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Chapter 6: Neolithic 4 (Page 453-455)


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We know much less about the other sites in this South Palestine group so I will describe them briefly. Some Neolithic 4 pottery and flints were found in the Murabbat cave in a wadi between Bethlehem and the Dead Sea. This cave was inhabited in both Neolithic 4 and the Chalcolithic. Among the Neolithic 4 pots were seversl globular jars with hole-mouth rims, collared or splayed necks and bow rims. There were also flat-based bowls with flared sides and a carinated bowl. A number of these vessels had been decorated with red wash or slip and incised herringbone patterns. Some of the pots were burnished. These vessels resemble those found at Jericho in Pottery Neolithic B.

Similar material is known from several sites in the southern Jordan Valley. A little pottery like that from Pottery Neolithc B Jericho was excavated by Hennessy from basal layers at Ghassul itself. More was found at Tell Saidiyeh. This site lies 2.5 kilometres west of Kureiyima in the central section of the valley. Neolithic sherds were collected in the vicinity of the western part of the site, Tell Saidiyeh Gharbi. They were incised with herringbone patterns in reserved bands, the rest of the sherds being painted red. These sherds are also similar to Pottery Neolithic B pots from Jericho indicating that the site was occupied during Neolithic 4.

Another site was discovered east of the Jordan Valley beside the old road from Amman to Jerash near Salihi. Traces of an occupation layer and remains of house walls could be seen in a section of the site exposed at the side of the road. Both hand-made sherds and flints were collected. Two red burnished sherds were incised with reserved chevrons which suggests that the site may have been inhabited inNeolithic 4.

Two sites north of Jericho in the Judean hills have yielded material similar to Pottery Neolithic B Jericho. One is Shechem near Nablus where there was a Neolithic deposit at the bottom of the site. A clay lined pit 40 centimetres deep and some trodden surfaces were excavated here. Associated with these features were much charcoal, animal bones, flints and pottery. Many of the pottery jars had bow rims, one of the diagnostic features of pots of this phase.

The other site is Tell Farah (North) a little further north which was first occupied in Neolithic 2. Neoithic 4 flints and pottery were found here with pit dwellings, trodden surfaces and hearths. Among the pots were a number of hole-mouth and other jars some of which had bow rims. Several of these vessels bore lugs or strap handles with splayed attachments. There were also many hemispherical cups and bowls and others with splayed sides. Most of the vessels were relatively well fired with fabrics tempered with grit but little straw. Many had been painted red or coated in red slip and burnished.

The other sites in the South Palestine group are further south. One, Ziqim, is 8.5 kilometres south-west of Ashkelon on the coast. It was excavated in 1974 when remains of huts and pits with several hearths were found. The flints associated with these features belonged to a Late Neolithic assemblage. The potsherds came from globular vessels with flat bases which were probably jars and bowls. These had knob and strap handles. The vessels were decorated with red wash or slip and burnished which suggests that the site was occupied in Neolithic 4 rather than Neolithic 3.

Several of the Wadi Ghazzeh sites were occupied briefly in this phase. A number of pits were excavated in the lower levels of sites D, M and O and associated with these were Late Neolithic flints and pottery. There was some coarse pottery typical of this phase and also some finer vessels painted with red wash and burnished. Among these vessels were globular hole-mouth jars and others with collared necks. These had knob or strap handles. Bowls with splayed sides and other more rounded ones were also quite common. This material is sufficiently like that from Pottery Nolithic B Jericho to indicate that these sites were inhabited in Neolithic 4. Their main phase of occupation was in the Chalcolithic from which most of the other material found on them was derived ...

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