Week 9: Inception & Spread of the Neolithic
I. Archaic Neolithic in the Levant (10,500-8000 BP)
A. Neolithic I: 10500-9600 BP (PPNA)
1. Villages become larger & are located in areas
with high ag. potential. Deteriorating climate.
2. Structures still mostly circular or oval, often
slightly dug into ground, 4-6 m in diameter,
usually 1 room. Similar in size & artifact
3. Jericho largest site of day at > 4 ha;
surrounded by a stone wall fronted by a ditch
& backed by a tower 8-m high.
4. Typical burial location under house floor or
near house in yard; late in period at Jericho,
some heads buried separately.
5. Peas, lentils, emmer, and probably barley
domesticated by 9800 BP
B. Neolithic II: 9600 BP-8000 BP (PPNB) (Jarmo)
1. More & larger sites; Jericho still inhabited but
no longer largest; more of area occupied.
2. Change in house form to rectangular with
adjacent rooms, plaster floors, benches, etc.
3. Now common for skulls to be separated from
rest of body; at Jericho some skulls had facial
features reconstructed over them in plaster &
are sometimes found with plaster figurines.
4. But grave goods and household materials still
suggest no strong differences in social status.
5. Artifacts now more varied, & included
obsidian from Anatolia; much greater variety
of bone tools; turquoise, serpentine, agate
beads & pendants; clay figurines, cones, etc.
6. Sheep/goat domesticated by 9000 B.P.
A. Latest discovery (1994): 10,000 BP settlement in E.
Turkey (Hallan Ceni) with substantial round struc-
tures & possibly domesticated pig but no domes-
ticated grains: alternative parthways to settled life?
B. Early Neolithic (compare with Neolithic 2 in Levant)
9500-8000 BP: Çayonu:
1. elaborate houses of 3 types
2. near sources of obsidian & copper and lots used
3. deposits of human skulls found, as in Levant
4. cultivation of emmer, einkorn, lentils, chick-
peas, & vetches; importance increased through
time. After 8950 BP, domesticated sheep & goat
5. Pottery begins to show up around 8750 BP.
C. Late Neolithic (8000-6500 BP): Çatal Huyuk &
Hacilar; coincides with climatic deterioration in
1. CH is largest known Neo. site in Near East,
covering 13 ha; high growth rate.
2. Houses constructed of timber framework and
walls of mud brick. Walls & floors plastered &
decorated, including famous representational
scenes. Plaster reliefs of humans, cattle, leop-
ards, & other animals; cattle horn cores some-
times set into benches on the floors.
3. Some burials have fine objects with them, sug-
gesting differences in status.
4. Cattle domesticated (in addition to earlier dom-
esticates); development of bread wheat Å 8000
5. Smaller, contemporaneous Hacilar: population
of perhaps 100; fortifications 4- thick; destroyed
around 6800 BP along with CH.
III. Agriculture into Europe
A. Greece & the Balkans: 8500-7000 BP. Carrying Indo-
European language into Europe?
1. Village life achieved before pottery which is
first seen in E. Greece around 7500 BP.
B. Into temperate Europe (7000-6000 BP): Danubian or
Linearbandkeramik in north; Cardiale in south.
1. Uniformity of house and ceramic style in initial
LBK spread a mark of demic diffusion; reached
Paris by 6500 BP. Used rich valley bottom land;
villages very stable; arranged in settlement
2. Regionalism in ceramic styles began to develop
about 6000 BP, marking the end to this early
pan-European culture. Warfare becomes en-
demic; some sites now away from river valleys.
C. Complete domestication of Europe: 6000-4000 BP.
Middle & Late Neolithic. Lake dwellers of Switz-
erland; "Megalithic" phenomena:
3. alignments (menhirs; dolmens)
D. European neolithic generally considered to be
"demic diffusion." Recent work with mitochondrial
DNA of 800 modern Europeans suggests 3 main
lineages, all of which appear to have arisen >30,000
ya. Tyrolean iceman Ötzi in Group I, as are Upper
Paleolithic people from Gough's Cave in SW
IV. Neolithic Outside Europe & Near East: Africa
A. Nile Valley & Sahara
1. Ag. lands sharply circumscribed (only 3 km
wide), but Nile provided relatively regular
Spring floods with rich sediment; wild
2. Late U.P. violence at Jebel Sahaba (S. Egypt),
14-12,000 BP; 58 people including many
children, about half killed.
3. Cattle & pottery in (semi-arid) desert of SW
Egypt by 8000 BP (Nabta Playa); pastoralists?
domesticated barley? Rela-tively good climate,
high rainfall. Fisher-hunter base camps with
pottery at Early Khartoum & Shabona.
4. By ca. 7000 BP, domesticated wheat, barley,
sheep, goats (& cattle) introduced from outside
5. By ca. 6000 BP ag. widespread and important,
and hundreds of villages begin to appear along
the Nile (e.g., Merimde), inaugurating the "Pre-
dynastic" period which ushers in sociopolitical
complexity as witnessed at sites like Hierakon-
polis (5000 people).
B. Subsaharan Africa-less excavation & probably
1. Important environmental limitations for
farmers/pastoralists: dense vegetation, poor
soils, unpredictable rainfall, tse-tse fly, etc.
2. Pottery and ground-stone axes or hoes appear
alongside traditional stone industries ca. 7000 BP.
Yam cultivation begins at this time?
3. Including Ethiopia, list of domesticated plants
quite long: 3 kinds of millet & sorghum (one of
the 4 major cereal crops of the world); ground-
nuts, cowpeas, date & oil palm, okra, coffee,
watermelon, ensete, noog, etc. Most probably
domesticated after 4000 BP.
4. Iron brought to N. Africa by Phoenicians ca. 800
B.C.; at S. margins of Sahara by 400 B.C. (Nok
terracottas); cattle & iron working become
widespread ca. A.D. 100 in S-S Africa.
V. Indus Valley
A. In highlands above the Indus, domesticated wheat,
sheep, and goats begin to appear around 9000 B.P.;
evidence for widespread burning. In same area
copper & pottery appear Å 5500 B.P., but villages
B. On Indus Plain, by 8000 B.P., some sites bigger
than any sites in highlands; by 7000 B.P. communal
buildings appear; by 6000 B.P. communities were
fortified and traded widely for exotic goods, and
produced pottery in regional styles.
C. Rice in cultivation on Ganges Plain by 6500 B.P.
D. Direct antecedents to Harappan (Indus Valley)
civilization begin to appear ca. 5000 B.P.
A. Earliest settled Neolithic communities appear in N.
China, where Huangho (Yellow) River valley cuts
through loess plains, ca. 10,000-7000 BP; two kinds of
millet & hemp, mulberry, pig, a few sheep & goats.
Cord-marked ceramics. pithouses.
B. Yang-shao (7000-5000 BP): Pan-p'o, a few hundred
people, still used pithouses; buried people in two
groups, painted burnished pottery, carved jade;
communal building or house of "Big Man" in
C. By 4400 BP, many signs of appearance of social
rank and violence in Lungshan culture; permanent field
systems, walled towns, copper metallurgy, potter's
wheels, full-time craft specialists, scap-
ulimancy, jade masks, mass graves for some, etc.
D. Earliest Chinese civilization appears ca. 4000 BP.
E. In S. China along the Yangzi, rice may be cultivated
by 8000 BP.; by 5000 BP, rice cultivators present
along eastern coast of China, northern Vietnam &
VII. SE Asia & Austronesian Dispersal. Austronesian most
widespread language family in world prior to A.D.
1500. Parent superfamily may be Proto-Austro-Tai,
which includes the Tai-Kedai speakers of the southern
A. Colonization of Formosa by agriculturalists by 6000
B. The Philippines by 5000 BP
C. Borneo, Timor, etc. by 4500 BP
D. and so forth, finally reaching Easter Island by A.D.
300-400, and New Zealand by A.D. 800.
E. Note separate spread of Papuan-speaking yam
cultivators out of New Guinea, not displaced by