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Neolithic Neba'a Faour

Selected Excerpts on Neba'a Faour

The Neolithic of the Levant (1978)
A.M.T. Moore (Oxford University)

Chapter 5: Neolithic 3 Neba'a Faour (Page 344-345)

Pre-History and Archaeology Glossary

The site is a large but low tell lying against the limestone foothills on the east side of the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. It is 5 kilometres from the present border with Syria. It is perhaps 850 metres above sea level and several metres higher than the valley floor at this point.

Most of the surface-finds (sic) fall in the Neolithique Ancien Period as at Byblos; although some pieces are more characteristic of Tell Ramad. This places Neba'a Faour within the earliest pottery Neolithic Phase of the Levant. The core contains 7-8 feet of Neolithic deposits including possible stone-wall footings and the remains of floor levels. The most interesting architectural feature is a series of fine cream-plaster floors which must belong to a Neolithique Ancien or earlier phase.

The flint collected was homogeneous typologically and much like the Neolithique Ancien and Moyen flint of Byblos except in three respects: (I) unlike Byblos the flint was evidently knapped on the spot - waste and cores being common; (II) heavy tools such as axes are virtually non-existent whereas at Byblos quite distinctive short round-bitted axes occur which though not abundant amount to 3.8% of the industry; (III) scrapers - said to be rare (1.7%) at Byblos - seem to be quite numerous here. The lithics assemblage also included (1) both pyramidal and double-ended cores for blades and bladelets as well as Levallois cores (2) tanged and stemmed arrowheads as well as javelins (3) large-toothed sickle-blade elements with lustre (4) burins and (5) borers.

There are many handmade dark-faced burnished ware (DFBW) sherds; none with the pattern-burnishing which occurs at Byblos and the Amuq. The forms of the pots show little variation: they include plain-rimmed rounded bowls or inverted or straight-sided bowls with burnished ring-bases -- knob or ledge handles in the fine wares and slightly coarser wares in the same forms. The fabric of the thin-walled pots is a fine dark clay with sand. The other fabric is also characteristic of Byblos Ancien and Ramad II: the white vessel made of self hardening plaster. The white vessel -- unknown in Anatolia - Iraq - Palestine -- seems to be used exclusively in a small province stretching from Ramad to Ras Shamra (Ugarit) including the coast. It has been described as one of the solutions to the need for containers and also likened to portable silos.

This basal layer or Phase I of Neba'a Faour also had similarities to Tell Labweh (South) when we consider the obsidian pieces - stone vessels and white vessel fragments. Interestingly enough Neba'a Faour forms a connecting link between the other sites concerned; it is situated roughly in the middle of the others mentioned here (See *2 Below). Chronologically it appears from an extensive survey and soundings done in the Jordan Valley in 1953 and later work (SEE Excerpt) that this phase existed at the time of what is known as the hiatus palestinien when the Pre-Pottery B cultures of Jericho - Beidha - Sheikh Ali and Munhatta disappeared for good and their sites abandoned; in other words from about 6000-5500 BC ...

*1 Inventory of Stone Age Sites in Lebanon (1966)
Part 2: North - South - East Central Lebanon

Copeland and Wescombe in Volume 42 (Pages 1-174)
Mélanges de l'Université Saint-Joseph (Beirut Lebanon)
Library of Congress # PJ 3001 B5

*2 Neolithic Village Sites in the South Beqaa Lebanon
L. Copeland (1969) Volume 45 (Pages 83-114)
Mélanges de l'Université Saint-Joseph (Beirut Lebanon)
Library of Congress # PJ 3001 B5

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