CATEGORY: term DEFINITION: Without pottery or not using pottery. This term is applied to periods and societies in which pottery is not used, especially in contrast to other periods of ceramicuse and with neighboring ceramic cultures. Aceramic societies may use bark, basketry, gourds, leather, etc. for containers.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A Neolithic-Early Bronze Age settlement site / mound in Thessaly, Greece. It was first occupied in the Aceramic Neolithic and is characterized by polychrome decorated pottery.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An important Neolithicsite in Thessaly, northern Greece, which has given much information on the early phases of the Greek Aceramic Neolithic period. In the Argissa Magula near Larissa, there have been early prepottery Neolithic finds of probably the 6th millennium BC. Timber-framed huts consisted of shallow mud-walled pits that were likely roofed with branches. Obsidian was already being traded and flint tools were made. The earliest known domesticated cattle date from about 6000 BC at Argissa (and Nea Nikomedeia) in Greece, in association with cultivated einkorn, emmerwheat, and barley, millet, lentils. Sheep, goats, and pigs were also cultivate and kept. This site (along with Knossos) is also responsible for the earliest evidence of agriculture, soon after 7000 BC. The site was occupied throughout the Neolithic and well into the Bronze Age.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An Aceramic Neolithic site in central Anatolia, near an obsidian source (Ciftlik) and probably involved in extracting and trading the material. Radiocarbon dates of unstratified contexts at the site are c 7000-6650 BC. It may have been contemporary with Hacilar.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An Aceramic Neolithic site in Syria's Damascus basin, occupied c 7800-6600 BC. There is evidence of early farming (plant cultivation including barley, cereals, emmerwheat, lentils, peas, pulses).
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Bayda', Al-, Beida CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site in south-central Yemen near Petra that was first occupied in the Early Natufian and Aceramic Neolithic. It is situated on a high plateau and, until the unification of the two Yemen states in 1990, was part of North Yemen (San'a'), though it lay near the disputed frontier with South Yemen. At first it was a semi-permanent camp which lived off goat and ibex. Beidha was reoccupied c 7000 BC by a Pre-Pottery Neolithic A [PPNA} group, who lived in a planned community of roughly circular semi-subterranean houses. They domesticated goats and cultivated emmer, wheat, and barley. There was a succeeding PPNB phase in which the buildings changed to complexes of large rectangular rooms, each with small workshops attached and with plastered floors and walls. Burials without skulls were found and there was also a separate ritualarea away from the village. Finds from the site include materials from great distances, including obsidian from Anatolia and cowries and mother-of-pearl from the Red Sea.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The site of a number of tells in southern Turkey. Can Hasan III was an aceramicNeolithicsettlement c 6500 BC. There were at least seven structural phases, with dark burnished pottery in several levels and painted pottery in one. The villagers were agriculturists, growing einkorn and emmer, lentil, and vetch in the earlier phases. The main Can Hasan mound was occupied in the late Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site in western Iran with at least 21 occupation levels dated c 6500-5500 BC. In the earliest aceramic levels, there were remains of wooden huts, probably from a semi-permanent winter camp. In later levels with pottery, there are mud-brick houses and evidence of farming, goatdomestication, and barleycultivation.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A small but important site in the lake region of southwest Turkey, with a Late Neolithic and early Chalcolithic (c 5600-4500 BC). The aceramic early levels have some radiocarbon dates in the 7th millennium BC. The houses were of mudbrick or wood and daub on stone foundations, with an upper story of wood. They were finished internally in plaster, rarely painted. Crops included barley, emmer, and lentils and bones of sheep, deer, and cattle were also found. The site was abandoned and reoccupied in the Late Neolithic, early in the 6th millennium BC, when it had more substantial houses, monochrome red to brown pottery, and some use of copper. Querns, mortars and braziers were fitted into mud plaster floors, while recesses in the walls acted as cupboards. The kitchen was separated from the living rooms and upper stories were used as granaries and workshops. Female figurines of a unique style were also made. The latest phase of this period was burnt c 5400 BC and when the site was reoccupied it was smaller; this settlement was also burnt c 5050-5000 BC. The Hacilar (Chalcolithic) period had a fortified settlement, characterized by boldly painted red on white pottery.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A small aceramicNeolithic to ceramic Neolithic village site in the foothills of the Zagros mountains of northern Iraq. Jarmo was used to explain the origins of food production by Robert Braidwood, as the site dates to the later 7th millennium BC and there was carbonized wheat and barley. Its radiocarbon dates place it amongst the world's earliest food-producing settlements. Goat and dog bones show domestication. The first 11 of its 16 levels had no pottery, though clay-lined pits were baked in situ. Square houses of pisé were built with clay ovens and grain pits which included flint and obsidian chipped stone tools, stone bowls, and clay figurines. Flaked and ground stone were freely used for tools and utensils. It is the type site of the Jarmoan culture.
CATEGORY: site; culture DEFINITION: An Early Neolithicsettlement in southern Cyprus, first occupied in the aceramicNeolithic I of the 7th millennium BC. It was abandoned and reoccupied in Neolithic II, later 5th millennium BC. The settlement, surrounded by a massive wall, consisted of round houses of mudbrick on stone footings. Hearths and benches were found inside and some houses had burials with grave goods (especially stone bowls) underneath the floors. There was a fine stoneindustry, using Anatolian obsidian and flint for tools, local andesite for both tools and containers, and Levantine carnelian for beads. The site has given its name to the Early Neolithicculture of the island.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Maghzaliyah CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Aceramic Neolithic site in northern Iraq's Sinjar region. It provides evidence of the introduction of sedentary communities and farming in northern Mesopotamia. There were rectilinear structures with stone foundations and a lithic industry similar to other sites in the Zagros and Syro-Palestine.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Mehrgahr CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Important site of a series of settlements of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods in Baluchistan, western Pakistan, important as the earliest farming site known in the area, perhaps dating from the 8th-6th millennia BC. The earliest phase was aceramic and the evidence at Mehrgarh provides a clear picture of an early agricultural settlement exhibiting domestic architecture and a variety of well-established crafts. The use of sea shells and of various semiprecious stones, including turquoise and lapis lazuli, indicates the existence of trade networks extending from the coast and perhaps also from Central Asia. Subsequent phases in the 5th, 4th, and 3rd millennia show a developing society, characterized by craft specialization (with specialist production of pottery figurines and beads of semi-precious stones) and extensive trade networks linking Baluchistan with eastern Iran and southern Turkmenistan. Although no Harappan Civilizationphase is represented here, the culture of Mehrgarh provides a plausible local antecedent for this civilization. It was probably occupied until the beginning of the Mature Harappan in the 3rd millennium BC.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Mureybit, Mureybat CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site in the curve of the Euphrates 80 km east of Aleppo in Syria, occupied in the late-Epipalaeolithic (Natufian) and Aceramic Neolithic (to PPNB), from c 8500-6800 BC. The Natufianlevel had a date of 8640 +/- 140 BC. Einkorn was the staple of the villagers' diet, possibly cultivated. It is an important site for understanding the emergence of food production and village life on the middle Euphrates.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Cave and open terracesite on the western slope of Mount Carmel, Israel, occupied from the early Upper Palaeolithic (Kebaran, c 16,300-13,850 BC) to the early Aceramic Neolithic (PPNA) and PPNB (Pre-Pottery Neolithic B). Natufian levels show a strong bias towards the selective hunting, or possibly herding, of gazelle and this continued through to the PPNA levels. There was a growing assemblage of processing tools such as mortars, suggesting that plant-gathering was becoming more important. The material culture included chipped stone tools, ground stone tools, bone tools, stone vessels, and art objects. Natufian and PPNA buildings were round houses with central fireplaces. In the PPNB, they switched to rectangular houses with paved floors; these were sited on the artificial terrace outside the cave, constructed in the Natufianphase. A cemetery of early Natufian date is associated with the site: bodies were buried individually, usually tightly flexed with knees drawn up to the chin; old mortars were used as grave markers. Grave goods include carved stone and bone work; the most notable example was a gazelle's head.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Prehistoric site on the Euphrates River near Samsat, Turkey, with an Aceramic Neolithic settlement revealing information about the PPNB complex. There is a series of buildings with stone foundations and broken stelae. Later occupation included Halafperiod and Early Bronze Age I.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The largest island of Oceania, in the eastern Malay Archipelago, north of Australia. New Guinea was joined to Australia in low sea-level periods of Pleistocene and was probably first settled by early Australoids at the same time as its larger neighbor. New Guinea archaeology examines the Highlands, which is totally Papuan-speaking, and also the coasts, which is mixed Papuan and Austronesian. The Highland prehistoricsequence in totally aceramic. Stone mortars and pestles, many elaborate shape, are also found in the Highlands. The New Guinea coasts only have sequences back to 3000-2000 years ago as earlier sites were probably drowned by rising sea levels. The best-reported are Collingwood Bay and south coastal Papua, both with pottery. Some coastal groups had developed elaborate trading networks by the time of European contact. Almost the whole of New Guinea is occupied by speakers of Papuan languages, the original settlers of the island, who live mainly in the interior and southern sections. Ethnic composition is complex among the Papuans, who speak some 700 different languages.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Melanesian island with a sequence of Lapita and pre-Lapita (c 5000 bp, Aceramic Neolithic). The pre-Lapita deposits contain obsidian from Talasea, indicating long-distance sea voyages.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An Aceramic Neolithic-Early Bronze Age tell (or magoula) settlement in Thessaly, Greece. Early Neolithic pre-Sesklo occupation with Impressed Ware was succeeded by Middle Neolithic Sesklo painted pottery. Houses were of mud-brick and rectangular, some having stone footings and internal buttresses. The megarontype appears later in the period.
CATEGORY: chronology DEFINITION: A transitionalperiod between the hunting-and-gathering cultures of the Epipaleolithic and the farming cultures of the Aceramic Neolithic (c 9300-8500 BC). The term is used variously but here it includes the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A of the Levant and the early stages of the adoption of characteristic Neolithic traits such as animal and plant domestication and the manufacture of pottery.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Late Epipalaeolithic to early Aceramic Neolithic site in northern Iraq with seven phases of occupation defined. The lithicindustry is similar to those west on the Euphrates River (Mureybet). It is the beginning of documented habitation on the north Mesopotamian plain. Views on the earliest Neolithic in Iraq have undergone radical revisions in the light of discoveries made at Qermez Dere, Nemrik, and Maghzaliyah.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Neolithictell settlement site near Volos in Thessaly, Greece, first occupied in the 7th millennium BC (Aceramic Neolithic). It has given its name to a potteryware known over much of continental Greece in the Middle Neolithic, 6th millennium BC. The pottery's most distinctive feature is a fine white slip painted in red with geometric designs, often in zigzag patterns. The pre-Sesklo which it succeeds was a local branch of the widespread Starcevoculture. The settlement has closely grouped mud-brick houses set on stone foundations, each with a domed oven. There was a large megaroncomplex on the acropolis and it was an important settlement through the Bronze Age.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Small aceramicNeolithicsettlement in the Konya plain of southern Turkey, dated to the later 7th millennium BC. Two occupation levels were recognized, the earlier with traces of hut floors, the latter with building of mudbrick and plastered floors. Thousands of animal bones have been found -- sheep, goat, cattle, pig and some harvesting of wild cereals may have occurred.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Ras Shamra, Ra's Shamra CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Important site of an ancient Syrian city, north of Latakia on the Syrian coast, occupied from an aceramic Early Neolithic (7th millennium BC) through the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age. It was destroyed c 1200 BC; its fall coincided with the invasion of the Northern and Sea Peoples and earthquakes and famines. In its last three centuries it was in commercial contact with Egypt, the Hittites, and the Mycenaeans. Temples to Baal and Dagon (2nd millennium BC) and an elaborate palace with archives of cuneiformclay tablets have been excavated. These commercial and administrative documents and religious texts are very important records of the Canaanites. The texts are written either in the Babylonian cuneiformscript or in the special alphabetic cuneiformscript invented in Ugarit, dating to the 15th-14th centuries BC when it came first under strong Egyptian influence and then under Hittite dominance. Ugarit may be credited with the development of the first true alphabet: simplified cuneiform signs were used for an alphabet of 30 letters. Bronzes, ivories, stelae, high priest's library, and built tombs also survive.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site in Upolu, Samoa, with assemblages from the terminal ceramicphase of Samoan pre-history c 300 BC-200 AD stratified beneath later aceramic mounds. The large earthen mounds were built as house platforms and contained plain pottery and stone adzes.
CATEGORY: ceramics DEFINITION: A type of ceramics made in the Aceramic Neolithic (PPNB) of Syria, Lebanon, and east bank of the Jordan River. It was white, made from lime mixed with ashes, air-dried, and sometimes painted in bands.