Foodways of an agro-pastoral community: Organic residue analysis of pottery and stone vessels at Middle Chalcolithic Tel Tsaf

Rivka Chasan, Florian Klimscha, Cynthianne Spiteri, Danny Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tel Tsaf is a Middle Chalcolithic (ca. 5200–4700 cal BC) site located in the central Jordan Valley, Israel. The site reflects increasing long-distance trade, organized cereal crop cultivation and possibly olive horticulture. Organic residue analysis of lipids recovered from 100 pottery vessels and three stone vessels and comparison to the botanical and faunal remains suggest that the vessels were used to contain or process various combinations of domestic animal and plant products and that these food products were supplemented by local wild plants. This shows direct continuity of dietary traditions from the preceding Neolithic period; however, there were some developments within the suite of domesticated resources, including the earliest direct evidence for milk exploitation in the southern Levant. Culinary traditions incorporated recipes where these food products were cooked and consumed together in various combinations. These dietary patterns were a part of daily life at Tel Tsaf, adding another layer to our understanding of the village and the culinary traditions of the Middle Chalcolithic period in the southern Levant.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103491
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Tel Tsaf 2017–2019 excavations were conducted under IAA licenses G-39/2017, G-20/2018 and G-45/2019. The project is generously supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF grant 2016/17), the Rust Family Foundation, the Irene Levi-Sala CARE Foundation, the Eurasia Department of the German Archaeological Institute and the Zinman Institute of Archaeology. We would like to thank S. Haad and K. Hruby for the pottery and stone vessel drawings. Finally, a big thanks to S. Buckley for his wise insights and comments on an earlier version of the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Chalcolithic
  • Food
  • GC-c-IRMS
  • GC–MS
  • Organic residue analysis
  • Southern levant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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