Thousands of crushed olive stones with olive pulp are concentrated in pits at the Kfar Samir prehistoric settlement off the Carmel coast south of Haifa. Observations at this site, and at other Late Neolithic to Early Chalcolithic offshore settlements in this region, record an olive-oil technology that began along the Carmel coastal plain as early as 6500 years ago. This is about 500 years earlier than previously held. These new finds help define the technology of olive-oil production and refine the chronological definition of cultural units along the southern Levant coast during the 7th millennium BP, a time of major transition between the end of the Neolithic and beginning of the Chalcolithic.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The manuscript was reviewed by D. Eitam, A. N. Ellis, S. L. Soter, and E. Wright. We thank the Israel Antiquities Authority, U.S. National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Short-Term Visitor Program and National Geographic Society for funding the project, Prof D. Zohary for his assistance during the early phase of this study, Prof A. Gopher for his useful remarks, S. Ben Yehuda for assistance in editing the manuscript, J. Galili for underwater photographs and C. Bassan for olive stone photographs.
- Carmel coast
- Late neolithic
- Olive-oil extraction
- Submerged settlements
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