HOME 11/10/2003 |
A.M.T. Moore (Oxford University) 
Chapter 2 (PAGES 61 - 63)
Mesolithic 2 Settlement Patterns
Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums:
Mesolithic 2 sites were situated in almost every environmental zone of the southern and central Levant from the present coastline eastwards to the edge of the steppic plateau. Sites have now been discovered in the Jebel Meghara in northern Sinai (Moshabi IV) and in the Negev (Nahal Lavan 110 and Matred 190). Some were on the coastal plains of Palestine (Kfar Vitkin III and Nahal Poleg 18M) and Lebanon (Beirut Sands and Borj Barajne) while others have been found in the valleys of the hills behind from Judea as far north as the Mountains of Lebanon (Erq Ahmar - Shukbah - Nahal Oren - Hayonim - Jiita II). The Rift Valley was also inhabited from the Dead Sea (Jericho) through the upper Jordan Valley (Ain Mallaha) to the Bekaa Valley (Amuq II - Jebel Saaideh). The highlands of TransJordan (Beidha and Ala Safat) and the Hauran (Taibe) were occupied while there was another group of sites in the Anti-Lebanon (Qornet Rharra - Nacharini - Yabrud III). Mesolithic 2 sites have also been recently discovered by Garrard and Stanley Price as far east as the Azraq basin. Further north traces of Mesolithic 2 habitation have been found in the Amuq (Tell Dhahab) while several sites are now known along the Middle Euphrates (Tell Abu Hureyra - Dibsi Faraj East - Mureybat).
This pattern of distribution was almost exactly the same as in Mesolithic 1 although the environment in each of these regions was now markedly different. The only areas that seem to have been avoided were the spine of the Judean hills and the higher altitudes of the Mountains of Lebanon. This may have been because these areas were now densely wooded. Several sites were concentrated at high elevations in the Anti-Lebanon but here the forests would always have been thinner because this range lay in the rain-shadow of the Lebanon mountains. The other sites east of the Rift Valley in the Hauran and broken country on the edge of the TransJordan plateau were all in areas that carried extensive woodland then. Further east and south-east the steppe stretched away to northern Arabia but as yet very few sites have been found in this area. It is possible that the steppe was little used by the people of Mesolithic 2 who preferred more wooded country but the existence of a flourishing settlement at Abu Hureyra in an area that was demonstrably steppic should inhibit us from drawing premature conclusions. The sites along the Euphrates and in the Azraq Basin have only become known through recent fieldwork and it may be that future surveys will find traces of Mesolithic 2 occupation much further out in the steppe zone than this.
Mesolithic 2 sites were situated in rock-shelters and in the open. In some shelters the Mesolithic 2 occupation followed a Mesolithic 1 phase as at Kebara itself; in others such as Erq Ahmar a shelter last used in the Aurignacian was reoccupied while at Umm Zuweitina and a few more the earliest recorded occupation was in Mesolithic 2. One new feature of shelter sites used by the people of Mesolithic 2 was that the area of concentrated occupation was frequently on the terrace in front rather then in the shelter itself. This was so at Mugharet Wad - Nahal Oren - Qornet Rharra and probably Hayonim. Most of the open sites had only Mesolithic 2 occupation on them and were therefore single-period sites as were almost all Mesolithic 1 open stations. As few such as Jericho and Beidha were covered by later settlements.
Most of the larger Mesolithic 2 sites were situated in the foothills of the upland zones near permanent sources of water. Some of these like Hayonim - Nahal Oren - Mugharet Wad - Shukbah were in wadis and other such as Saaideh - Jericho - Rosh Zin were in more open positions. One site at least (Ain Mallaha) was situated beside a lake but also on the fringe of the Galilee hills. There seem to have been significantly more shelter sites in Mesolithic 2 than in Mesolithic 1 which may reflect the apparent concentration of Mesolithic 2 sites around the upland zone .....