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Mugharat an-Nachcharini: A specialized sheep-hunting camp reveals high-altitude habitats in the earliest Neolithic of the Central Levant.


ABSTRACT: The earliest Neolithic of southwest Asia is generally perceived and portrayed as a period of emerging economic practices that anticipated full-fledged food-producing economies. This first Neolithic, however, can also be seen as the last gasp of an earlier way of life that remained fundamentally Epipaleolithic in character. While people at this time had begun to cultivate some of the plant foods gathered in preceding periods, and to live for lengthy periods in sites with substantial architecture, they also relied on hunting for a significant portion of their diet and logistical movement across landscapes to exploit diverse environments. The objective of our research on Nachcharini Cave, the only excavated early Neolithic site in the high mountains of northeastern Lebanon, is to evaluate its role in a form of logistical organization not well attested at other sites in the Levant during this period. On the basis of material that Bruce Schroeder excavated in the 1970s, we present here for the first time analyses of faunal and lithic evidence from Nachcharini Cave, along with new radiocarbon dates that place the major occupation layer of the site firmly in the earliest Neolithic. We conclude that Nachcharini was a short-term hunting camp that was periodically used over some two centuries.

SUBMITTER: Rhodes S 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6975533 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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