This Summer 2013 I presented at an international conference at the University of Haifa in Israel called, “Bones and Identity: Reconstructing Social and Cultural Landscapes in the Archaeozoology of Southwest Asia” or ASWA. A PDF copy of the conference program, which includes all accepted abstracts can be found HERE. A summary of the research I presented can be found on my most recent blog post (CLICK HERE TO READ). I plan to publish an article once further research is concluded, so be on the look out this winter 2013. After the conference I joined a team of excavators from the Pre Pottery Neolithic C (PPNC) site of Beisamoun, Israel for three weeks. You can read a bit of information below about the site and see a few pictures from this summer’s excavation.
The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, was directed by H. Khalaily and F. Bocquentin, with the assistance of N. Samulien (field supervision; Paris I).
“The site of Beisamoun is located in the central Levant, in the northern part of the Jordan Valley.The major settlement dates to the PPNB but some sectors were also occupied later. Since the 1950s several surveys, surface mapping and collecting, and deep soundings were conducted in order to demarcate the borders of the Neolithic settlement partly destroyed by modern fish-breeding ponds. In 1972 a short rescue excavation yielded a rectangular plastered floor structure with different burials, a rich lithic assemblage and two plastered skulls. During the summer of 2007 a two week exploratory excavation was held in order to test the north-western part of the site left unexplored since the 1970s. The results demonstrate the preservation of a promising sector of the Neolithic village. Based on preliminary techno-typological observations of the flint assemblage (over 8000 artifacts), it is possible to attribute the occupational layer to the later stage of the PPNB (Pre-pottery Neolithic B) period.
From its surface area and its time period, Beisamoun might be part of the mega-site phenomenon of the southern Levant first described by Rollefson (1989). This term is restricted, for the moment, to the large aggregation sites located on the eastern side of the Jordan River, along the semi-arid fringes of the Jordanian Highlands (including Jericho). However, Beisamoun might be integrated as a north-western example of this regional phenomena or else it may be part of another LPPNB mega-community system development proposed by some authors (Gebel 2004). Amongst the various criteria that Beisamoun shares with other mega-sites, the ecological situation is precisely what makes Beisamoun a priori different from them. The Hula basin is well surveyed and Beisamoun is certainly the largest PPNB settlement in the region. A hierarchical structure of the settlement pattern in this area is as yet not established, but the first discoveries made at Beisamoun suggest that it is a promising site for investigating this question.”
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