif. This geographical separation is reflected in the cultural differences in the chipped stone industry and pottery that we have noted between the sites. One would also point out that the stamp seals, butterfly beads and other carefully worked stone objects found at Judaidah are virtually absent at Ras Shamra and that polished stone axes are much less common at the latter site. Nonetheless the chipped stone industries at both sites are fundamentally of the same tradition both in core technique and tool types. A good deal of the Judaidah pottery and some of the other objects can also be paralleled at Ras Shamra. One may, therefore, place both sites in the same cultural group while taking note of the differences that are apparent in the two assemblages. If we knew more about the deposits of these two sites and others in their vicinities we might be able to draw finer cultural distinctions but that cannot be done at present.

The deposits of Amuq phases A and B were stratified beneath the First Mixed Range and phase C in which the earliest Halaf material was found (See Pages 114 and 138 ibid). Their stratigraphical position and the typological parallels with Ras Shamra V B and V A place Amuq A and B firmly in Neolithic 3. No C-14 determinations have ever been made on samples from Judaidah so the duration of phases A and B cannot be determined with certainty. The substantial nature of the deposits suggests that the site was occupied for much of Neolithic 3, that is for most of the 6th millennium B.C.

The Oriental Institute team surveyed all the other mounds in the Amuq plain. From the sherd collections they made they estimated that several others sites had been occupied in the Amuq A and B phases; Six mounds: Gultepe, Tell Kurdu, Tell Hasanusagi, Qaddahiyyat Ali Bey, Tell Davutpasa and Karaca Khirbat Ali were believed to contain Neolithic 3 deposits (See Page 25, 29, 30, 32, 36, and 37 in *3 Below) and ten others: Al Kanisah, Buyuktepe, Tell Turundah, Tell Mahmutliye, Burj Abdal, Tell Faruq, Hasanusagi al Daiah, Tell Karatas, Catal Huyuk and Tell Qinanah were thought possibly to have been occupied then (See Pages 22, 24, 26, 27, 29, 31 and 37 ibid) on the evidence of the surface material.

The edge of the Amuq plain near Tell Judaidah is marked by limestone hills cut by several wadis. A deep shelter in the Wadi Hammam was excavated by O'Brien at the same time that the 0riental Institute was investigating the tells on the plain. The shelter and a little of the terrace were shown to have been occupied in the Neolithic, the deposits extending over an area of about 120 square metres (See Page 174 in *4 Below). They consisted of layers of dark soil and ashes; one hearth was found but no other structures were noted. Several of the occupation layers were separated by debris which had fallen from the roof indicating that the cave could not have been inhabited continuously. Nevertheless the Neolithic material remains were homogeneous and belonged to a single cultural phase.

The Wadi Hammam shelter produced a varied collection of finds though no great quantitv of any particular type apparently. Among the flints were an Amuq 2 arrowhead, points and retouched b1ades or knives. There was also a disc core or scraper and a flint hammer as well as several obsidian blades (See Plate O ibid). A number of small greenstone axes and chisels were found in the Neolithic deposits and also a stone pestle. Slender points were the only bone tools reported. At least four carefully fashioned stone beads or pendants were found, one of which was a butterfly bead (Plate O and Figures 2 and 4 ibid) similar to examples from Abu Hureyra and also probably made of serpentine. Two of the pendants with incised designs (Plate O and Figures 4, 3 and 10 ibid) may have been used as stamp seals.

A few human bones of both babies and adults were found in the shelter (See Page 177 ibid). These may have been all that was left of intentional burials which had subsequently decayed in the soil or been disturbed.

Pottery was quite abundant in the shelter and at least two wares were represented. One was a coarse buff ware with straw temper. Parts of at least two vessels were found in this ware, one a hole-mouth bowl with incised rim decoration and the other a collared jar with a strainer incorporated in the neck (See Figures 5:12 and 6 ibid. The second ware was coloured red, brown or black on the surface and highly burnished. Hole-mouth pots, carinated bowls and collared jars were all made in this ware (See Page 176 and 177 ibid). Several were decorated with incised zig-zags or patterns of short incisions usually just below the rim.

The flint tools, other stone artifacts and the pottery can all be paralleled closely in the Amuq A and B deposits at Tell Judaidah and Dhahab nearby. The Wadi Hammam shelter was thus occupied during Neolithic 3, perhaps at the same time as the tells. It would seem, therefore, that there was intense occupation of this corner of the Amuq plain, indeed of the whole lower Afrin drainage, during the 6th millennium B.C. The size of the Wadi Hammam shelter and the nature of the occupation deposits within it suggest that it was inhabited by a few families from time to time over several centuries. The variety of artifacts found indicates that it was a settlement site rather than a temporary camp. Tell Dhahab nearby was probably a small village while Tell Judaidah was a much larger settlemeat. Thus groups of different sizes were occupying sites close together in Neolithic 3 ...

BIBLIOGRAPHY

*1 Excavations in the Plain of Antioch (1960)
R. Braidwood and L. Braidwood [Volume 61]
ORIENTAL INSTITUTE PUBLICATIONS CATALOG

*2 Obsidian and Early Cultural Contact in the Near East
C. Renfrew et al (1966) Volume 32 [Pages 30 - 72]
Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
Library of Congress # DA 670 E13 P8

*3 Mounds in the Plain of Antioch
R. Braidwood (1937) [Volume 48]
ORIENTAL INSTITUTE PUBLICATIONS CATALOG

*4 A Chalcolithic Cave Site in North Syria
T. O'Brien (1933) Volume 33 [Pages 173 - 178]
MAN: Library of Congress # GN 1 M252

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium