A phenomenon noted in early sedentary and semi-sedentary settlements in the southern Levant is the use of groundstone tools as 'building material' incorporated into structure walls. It is argued in this article that these artefacts should not be perceived merely as construction material, but rather they should be seen as having a symbolic purpose owing to the social and economic significance that groundstone tools acquired during the transition to agriculture and the growing importance of food processing. This assumed symbolic purpose may also originate from ritual contexts in which these artefacts processed foodstuffs and other substances, thereby becoming 'positive' symbols of prosperity and success. Such symbolic content may result from their economic significance interlaced with their association with specific persona and familial and personal heritage. It is suggested that the qualities of the tools lent an element of potency to these artefacts and probably led to their inclusion in structure walls. The linkage between persona, space and positive potency may have granted status or protection to the structures and also may have assisted in marking ownership of the property.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies