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Neolithic Palestinian Tahunian Period

Pre-History and Archaeology Glossary

NOTE: The Tahunian is variously referred to as an archaeological culture -- flint industry -- and period of the Palestinian Stone Age around Wadi Tahuna near Bethlehem ... It is no longer widely used but would appear to be an early PPNB culture of the Levantine corridor circa 8800-7600 calibrated BCE according to the ASPRO chronology (A) ...

(1) Arrowheads of the Neolithic Levant by Avi Gopher (1994)

Comment: In Chapter 2 Avi Gopher provides a very useful discussion of the history of Neolithic research in the Levant and divides the period into four chronological stages. The first was an exploratory stage commencing with the 1928 definition by Denis Buzy of the fuzzy concept of "Tahunian". Gopher does an admirable job of showing the complexity that arose with this term ...

In 1928 Buzy defined the Tahunian on the basis of collections from a number of sites in Wadi Tahunia near Bethlehem in (2). The collections or tool assemblages were from mostly surface sites and in different states of preservation. It is clear even from their preliminary descriptions that some were mixed [chronologically speaking] and contained earlier elements such as microlithis and later elements such as pottery.

The Tahunian was defined [then] as a Mesolithic Culture (See The Mesolithic of the Levant) on the basis of the tool assemblage which chiefly contained (1) bifacial tools such as picks and axes with working edges shaped by transversal blows - (2) flint knives - (3) endscrapers - (4) many arrowheads of various types (*) - (5) finely denticulated sickle blades - (6) stone tools for pounding and grinding (mainly mortars and cupmarks). Buzy avoided calling these asseblages Neolithic because the definition then currently in use required the appearance of (1) polished bifacial tools or sawlike blades - (2) "advanced" (leaf-shaped) arrowheads - (3) large grinding stones -- to qualify as Neolithic. Nevertheless Buzy stated that morphologically the flint assemblages of the Neolithic and Mesolithic were of the same "family" and that the Tahunian represented a final stage in the Mesolithic -- that is a Proto-Neolithic stage that developed "naturally" without any gaps or signs of violence into the Neolithic. Apparently only formal considerations concerning then-contemporary definitions of cultures prevented Buzy from asserting that the Tahunian was a Neolithic Culture.

The chaos surrounding the term Tahunian and its stratigraphic placement still remains. In essence it seems that this term is no longer in use and only has any real meaning in attempting to explain the evolution of the chronology of the Levantine Neolithic and its stratigraphy -- especially the PPNB .....

(1) Arrowheads of the Neolithic Levant by Avi Gopher (1994)

(2) Une Industrie Mesolithique en Palestine by Denis Buzy in Revue Biblique --- Volume 37 (Pages 558 -78) (1928)

(A) Tahunian --- WikiPedia

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium