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The Neolithic of the Levant (1978)
A.M.T. Moore (Oxford University)

Neolithic 1 Abu Salem (Pages 60:113:114:116)

Pre-History and Archaeology Glossary

Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums:

(Page 60) The oldest dated site in the Negev with early Neolithic affinities is Abu Salem from which three determinations have been obtained of 8020 +/- 150 BC I-5498 : 8280 +/- 150 BC I-5499 and 8280 +/- 150 BC I-5500 .....

Harifian Sites: (Page 113) ...... another group of sites with a post Mesolithic 2 industry has recently been found in the Negev and northern Sinai. The type site is Abu Salem (G12) on the Har Harif Plateau. The Har Harif Plateau is the highest area in the Negev and all the sites there are all at an elevation of nearly 1000 meters.

Artifacts at Abu Salem were spread over 2500 square meters but it is believed that this was partly due to natural slope wash and that occupation was confined to 1600 square meters of the present site. Abu Salem had some occupation deposit in situ - 234 square meters of which has been excavated.

The site consisted of a series of circular and oval stone walled sructures - the larger ones being from 3 to 4 meters and the smaller from 1 to 2 meters in diameter. The larger structures were presumably dwellings but the smaller ones probably served another purpose. Stone grinders were found in the excavation as well as slabs with cup marks in them - several of which were stained with ochre. There were also nine bone points - dentalium and a variety of other marine shells from the Mediterranean and Red Sea.

In contrast with this sparse inventory of artifacts the chipped stone industry was exceptionally abundant. The raw material was principally a very fine grained translucent flint much used on Mesolithic 2 sites in the (Page 114) area although some of the larger tools were made on medium and coarse grained opaque flint. The industry was microlithic with tools being made on small flakes and blades struck from prismatic and pyramidal cores. Microliths comprised 40% of the flint artifacts. Many of these were lunates with abrupt backing the remainder being triangles and trapezes. The type fossil of the industry was the Harif point which comprised 8.4% of the tools. Harif points are diamond shaped obliquely truncated blades with a stemmed base. The base is often prepared by the microburin technique and microburins are a common by-product of the Abu Salem industry.

The other main classes of tools at Abu Salem were scrapers (10.7%) [usually end scrapers on flakes] - notched (12.2%) and truncated (8.4%) pieces - a wide variety of small backed blades (20.8%) and a few nibbled pieces. Burins (0.7%) and sickle blades (0.2%) were very rare.

Three samples from Abu Salem have now been dated - all being from rubbish pits excavated in the settlement. These determinations are mutually consistent and indicate that the site was occupied towards the end of the 9th millennium BC perhaps between 8300 and 8000 BC.

(Page 116) The structures and chipped stone industry at Abu Salem and other Harifian sites had much in common with Mesolithic 2 in the Negev. The Harifian and Negev Mesolithic 2 flint industries were based on the production of small tools from prismatic and pyramidal cores. In both microliths - particulary lunates - usually predominated and microburins were a common by-product. Of the other tool types end-scrapers on flakes and notched pieces were often numerous in both industries. These similarities are sufficiently comprehensive to suggest that the Harifian was derived from Mesolithic 2 in the Negev although there are quite significant differences between the artifacts of these two complexes ...

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