Combustion features are routinely studied using micro-geoarchaeology in prehistoric sites, providing information on human social life. In submerged prehistory such features have not been studied from the microscopic perspective, and here we present a study of three combustion features from two submerged Neolithic sites from the southeastern Mediterranean: Atlit-Yam (ninth-millennium cal BP) and Neve Yam (eighth-millennium cal BP). Mineralogical analyses were utilized to detect heated clay while quantification of phytoliths, ash pseudomorphs, and dung spherulites allowed determination of fuel sources. Micromorphology was deployed to determine whether or not the features represent in situ combustion activities and to understand formation processes. Two installations from Atlit-Yam contain evidence for short in situ fire events that were fueled by wood and reached 700–900 °C. One installation from Neve Yam contains reworked deposits that bear evidence for combustion at 500–700 °C, includes remains of wood ash and livestock dung. However, this feature cannot be identified with certainty as an in situ combustion feature. This research shows that pyrotechnological, functional, and social information can be gleaned from underwater combustion features using a micro-geoarchaeological approach and techniques.
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- FTIR microspectroscopy
- Southern Levant
- formation processes
- underwater archaeology
ASJC Scopus subject areas