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Chapter 5: Neolithic 3 Tell Labweh (Pages 343-344)

Pre-History and Archaeology Glossary

Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums:

Tell Labweh (South) was first occupied at the end of Neolithic 2 as we have seen but continued to be inhabited well into Neolithic 3. The rectangular building just below the surface in Trench A and the upper Neolithic pits in Trench B belonged to this stage (See Page 46ff in *1 Below). The layers associated with these structures contained flints - pottery and white plaster vessels which may be compared with material from Byblos. Among the arrowheads were Byblos points found in this region late in Neolithic 2 but also characteristic of Neolithic 3. The sickle blades from the upper levels at Labweh differed from those in the basal deposits in that they were segmented and backed with denticulated cutting edges like some of those from Neolithique Ancien Byblos (See Page 50 ibid).

Not much pottery was found at Labweh (See Page 48 ibid) but the sherds that were recovered were all of a well-fired ware with a little grit and straw filler. Most of the vessels were brown or black in colour although some had a red surface. Their forms were either hole-mouth jars or bowls and most had been burnished. One sherd came from a vessel that had been wiped over with a handful of straw - a kind of finish rare in Syria and Lebanon but found on several Palestinian sites in this and the next stage. Some of the vessels had been decorated with chevrons and other combed and incised patterns as well as cord impressions. Burnished vessels of this type are characteristic of the Neolithique Ancien of Byblos though combed decoration is not found there; this seems to have been more common on inland sites. Labweh is one of the few excavated sites occupied in both Neolithic 2 and Neolithic 3 and the flints and other material from the site reveal some aspects of this transition.

The remaining sites which I shall describe have been found in surface surveys; none of them has been excavated ....

Tell Labweh North

Tell Labweh North is a substantial site which occupies a low spur a few hundred metres north of Tell Labweh on the other side of the Orontes springs (See Page 74 in *2 Below). Flints - pottery and a fragment of obsidian were collected from the surface of the site. The most diagnostic flint tools were tanged pressure-flaked arrowheads - a series of backed segmented sickle blades with fine denticulation and flaked trapezoidal axes with polished cutting edges.

Some of the sherds came from brown or black burnished vessels which had been decorated with cord impressions. There were also a few pattern burnished sherds - a rare occurrence on sites this far south - as well as sherds with a red slip which had been burnished in some instances. A few pieces of white plaster ware were also recovered from the site.

Most of the flints and pottery together with the white plaster ware resemble material found at Tell Labweh and Neolithique Ancien Byblos. This would indicate that the site was occupied in Neolithic 3. The sickle blades are of a type found at Tabbat Hammam and on other sites in this region in the next stage. The red slipped and burnished pottery is a slightly later type so the site may have continued to have been inhabited into the next stage .....


*1 Early Byblos and the Bakaa (1969)
Diana Kirkbride Volume 45 (Pages 43-60)
Mélanges de l'Université Saint-Joseph (Beirut Lebanon)
Library of Congress # PJ 3001 B5

*2 Inventory of Stone Age Sites in Lebanon
Part 2: North - South - East Central Lebanon
L. Copeland and P. Wescombe in Volume 42 (Pages 1-174)
Mélanges de l'Université Saint-Joseph (Beirut Lebanon)
Library of Congress # PJ 3001 B5

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium