Abu Madi

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Abu Madi
1,600 metres (5,200 ft)
1,600 metres (5,200 ft)
Shown within Egypt
Location near Saint Catherine's Monastery, Egypt
Region Sinai
Coordinates 28°33′20″N 33°58′34″E / 28.5555°N 33.9762°E / 28.5555; 33.9762
Type Cluster of Tells
Part of Settlements
Length 20 metres (66 ft) (Abu Madi III)
Width 20 metres (66 ft) (Abu Madi III)
Area 0.008 hectares (860 sq ft)
(Abu Madi I)
Material Granite
Founded c. 10100 BP
Abandoned c. 9700 BP
Periods Khiamian, PPNA
Cultures Khiamian, Abu Madi Entity
Site notes
Excavation dates 1980–
Archaeologists Ofer Bar-Yosef
Condition Ruins
Public access Yes

Abu Madi is a cluster of prehistoric, Neolithic tell mounds in Southern Sinai, Egypt. It is located east of Saint Catherine's Monastery at the bottom of a granite ridge. It was suggested to have been a seasonal encampment for groups of hunter gatherers and contained the remains of two major settlements; Abu Madi I and Abu Madi III.[1][2] Abi Madi I is a small site with the remains of a partially buried 4 metres (13 ft) building containing deposits up to a depth of 1.3 metres (4.3 ft).[3] Abu Madi III was an area of roughly 20 square metres (220 sq ft) that was excavated close to a large nearby boulder.[4] Dwellings were found to have stone built silos next to them.[5] It was first excavated in the early 1980s by Ofer Bar-Yosef.[6]


The culture has been referred to as the Abu Madi Entity as it shows evidence of having retained Natufian characteristics of a temporary settlement, while being at least partly contemporary with the PPNA cultures of the Levant further to the North. It has been dated approximately 10100 to 9700 BP[7] or from between 9660 to 9180 BC[8] with calibrated datings ranging between c. 9750 and 7760 BC.[9] Judging by these radiocarbon dates, Abu Madi has been suggested to be a form of late Khiamian culture.[10] It has been suggested that the dwellings found housed small groups of nuclear families continuing in the Natufian style.[11] A large number of chipped flints were recovered including a new type of aerodynamic arrowhead known as the Abu Madi Point characterised by elongated ovals or rhomboid shapes, occasionally with a small tang.[1] El Khiam points were also found with deep concave bases[12] and it has been suggested these arrowheads were used to hunt such animals as gazelles and wild ibexes.[13] Abu Madi has been suggested to be amongst the ten probable centers for the origin of agriculture and used in statistical analysis to determine the rate of spread into Europe.[14]


  • Bar-Yosef, Ofer., Neolithic Sites in Sinai, Frey and Uerpmann 1981, Beiträge zur Umweltgeschichte des Vorderen Orients, Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients (TAVO) A 8, Wiesbaden, pp. 217–235, 19 pages, 1981.
  • Gopher, Avi., Flint tool industries of the Neolithic period in Israel, Ph.D. thesis, Hebrew University Jerusalem, 389 pages, 1985.
  • Kuijt, I. Bar-Yosef, O., Radiocarbon Chronology for the Levantine Neolithic: Observations and Data, Radiocarbon, 36, 227–245, 1994.
  • Gopher, A., Arrowheads of the Neolithic Levant. A Seriation Analysis, Ph.D. thesis. American Schools of Oriental Research. Dissertation Series 10, 1994.


  1. ^ a b Ofer Bar-Yosef; Eitan Tchernov; Avi Gopher (1997). An early neolithic village in the Jordan Valley. Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University. ISBN 978-0-87365-547-7. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Fredrik Talmage Hiebert (1994). Origins of the Bronze Age oasis civilization in Central Asia. Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University. ISBN 978-0-87365-545-3. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  3. ^ The Review of archaeology. Review of Archaeology. 1991. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  4. ^ Juliet Clutton-Brock; Caroline Grigson; International Council for Archaeozoology; University of London. Institute of Archaeology (1984). Animals and Archaeology: Early herders and their flocks. British Archaeological Reports. ISBN 978-0-86054-259-9. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Pavel Markovich Dolukhanov (1994). Environment and ethnicty [sic] in the Middle East. Avebury. ISBN 978-1-85628-706-7. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Bar-Yosef, Ofer., Pre-Pottery Neolithic sites in Southern Sinai. Biblical Archaeologist 45:9–12, 1981.
  7. ^ Ian Kuijt (2000). Life in Neolithic farming communities: social organization, identity, and differentiation. Springer. pp. 33–. ISBN 978-0-306-46122-4. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  8. ^ Exoriente, PPND – the Platform for Neolithic Radiocarbon Dates – Abu Madi
  9. ^ University of Cologne – Radiocarbon Context Database
  10. ^ Jacques Cauvin; Trevor Watkins (2000). The birth of the Gods and the origins of agriculture. Cambridge University Press. pp. 222–. ISBN 978-0-521-65135-6. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  11. ^ Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel; Ofer Bar-Yosef (2008). The Neolithic Demographic Transition and Its Consequences. Springer. pp. 274–. ISBN 978-1-4020-8538-3. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  12. ^ Gopher Avi. , Bar-Yosef Ofer. , Nadel D., Early Neolithic arrowhead types in the Southern Levant : a typological suggestion, Paléorient, Volume 17, Number 17-1, pp. 109–11, 1991.
  13. ^ British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem (2001). Levant. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  14. ^ Pinhasi R, Fort J, Ammerman AJ., Tracing the Origin and Spread of Agriculture in Europe. PLoS Biol 3(12): e410. (2005) doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030410