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Chapter 6: Neolithic 4 Tell Ain Nfaikh (Pages 435-436)

Pre-History and Archaeology Glossary

Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums

Tell Ain Nfaikh is on the west side of the Beka'a midway between Rayak and Baalbek and 300 metres east of the Litani River. The site is now ploughed flat and the remains of the pre-historic occupation are concentrated in an area of no more than 100 square metres. The site was also used in Bronze Age and Classical times and material from these phases has been found over a wide area.

The chipped stone tools collected from the surface and now in the Universite Saint-Joseph included many segmented sickle blades. These were usually short but relatively wide with nibbled or finely-denticulated cutting edges. Few other flint tools were found but among them were tanged arrowheads, axes and chisels, borers, end-scrapers and side-scrapers, some of which were on tabular flint, and burins. Obsidian was used at the site and there was one small axe made of imported greenstone.

Pottery was quite abundant and included some fine wares as well as many coarse sherds. The fabrics were buff, grey or black tempered with straw and some grit. The vessels were quite hard-fired though unevenly finished by smoothing with a hand or wiped with straw. The jars had flat bases with collared necks, some of which were flared; there were also jars with bow rims. Some of the coarser ware jars were globular with hole-mouth rims. Bowls were hemispherical or flat-based with flared sides. The fine wares were frequently decorated with red or sometimes black wash or slip which was often burnished. Other vessels were not coloured but burnished all the same. There was at least one sherd with a painted lattice pattern which had also been burnished. Some vessels, both coloured and plain, were decorated with incised designs of lines and stab marks and finger impressions in the rims.

The affinities of the flints are with Byblos Neolithique Moyen and Recent although the precise shape of the sickle blades is different. The shapes of the pots and their decoration resemble Byblos Neolithique Moyen more than Recent though again such frequent use of surface colour is more typical of Ain Nfaikh, Ard Tlaili and other Bekaa sites. Thus Tell Ain Nfaikh seems to have been occupied first when Neolithique Moyen Byblos and Tell Ard Tlaili were flourishing settlements but probably continued to be inhabited until later in Neolithic 4 ...

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