REL226: Biblical Archaeology
Neolithic (“New Stone Age”)
Years: 8500-4300 BCE
is happening in the Bible? Precedes biblical
is happening in Egypt? Small village with round huts, street.
is happening in Mesopotamia? “Neolithic revolution” – first settlements
small villages (clusters of huts), possible regular seasonal migrations.
Building materials- ‘hog-backed’ mud brick (flat bottom, convex top),
reeds, clay, stone.
Dwellings- caves still in use (e.g. at Mt. Carmel); small 4-6m diameter round or oval huts (central pillar supports roof?) or 3x7m rectangular; dug into ground with stone bedding and clay-plastered floors (lime),
walls w/ thick layer of polished clay plaster, central plastered fire-pits (possibly lead to invention of pottery).
shallow pit dwellings with domed roofs.
Fortifications (walls, gates, etc)- Jericho round tower (8.5m diameter,
massive retaining wall (defense? erosion terrace? 6m tall), broad trench.
Evidence for social organization or central authority?
Water works- possible beginnings of irrigation from local rivers or
Other- “Desert Kites” – for trapping and penning herds – either
domesticated or wild (?).
Invented 6000 BCE, possibly from sunken clay-plastered fire-pits.
Hand-formed w/ slip, zig-zag pattern.
first farming, possible irrigation: barley, lentils, single-corn emmer wheat,
of sheep, goats, cattle. Hunting>Herding.
Weapons, Metallurgy: No metals yet. Tools of
stone, flint, wood and bone. New flint industry flourishes with increasing
specialization: arrowheads, sickle blades, borers, scrapers, hoes, axes, adzes,
stone celts. Wide flat querns for flour preparation.
Mortar & Pestle. Woven textiles, floor mats.
Primary burials with articulated
skeletons, carefully arranged contracted position w/ jewelry.
burials disarticulated (hunters who died at seasonal camp, reburied at base
indicate belief in afterlife? Small
stone burial markers at Carmel. Dolmen?
plastered skulls kept separately in groups with jaws removed, in jars in houses.
buried under floors or in open spaces.
objects, seals, sculptures, jewelry, etc.): necklace beads (stone, shell, bone,
teeth), stone masks,
and stone figurines / statuettes (Yarmukian fertility goddess?), plastered
skulls and statues.
writing not yet invented.
Jericho, Carmel caves, Gesher, Natufian culture.
Agriculture, domestication of animals, invention of pottery, flint usage.
replaced by farming/herding – allows more permanent communities.
for Trade, foreign relations: trade in obsidian – found in Syria, Palestine.
local development vs. migration: