University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series > Specialized aquatic animal exploitation at Nahal Ein Gev II, Israel and the division of labor at the Epipaleolithic-Neolithic crossroads

Specialized aquatic animal exploitation at Nahal Ein Gev II, Israel and the division of labor at the Epipaleolithic-Neolithic crossroads

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  • UserNatalie Munroe, University of Connecticut
  • ClockFriday 29 October 2021, 13:15-14:00
  • HouseOnline via zoom.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Ruairidh Macleod.

Register for zoom link here: https://cam-ac-uk.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYude6sqz8pH9doiA7b3hfD8rraUO_qqwxb

The Late Natufian site (ca. 12,000 cal. BP) of Nahal Ein Gev II located in the Upper Jordan Valley, two km east of the Sea of Galilee, was home to a large community situated at the crossroads between Epipaleolithic and Pre-Pottery Neolithic cultural traditions. It’s chronological position at the threshold of the Neolithic, the expression of both Epipaleolithic and PPN traditions, and it’s geographic setting in the productive Jordan Valley, reveals new aspects of the Late Natufian adaptation and the transition to agriculture. Like other Natufian sites, the faunal assemblage from Nahal Ein Gev II differs substantially from preceding periods in the representation of a much wider array of animal species that reflect increased sedentism and territoriality. Aquatic game was an important component of the prolific small game assemblage and reveals local adaptations, as well important dimensions of economic and social life at this dynamic moment in time. A range of zooarchaeological analysis documents the contribution of aquatic resources to human diets and butchery and transport strategies. The results show that the residents of Nahal Ein Gev II were highly selective of the aquatic resources they captured and transported home—they nearly exclusively chose the largest bodied species of fish and waterfowl and processed their carcasses before carrying them back to the site. This selectivity provides a rare opportunity to investigate the organization of targeted resource forays. When combined with evidence from other material classes, it is clear that aquatic resource exploitation is only one of several specialized activities like plaster and bead production, practiced at Nahal Ein Gev II. This and archaeological evidence for task diversification foreshadows the emergence of a more complex division of labor in the succeeding Neolithic period.

This talk is part of the Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series series.

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