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Twenty Thousand-Year-Old Huts at a Hunter-Gatherer Settlement in Eastern Jordan

Maher, LA; Richter, T; Macdonald, D; Jones, MD; Martin, L; Stock, JT; (2012) Twenty Thousand-Year-Old Huts at a Hunter-Gatherer Settlement in Eastern Jordan. PLOS ONE , 7 (2) , Article e31447. 10.1371/journal.pone.0031447. Green open access

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Abstract

Ten thousand years before Neolithic farmers settled in permanent villages, hunter-gatherer groups of the Epipalaeolithic period (c. 22–11,600 cal BP) inhabited much of southwest Asia. The latest Epipalaeolithic phase (Natufian) is well-known for the appearance of stone-built houses, complex site organization, a sedentary lifestyle and social complexity—precursors for a Neolithic way of life. In contrast, pre-Natufian sites are much less well known and generally considered as campsites for small groups of seasonally-mobile hunter-gatherers. Work at the Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic aggregation site of Kharaneh IV in eastern Jordan highlights that some of these earlier sites were large aggregation base camps not unlike those of the Natufian and contributes to ongoing debates on their duration of occupation. Here we discuss the excavation of two 20,000-year-old hut structures at Kharaneh IV that pre-date the renowned stone houses of the Natufian. Exceptionally dense and extensive occupational deposits exhibit repeated habitation over prolonged periods, and contain structural remains associated with exotic and potentially symbolic caches of objects (shell, red ochre, and burnt horn cores) that indicate substantial settlement of the site pre-dating the Natufian and outside of the Natufian homeland as currently understood.

Type: Article
Title: Twenty Thousand-Year-Old Huts at a Hunter-Gatherer Settlement in Eastern Jordan
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031447
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0031447
Language: English
Additional information: © 2012 Maher et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. This research is supported by the Council for British Research in the Levant, University of Cambridge, University College London, and the University of Copenhagen, and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of Britain (AH/E009484/1). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1349850
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