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Chapter 4: Neolithic 2 Fakhariyah (Pages 183-184)

Pre-History and Archaeology Glossary

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Neolithic artifacts were found in unusual circumstances at Tell Fakhariyah, a large Iron Age and Classical site which lies just to the south of Ras el Ain beside one of the sources of the Khabur. The artifacts were all flint and obsidian tools though there is a possibility that some ground and polished stone axes might also be of the same age. About 1000 flint and 200 obsidian pieces were saved from soundings IV, VI and IX. They seem to have been embodied in the mud-bricks of the buildings on the site. It is thought that the mud for the bricks must have been obtained from a prehistoric deposit either on the tell itself or in the vicinity.

The flint and obsidian tools belonged to a single industry with a variety of tool types. The flint tools were mostly made on long regular blades, some parallel sided and some pointed. No cores were saved but the scars on the tools indicate that the blades were struck from double-ended cores.

The arrowheads were as much as 8 or 9 centimetres long. They were tanged with some abrupt retouch around the tang and under the tip. Some sickle blades had a little irregular retouch along the cutting edge but others had none at all nor were they retouched along the back or at the ends. End-scrapers on blades were numerous and burins were also quite common. The latter consisted of single-blow and angle burins for the most part and quite a number were made on broken tanged arrowheads. Borers were also made on blades, the long points being shaped with abrupt retouch. The only flake tools were a few disc scrapers made on quite thick flakes. Almost all of these tools were retouched abruptly, pressure-flaking being very rare. The obsidian tools were mostly blades and blade segments, a number of which were retouched along one edge. Some blades were thicker with abrupt retouch on both sides to make borers or reamers.

This assemblage is similar to the flint industry in the aceramic Neolithic levels at Abu Hureyra. The range of tool types, the way they are made and even certain details such as the reuse of broken arrowheads as burins are all the same. The principal difference would appear to be that obsidian was used more commonly in the Tell Fakhariyah assemblage, doubtless because the site was nearer the Vannic obsidian scurces.

The parallels with the Abu Hureyra flint industry are so close that one may reasonably conclude that the site from which the Tell Fakhariyah material came was inhabited about the same time, that is in Neolithic 2 during the 7th millennium. The rarity of pressure- flaking in the retouch reinforces the suggestion that the assemblage is earlier than the ceramic Neolithic at Abu Hureyra and Bouqras III. Tell Fakhariyah is the furthest to the north-east of all the known sites with a Neolithic 2 assemblage: indeed it lies well beyond the Levant proper. The significance of Tell Fakhariyah and Tell Aswad is that they show that there were sites on both the Balikh and Khabur inhabited during the 7th millennium by groups whose cultural equipment was the same as other Neolithic 2 communities living along the Euphrates ...

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