In this paper, we discuss the occurrence of lions, bears and leopards in south Levantine archaeological assemblages between the last glacial maximum (c. 25,000 years ago) and the Iron Age (c. 2500 years ago). We argue that the occurrence of these large carnivores constitutes a significant long-term cultural feature that begins with the first settled hunter-gatherer communities of the Natufian culture. Importantly, we show that carnivoran species representation in the archaeological record shifts through time, with leopards common during the Neolithic and lions and bears during the Bronze and Iron ages. These shifts, we suggest, are best understood as reflecting the interplay between costly signalling and symbolism as they interacted through processes of increasing socio-political complexity.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies