Other Archaeological Sites / The Neolithic of the Levant (500 Page Book Online)
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The archaeological evidence for the Neolithic of the Levant -- considered to have lasted from circa 8500 to 3750 BC -- is presented and an attempt made to explain its origins and development. The discussion is concerned with four principal themes: (1) the transition from a hunter-gatherer to a farming economy (2) the social evolution that accompanied this economical development (3) population growth immediately before and during the Neolithic and (4) the modifications in settlement patterns which followed these other changes. The environmental changes which occurred at the end of the Pleistocene and early in the Holocene are believed to be of fundamentai importance. The degree of their influence on the four main themes is examined The effects of man's own changing activities upon his environment are also considered.
The Neolithic of the Levant is divided into four stages designated Neolithic 1 to 4 on the evidence of changes in (A) economy (B) population (C) settlement patterns and (D) cultural remains. Regional groups of sites defined by their cultural material may be discerned and their evolution followed from one stage to the next. The detailed archaeological evidence is examined principally for the light it throws upon the development of the four main themes of the thesis and the contemporary changes in environment.
It is argued that the amelioration of the environment in the late Pleistocene created a greater supply of wild foods for man which stimulated population growth. This was accompanied by increased sedentism and the development of agricultural techniques. In Neolithic 2 agriculture was intensified and the population grew further. After 6000 BC the population of the Levant lived in permanent settlements supported by agriculture but these were concentrated only in the more fertile and well-watered areas of the Levant. This new way of life permitted another increase in population in Neolithic 4 despite a deterioration in the environment ...