HOME / Table of Contents = Civilizations - Cultures - Areas - Regions - Prehistory
Other Archaeological Sites / The Neolithic of the Levant (500 Page Book Online)

Epi-Palaeolithic (European Mesolithic) Natufian Culture of Israel

Other Natufian Culture Sites Include:

Nahal Oren / Ein Gev / Ain Mallaha / Hayonim / Beidha
Proto-Neolithic Jericho / Mureybat / Abu Hureyra

Selected Excerpts on Natufian Culture:

1. Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times
Donald Redford -- Princeton University (1992)

2. The Neolithic of the Levant -- Page 34
A. M. T. Moore -- Oxford University

3. The Neolithic of the Near East
James Mellaart (1975)

In 1928 the Brittish School in Jerusalem undertook the excavation of the Cave of Shukba, discovered by Pere Alexis Mallon. The cave lies among the Judaean hills. It opens onto the northern side of the Wadi en Natuf (1).

The Natufian culture occupies a special place in the evolution of human societies in the Near East, namely that of the threshold to the emergence of farming communities. The idea that the Natufians were the earliest farmers is as old as the original discovery of the cultural remains by Garrod. What seemed at the time an intuitive suggestion is now considered the right interpretation. The shift from hunting and gathering with some horticulture to a true farming economy seems a logical continuum (2).

After Jericho Shuqba Village is believed to be one of if not the oldest village in Palestine. The many ruins around Shuqba are proof of these very ancient beginnings. Shuqba was first inhabited during the the Natufian era. The Natufian Culture is defined by an assemblage which includes microlithic components of complex tools. Natufians may have moved within a territory to exploit their resources most effectively but they certainly maintained base villages (3).

(1) A New Mesolithic Industry: The Natufian of Palestine by Dorothy Garrod (1932)
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland

(2) The Natufian Culture and the Origin of the Neolithic in the Levant by O. Bar-Yosef and F. Valla
Current Anthropology (1990) Volume 31 -- Number 4 -- Pages 433-436

(3) The Natufian in the Levant by Anna Belfer-Cohen (1991)
Annual Review of Anthropology -- Volume 20 (Pages 167-186)

The Natufian Culture in the Levant: Threshold to the Origins of Agriculture by Ofer Bar-Yosef
Evolutionary Anthropology -- Volume -- Pages 159-177 (1998)

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium