Exploring exchange and direct procurement strategies for Natufian food processing tools of el-Wad Terrace, Israel

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Abstract

We present the results of a detailed geochemical provenance study of 54 Natufian (ca. 15,000–11,700 cal. BP) basalt pestles from the site of el-Wad Terrace (EWT), Israel. It is the first time precise locations from where basalt raw materials were derived are provided. The results indicate that the Natufian hunter-gatherers used multiple sources of basaltic rocks, distributed over a large area surrounding the Sea of Galilee. This area is located at a considerable distance from EWT, ca. 60–120 km away, in a region where contemporaneous Natufian basecamps are few. We consider two possible models that suggest vehicles for the transportation of these artifacts to EWT, namely the exchange obtaining model (EOM) and the direct procurement model (DPM). We argue that these mechanisms are not mutually exclusive and may have operated together. We also suggest that at a time of increasing Natufian territoriality, a large area around the Sea of Galilee remained unclaimed. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the implications for the two models. In particular, we note that the DPM implies that technological know-how for pestle production was maintained within the EWT community.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9480
Pages (from-to)9480
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 4 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the DFG Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation and the Johannes Gutenberg University for funding the analyses and travel expenses. We would like to thank the Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, for logistic support. The EWT project was sponsored by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant 913/01), the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Irene Levi-Sala Care Archaeological Foundation, the Carmel Drainage Authority and the Faculty of Humanities, the University of Haifa. EWT is located in the Nahal Meʽarot nature reserve, managed by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. We would also like to thank A. Nativ for perusing the draft version of the paper and for his most helpful comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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