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Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times
Donald Redford -- Princeton University (1992)

Winner of the 1993 Best Scholarly Book in Archaeology
Award of the Biblical Archaeological Society

Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums:

The optimum habitat for the domestication of wheat and barley - sheep and cattle is the Mediterranean type woodlands of the Fertile Crescent. The earliest known human society that we see in process of developing an economy based first on the systematic gathering of wild cereals and then on their artificial production was to be found in Palestine - TransJordan and Lebanon between about 10000 and 8000 BC. Prehistorians dubbed this culture Natufian after the type-site just north of Jerusalem. Although obliged to adopt a partly migratory existence because of their hunting and fishing they did possess more or less permanent settlements which centered upon caves or were located on hilltops close to springs. While hunting and fishing continued as the main means of livelihood the existence of mortars - pestles - storage bins and sickles suggest the harvesting of grain was known and practiced by the Natufians.

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium