12,000-Year-Old Village Discovered Near The Sea Of Galilee Reveals Humanity’s Shift To Agriculture

By Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels February 18, 2016 Comments

Israeli archaeologists have discovered a prehistoric village in the Jordan Valley that sheds light on the historical shift from foraging to agriculture some 12,000 years ago.

Excavated by a group of archaeologists led by Dr. Leore Grosman of the Hebrew University, the site is located near the Ein Gev Stream, not far from the Sea of Galilee.

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site of excavations

The site of the excavations near the Sea of Galilee

A series of excavations on site revealed an abundance of findings, including human burial remains, flint tools, art manifestations, faunal assemblage (a group of associated animal fossils found together in a given stratum), and tools.

The 1,200-square-foot excavated area revealed an extensive habitation; surprisingly, the village differs markedly from others of its period in Israel. The Ein Gev findings encapsulate cultural characteristics typical of both the Old Stone Age, known as the Paleolithic period, and the New Stone Age, known as the Neolithic period.

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In a study recently published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, the archaeologists claim that the findings reveal the cultural transition from smaller, mobile tribes to larger, sedentary communities.

The findings are “crucial for the understanding of the socioeconomic processes that marked the shift from Paleolithic mobile societies of hunter-gatherers to Neolithic agricultural communities,” Grosman said in a statement.

The earliest and the longest period in the history of mankind

The Paleolithic period is the earliest and the longest period in the history of mankind. The end of this period is marked by the transition to settled villages and domestication of plants and animals.

A panoramic view of the Jordan Valley

A panoramic view of the Jordan Valley

According to Grosman, the buildings found at the site “represent at least four occupational stages,” and “the various aspects of the faunal assemblage provide good indications for site permanence.” In addition, “the uniformity of the tool types and the flint knapping technology indicate intensive occupation of the site by the same cultural entity.”

Photos: Austin (Chad) Hill, Leore GrosmanЮкатан

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