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Neolithic coastal settlements were resilient in the face of climate change

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A study of the submerged site of Habonim North indicates that Neolithic coastal settlements were resilient in the face of climate change.

Habonim North is located 200 metres south of Tel Nami in Israel’s Carmel Coast. It was first identified between 2015 and 2017 at a depth of 2.5 to 3.0 metres, and then rediscovered in 2018 during an underwater survey.

Excavations by the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Haifa have uncovered a series of walls and two round-stone installations, both constructed of a single course of stone.

The removal of sediment layers has revealed numerous objects, including pottery, lithics, bone and botanical assemblages (mainly seeds), which according to the study authors provide information about the extent of the site and the intensity of its occupation.

The pottery and ceramics include light-coloured ware with coarse temper, the knob handle from a storage jar. and the painted rim of a hole-mouth jar. Based on the style and form, the pottery can be associated with Yarmukian and Jericho IX sites, where similar examples have previously been found.

Image Credit : Antiquity

A radiocarbon analysis of charred botanical remains indicates that Habonim North dates from between the 6th to 7th millennium BC, also corresponding with the range of the Yarmukian and Jericho IX phases during the Early Pottery Neolithic (EPN).

Around this time, coastal settlements collapsed in the wake of the 8.2-kiloyear event, a climatic drop in global temperatures around 6,200 BC.

However, postdating the 8.2ka climatic event, Habonim North demonstrates a resilient, sedentary site, with a complex and diverse economic system that included local production and long-distance exchange.

According to the study authors: “Diversification is evident in the addition of non-local raw materials and goods, which likely arrived through exchange. This is seen in the basalt finds, made of a material that is not found along the Carmel Coast, which have typological parallels from inland sites.”

The zooarchaeological assemblage also demonstrates how the community used domestic and wild animals, supplemented by a diet of fish from the coast.

“These results indicate that early Neolithic societies were resilient and sustainable, providing the foundation for the later social and economic changes that lead to the development of urbanism.”

Header Image Credit : Antiquity

Sources : Antiquity | Nickelsberg R, Levy TE, Shahack-Gross R, et al. Continuity and climate change: the Neolithic coastal settlement of Habonim North, Israel. Antiquity. 2024;98(398):343-362. doi:10.15184/aqy.2024.32

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Study reveals new insights into life at “German Stonehenge”

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Excavations of the Ringheiligtum Pömmelte, nicknamed the “German Stonehenge”, has revealed new insights into domestic life from prehistory.

Ringheiligtum Pömmelte is a late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age henge from the late third millennium BC. The monument features seven concentric rings made of palisades, ditches, and raised banks, each containing a series of wooden posts.

The site was discovered in 1991 through aerial photography near the present-day village of Pömmelte in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

From 2018 to 2022, archaeologists have excavated nearly 140 ancient dwellings dating from 2,800 BC to 2,200 BC. The older dwellings are linked to the Corded Ware and the Bell Beaker culture, while the more recent ones are associated with the Únětice Culture.

In a recent study conducted by the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) of Saxony-Anhalt, archaeologists are employing various scientific methods to offer new insights into the site’s ritual and settlement landscape.

The study has identified house locations of the Corded Ware culture (26th to 23rd century BC), and an associated settlement pit containing ceramic sherds, an axe head and flint blades. Until now, Corded Ware settlement could only be attributed to individual finds that had been relocated, and not to actual structures on the site.

Also associated with the Corded Ware culture is a storage area with 78 grain silo pits that held various types of gain, including wheat, barley, and spelt. Archaeologists already know that Corded Ware people lived on a balanced diet with animal products, further indicated by drinking vessels from burials at Ringheiligtum Pömmelte that contained traces of dairy products.

While the scientific analyses and the interpretation of the results with various specialists continue, excavations at Pömmelte will last until mid-July 2024.

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Sources : State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

3,400-year-old shipwreck found with cargo mostly intact

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Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Unit have discovered a 3,400-year-old shipwreck with the cargo mostly intact.

The site was first identified during an underwater survey by Energean, an energy company searching for natural gas deposits beneath the Mediterranean Sea Floor.

This led to the discovery of the shipwreck and its cargo at a depth of 1.8 kilometers, along with its cargo that consists of Late Bronze Age Canaanite storage vessels.

IAA archaeologists, in collaboration with Energean, have used the deep sea exploratory vessel, “Energean Star” to conduct a visual inspection of the wreck site. This has revealed hundreds of ceramic vessels on the seabed, and a muddy layer which likely conceals a second layer and the wooden beams of the ship.

Jacob Sharvit, Head of the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Unit, explains, “The ship seems to have sunk in crisis, either due to a storm or to an attempted piracy attack – a well-known occurrence in the Late Bronze Age. This is both the first and the oldest ship found in the Eastern Mediterranean deep sea, ninety kilometres from the nearest shore.”

Image Credit : IAA

Only two other ships from this period have been found – the boat from Cape Gelidonya and the Uluburun boat; both found off the Turkish coast. Both ships were found near the shore, suggesting that shipping routes followed the coastline between ports. However, this new discovery changes the understanding of ancient marine trade, demonstrating that ancient shipping also extended into deep waters.

“The ship is preserved at such a great depth that time has frozen since the moment of disaster – its body and contexts have not been disturbed by human hand (divers, fishermen, etc.); nor affected by waves and currents which do impact shipwrecks in shallower waters,” added Sharvit.

Header Image Credit : IAA

Sources : Israel Antiquities Authority

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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