Ain Mallaha

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This article is about the Natufian era settlement. For the Palestinian village located at the same site until 1948, see Mallaha.
Skeletons discovered at Eynan

Ain Mallaha, also known as Eynan, was a Natufian settlement built and settled circa 10,000–8,000 BCE. The settlement is an example of hunter-gatherer sedentism, a crucial step in the transition from foraging to farming.[1]

The Village[edit]

The site is located in Northern Israel, 25 kilometres (16 mi) North of the Sea of Galilee, and is in an area surrounded by hills and located by an ancient lake, Lake Huleh. At the time of its inhabitance, the area was heavily forested in oak, almond, and pistachio trees.[2] The Natufian village was colonized in three phases. The first two phases had massive stone-built structures with smaller ones in the third phase. These phases occurred from 12,000 to 9600 B.C. The dwellings were cut into the earth, had subterranean floors, and wall that were built of drystone. Wooden posts supported the roofs, which were probably thatches with brushwood or animal hides.[3] Hearths were located within the dwellings.

Ain Mallaha contains the earliest known archeological evidence of dog domestication: the burial of a human being with a domestic dog.[4]

Diet[edit]

The inhabitants of Ain Mallaha were sedentary hunter gatherers; it is likely that they lived in Ain Mallaha year round, gathering food from the surrounding wild stands of edible vegetation, and hunting local game. The inhabitants used hand mortars for grinding wild nuts and grain, and stone sickles for cutting plants from wild stands. Many of these sickle stones hold "sickle-gloss," indicating they had been used to cut large numbers of plant stems, most likely wild wheat and barley.[5] The inhabitants are known to have eaten gazelle, fallow deer, wild boar, red and roe deer, hare, tortoise, reptiles, and fish.[6]

Burial Customs[edit]

It is likely that entire families were buried in the remains of their own houses, the houses being subsequently abandoned. During excavation, Perrot found one dwelling to contain the graves of 11 men, women, and children, many of them wearing elaborate decorations made from dentalium shells. In another dwelling (131), twelve individuals were found, one buried with her hand resting on the body of a small puppy.[7]

Excavation[edit]

Ain Mallaha was discovered in 1954 and salvage excavations were carried out under the supervision of J. Perrot, M. Lechevalier and Francois Valla of the CNRS.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mithen, Steven (2006). After the ice : a global human history, 20.000 - 5.000 BC (1. paperback ed. ed.). Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press. p. 29. ISBN 0-674-01570-3. 
  2. ^ Mithen, Steven J.: After The Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000-5000 BC, page 29. Harvard University Press paperback edition, 2003.
  3. ^ Mithen, Steven J.: After The Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000-5000 BC, page 28. Harvard University Press paperback edition, 2003.
  4. ^ Davis, S.J.M. and Valla, F.R. 1978. Evidence for the domestication of the dog 12,000 years ago in the Natufian of Israel. Nature 276, 608-10.
  5. ^ Mithen, Steven J.: After The Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000-5000 BC, page 30. Harvard University Press paperback edition, 2003.
  6. ^ C. Scarre, The Human Past, 2005.
  7. ^ Mithen, Steven J.: After The Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000-5000 BC, page . Harvard University Press paperback edition, 2003.
  8. ^ Moʻatsah ha-leʼumit le-meḥḳar ule-fituaḥ (Israel) (1 January 2003). Israel journal of earth-sciences. Weizmann Science Press of Israel. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°05′13″N 35°34′45″E / 33.086975°N 35.579159°E / 33.086975; 35.579159