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Chapter 4: Neolithic 2 West Syrian Sites (Pages 272-273)

Pre-History and Archaeology Glossary

Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums:

The economy of settlements in the West Syrian group was a little different. These sites were in the Mediterranean or open forest zones and enjoyed a higher rainfall than the Euphrates settlements. One such site was Tell Ramad in an area of open forest vegetation. The inhabitants cultivated several kinds of wheat, principally emmer but also einkorn and the relatively complex club wheat (Triticum compactum) [Page 179ff in *1 Below]. Two-row hulled barley and lentils were also grown. Many of the Neolithic skeletons had worn teeth because the inhabitants were eating so many cereals ground on stone querns. Several other legumes and grasses, hawthorn fruits (Crataegus azarolus), almond and pistachio nuts were collected. This combination of cultivated cereals and legumes with the addition of wild supplements is quite similar to the plant economy of Abu Hureyra although several of the species are different. The cereals were grown without irrigation because of the higher rainfall. The wild nuts and fruits collected at Ramad were not present in the Neolithic levels at Abu Hureyra because they were not growing near the site then.

The main food animals of Ramad I and II were gazelle and deer, particularly red deer, although pigs, an equid and caprines were also present (See Page 279 in *2 and Page 195 in *3 Below). De Contenson thought that the gazelle and deer were hunted but the gazelle may have been subject to a form of human control as on other sites. The pigs certainly seem to have been herded since most of them were killed young. Red deer disappeared from this region at the end of Neolithic 2 and none of their bones was found in the settlement of Ramad III. This decline is linked with the continued rise in temperature and thinning out of the forests in this stage and later.

From the evidence available so far it would appear that the inhabitants of Neolithic 2 Ramad depended for food upon cereal and legume agriculture and the hunting or herding of gazelle, deer and pigs. This pattern of exploitation would have provided a fairly secure food supply during the centuries when the Neolithic 2 site was inhabited.

The information available for the economy of Neolithic 2 Ras Shamra is scanty at present. All we know is that bones of domesticated cattle, goat, pig and wild boar (See Page 35 in *4 Below) and also a large fish vertebra were found. This list of the major species suggests that the pattern of animal exploitation was somewhat different from any of the Euphrates sites .....

*1 Palaeobotanical Investigations at Ramad
W. van Zeist and S. Bottema (1966)
Volume 16 [Pages 179 - 180]
Annales Archéologiques Arabes Syriennes
Library of Congress # DS 94.5 A 75

*2 Tell Ramad: a Village of Syria
of the 7th and 6th Millennium

H. de Contenson [1971] Volume 24
(Pages 278 - 285) in Archaeology
Library of Congress # GN 700 A725

*3 Preliminary Reports on the Animal Remains
Found at Buqras and Ramad in 1965

D. Hooijer (1966) Volume 16 [Pages 193 - 196]
Annales Archéologiques Arabes Syriennes
Library of Congress # DS 94.5 A 75

*4 New Correlations Between Ras Shamra and Amiq (Amuq)
H. de Contensen: (1963) Number 172 [Pages 35 - 40]
American Schools of Oriental Research

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium