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Chapter 6: Neolithic 4 (Pages 428-433)


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Much less is known about the other surface stations known to have been occupied contemporaneously with Neolithique Moyen Byblos so that I shall discuss these only briefly. Nebaa Jalluk is situated in the hills at the extreme northern end of the montains of Lebanon about 8 kilometres south of Tell Kalakh. The site was occupied in the Neolithic as well as in later periods. The Neolithic material consisted of flint tools, obsidian blades and a few sherds, one of which had an applied, decorated band and was burnished. Among the flints were tanged arrowheads, finely and coarsely denticulated segmented sickle blades, axes and adzes. This material is thought principally to resemble finds from Byblos Neolithique Moyen although the site may have been inhabited both in Neolithic 3 and later in Neolithic 4.

Kubbah I north of Batrun was occupied in Neolithic 3 as we have seen but continued to be inhabited in Neolithic 4. The collection from the site in the Universite Saint-Joseph include segmented sickle blades with both fine and coarse denticulation as well as long, narrow trapezoidal axes and adzes which are more atypical of Neolithique Moyen than Neolithique Ancien at Byblos. A basalt hoe was also found here like the one from Muktara though we do not know if it came from the Neolithic 3 or Neolithic 4 levels at the site.

An assemblage similar to the Neolithic 4 material from Kubbah I has been found on the beach south of Batrun and this station has been designated Batrun III. Another site lying beside the sea has been found on the south side of the mouth of the Wadi Helwe 6.5 kilometres north of Byblos. The site is said to have yielded tanged arrowheads, sickle blades, axes, scrapers, borers and fragments of stone bowls resembling Neolithique Moyen material from Byblos. Further south Maameltein II overlooks the bay of Jounieh at an elevation of between 15 and 20 metres. Some material was collected here by Bergy which resembles Neolithique Moyen finds from Byblos.

The site of Kleat is about 8 kilometres east-south-east of Jounieh at an elevation of 1000 metres. Material said to be comparable to Byblos Neolithique Moyen was found here by Nasrallah. Jiita I is also a little distance inland in the Nahr Kelb but at a lower elevation of 70 metres. The site is a deep cave which was partly excavated by Zumoffen and in which other workers have also found flints and pottery. Some of the flints and pottery are believed to resemble Neolithique Moyen material at Byblos so the site was probably occupied then as well as in other periods. Mukalles/Hsaima is on the valley floor of the Nehr Beirut 6.5 kilometres south-east of the city. The Neolithic material found on this site consisted of flint axes and adzes, denticulated segmented sickle blades, arrowheads and end-scrapers, all of which are thought to belong to a Neolithique Moyen assemblage.

The other sites are near the coast of Beirut. One, Site 6, is in the Sands areas 8 kilometres south of Beirut near the Airport Terminal building. Some flints of Byblos Neolithique Moyen type have been found here as well as Palaeolithic material. Another site, Habarjer III, is 3 kilometres east-south-east of Khalde among open hills. The Neolithic flints collected here consisted of small and medium-sized trapezoidal axes and adzes, oval axes, some larger adzes, picks and choppers, tanged Byblos points, both finely and coarsely-denticulated segmented sickle blades, end and side-scrapers on flakes, burins, borers and knives. The arrowheads, sickle blades, and some of the axes and other tools would fit both a Byblos Neolithique Ancien and Moyen context. The likelihood is that the site was first used in Neolithic 3 and then continued to be inhabited well into Neolithic 4.

The next site to the south is Yerate on the left bank of the mouth of the Nehr Damur. An arrowhead, axe, adze, several segmented sickle blades and scrapers were found here with much waste flint. The site is certainly Neolithic and may have been occupied in this phase.

The next most southerly site of this group is Chalaboun which lies among the hills which are part of the Galilee uplands near the present frontier with Israel. The site is 2 kilometres north-east of Ain Ebel beside the road to Bint Jbail. The material from here consisted of several types of axes, chisels, borers, burins and segmented sickle blades. The Cauvins have attributed this site to the early part of Neolithic 4 contemporary with Neolithique Moyen Byblos.

Neolithique Moyen at Byblos was a short-lived phase, especially when compared with Neolithique Recent. One might be surprised therefore that at least 17 other sites have been found on the western side of the Moutains of Lebanon which can be attributed to the same phase. It should be remembered however that all have to be dated on typological grounds and that many of the flint types used were current in at least one other phase of the Byblos sequence. These sites were not necessarily occupied or visited only during the centuries the Neolithique Moyen settlement at Byblos was inhabited but later in Neolithic 4 also and perhaps in Neolithic 3.

In contrast with the relative abundance of Neolithique Moyen sites few stations with material similar to that of Neolithique Recent have been discovered. Nearly all those that are known are in the vicinity of Beirut which suggests at once that this is more the result of concentration of archaeological activity in this area than any certain reduction in the number of sites occupied in the rest of western Lebanon. More is known about Asfurieh II than other sites since Cauvin has published the collection Bergy made here. This station lies about 8 kilometres south-east of Beirut beside the road to Damascus at an altitude of about 280 metres; it is probably now buried by the vilagge of Fayadiyeh. The flints from this site consisted of a series of trapezoidal axes and adzes with straight cutting edges, a few chisels, borers, burins, end-scrapers, side-scrapers and a fan-scraper on tabular flint. Cauvin points out that the typology of these tools closely matches that of the Byblos Neolithiique Recent assemblage. From the types represented it would seem that the inhabitants of the site engaged in much woodworking.

Two sites thought to be of this phase have been found in the Sands. One, Quzai, is 5 kilometres south of Beirut to the east of the Sidon road. Flints were collected over a wide area by several workers. They included long, narrow adzes, finely-denticulated segmented sickle blades and borers which Cauvin believed matched the Neolithique Recent assemblage from Byblos. The other, Sands site 10, is about 7 kilometres south of Beirut also just to the east of the Sidon road. Flints of several periods were found over a wide area here. Some of them, including a number of axes, were said to be like Neolithique Recent material from Byblos.

Two more sites are situated near the Sidon road further south. The first, Khalde I, is 12 kilometres south of Beirut on a hill above the road to the east. Once again the flints were spread over a wide area but they formed a homogeneous assemblage. The tools consisted of finely-denticulated segmented sickle blades, end-scrapers, steep-scrapers, several adzes, borers, and a tanged arrowhead. From the typology of these pieces it appeared that the site was contemporary with Neolithique Recent at Byblos although it may have been used in the preceding phase also. Khalde IV is 17 kilometres south of Beirut and 11 metres above sea level. The flints found here were finely-denticulated sickle blades and various scrapers which are thought to be similar to Khalde I and thus contemporary with Byblos Neolithique Recent.

Two more sites of this phase were found long ago by Bovier-Lapierre in southern Lebanon. One, Ain Hannine, is 2 kilometres west of Ain Ebel. A great many flint tools and waste were found near the spring which are now in the Universite Saint-Joseph. The most abundant tools were a series of axes, adzes and chisels, not all of which were finished. There were also some end and side-scrapers as well as a few awls, knives and a tanged arrowhead. The few sickle blades were segmented and backed with nibbled edge retouch or plain cutting edges. The material also included cores and hammers. The abundance of the axes and the unfinished condition of some of them have led to suggestions that this was a factory site. This is probably correct but the wide range of the other tools that I have seen indicate that this was also a settlement. The typology of the axes and sickle blades is similar to that of Byblos Neolithique Recent placing it in Neolithic 4 but Palestinian parallels for this material would indicate that the site was ocupied late in this phase.

Birket Rama is 19 kilometres due east of Nakura on the coast and west of Ain Hannine. This site is also near a spring. The flints which included many axes as well as long chisels and picks are also said to resemble Neolithique Recent material from Byblos.Wadi Yaroun, lies 2 kilometres south of Ain Ebel near the frontier between Lebanon and Israel. The site consisted of a dense scatter of flint flakes among which were axes, scrapers and other tools. Some were sufficiently diagnostic for the site to be assigned to a late stage of Neolithic 4. This station may have been a factory site although the finished state of some of the artifacts indicates it was also inhabited as a settlement.

I will now discuss the Neolithic 4 sites which have been discovered in the Bekaa. These differ sufficiently from the sites on the coast to be classed as a second sub-group within the South Syrian group of Neolithic 4 sites ...

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