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Chapter 3: Neolithic 1 Khiam (Pages 107-108)

Pre-History and Archaeology Glossary

Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums:

Material comparable to the chipped stone industry at Jericho in the Proto-Neolithic/PPNA has been found at a fifth site in Palestine at Khiam. This site lay on the west side of the Wadi Khareitun in the Judean desert. In a limestone cliff above the wadi there was a series of shelters now empty but which may have been occupied in prehistory. In front of these a wide terrace sloped steeply down to the wadi floor. This terrace appears to have been a large open air site that was occupied in each cultural stage from the Aurignacian to the Neolithic. The site has been excavated twice, by Neuville in 1933 and Echegaray in 1962. Neuville dug two trenches, trench I in the centre of the terrace and trench II 20 metres further south. Echegaray placed his trench further up the slope behind Neuville's trench I. Because the site inclined so steeply all the archaeological layers had suffered from heavy erosion and mixing so that little of the material excavated was recovered from its original position. Thus although the occupation sequence at the site is fairly clear the composition of the industries associated with each phase cannot be precisely determined.

Level B in the upper part of Neuville's sequence was divided into two subphases, B2 which was ascribed to the Natufian and B1 called Upper Natufian by Perrot. It was in this layer, B1, that Khiam points were found for the first time, the type-fossil of the Proto-Neolithic/PPNA at Jericho and layers IV to II at Nahal Oren. The presence of this type and certain other differences distinguished level B1 from the Natufian B2 and also from levels A3 and A2 above. The industry in the latter layers had much in common with PPNB levels at Jericho and levels 6 to 3 at Munhatta.

If one compares the stratigraphy and typology of the assemblages in these levels with Echegaray's more detailed sequence then Neuville's B2 is the same as levels 7 (Kebaran II) and 6 (Kebaran III). Levels 8 (Kebaran I) and 5 (Khiamian I) also had a number of lunates and other microliths which suggest that they were principally composed of Natufian remains. True Khiam points did not occur until level 4 (Khiamian II) in Echegaray's sequence although certain heavy tools such as stone axes which might more properly belong with this industry were found in level 5; each level contained material derived from other phases as is only to be expected at a site where much soil movement had taken place. Levels 4 and 3 (Prototahunian) appear to correspond to Neuville's B1 and levels 2 (Prototahunian) and 1 (Tahunian) to Neuville's A, 1 to 3.

The assemblage in levels 4 aad 3 included a number of burins and scrapers as well as many retouched blades, rather more than Neuville found apparently. These discrepancies can partly be explained by the idiosyncratic typing practised by Echegaray.

There were also lunates, backed and truncated bladelets, microburins and in level 3 a few tanged arrowheads with squamous retouch and some large blades, most of which were probably intrusive from other layers; Neuville's B1 contained the same admixture. This makes it particularly difficult to determine the principal characteristics of the industry in these levels so that one can do no more than point to a general similarity with the industries in Proto-Neolithic/PPNA Jericho and Nahal Oren IV to II. This similarity extended to the use of pestles, other grinders, mortars, and stone bowls, all of which occurred in level 4 and which were abundant in Neuville's trenches; there was also a clay anthropomorphic figurine from this level. Bone tools do not appear to have been recovered in either excavation ...

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