Besides the economic transition from foraging to agriculture, researchers of the southern Levantine Neolithic have investigated the issue of cultural transformation from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) to Late Neolithic (LN) period. This archaeological phenomenon, formerly explained as hiatus palestinien, is currently understood as a structured cultural change involving reorganizations in settlement systems, subsistence activities, tool-production technology, social organization, and ritual practices. Causes for these changes have been sought in several factors, including climatic shift, environmental deterioration, increasing reliance of farming, population increase, social crowding, and the decline of communal rituals.
This paper proposes a household perspective on this issue to effectively interlink ecological and social factors. To this end, the paper first reviews current understanding of PPNB households and then examines archaeological records indicative of household size, household activities, and the social relationship among households. In this discussion, archaeological data are interpreted by drawing on the anthropologically expected relationship between household size and the degree of economic interdependence among households, i.e., communal or autonomous performance of production and consumption activities.
zAs a result, I suggest that the increase in household size during the Late PPNB and LN, as indicated by multicellular, two-story houses and courtyard buildings, was caused by the increasing autonomy of households in the performance of production and consumption activities since the Middle PPNB. The latter process is explicable as a response to the reduced opportunities for forming communal works due to diversified subsistence activities and conflicting labour scheduling among households. These transformations of households can be considered as a significant aspect in the reorganization of settlement systems and related cultural changes at the transition from the PPNB to LN.
The Levant has been a focus of attention for those studying the ultra-large (mega) Neolithic sites that appeared and developed during the Late PPNB period. However, some scholars are skeptical about the size of mega sites, believing that they merely appear to be large because of a sequential accumulation of smaller settlements and assert that there was no qualitative difference between mega sites and small settlements. Did the sites merely appear to be large, or were they truly so? The answer will condition the way we approach the past and our understanding of the development of complex societies.
In this paper, I shall discuss the evidence for the Neolithic settlement patterns and settlement sizes in the Rouj Basin, northern Levant, where we have been working for twenty years. My focus is the site named Tell el-Kerkh, a Neolithic mega site in the Rouj Basin. After detailed investigation of the excavation results and surface collections, I reconstructed the settlement sizes and patterns of the Neolithic periods. At Tell el-Kerkh, the Neolithic settlement expanded to around 16 ha during the Late PPNB period; then reduced gradually to 8 ha, 6 ha, and finally to smaller than 1 ha during the Pottery Neolithic periods. The thickness of cultural layers during the LPPNB period indicates that most areas were occupied simultaneously and continuously and that the Late PPNB settlement at Tell el-Kerkh was not merely large but truly large, perhaps also indicating some levels of social complexity. Therefore, we may accurately call it a mega site.
This study discusses the unique installations, recently identified as oil presses, which consist of a round or rectangular basin with a collecting vat inside. Such installations appear in the southern Levant from Late Bronze Age II to Iron Age IIA. In light of the long history of olive-oil production in this region, the author submits that these installations were larger than the oil-making facilities of the previous periods, and were also the first presses to be constructed in buildings. They represent a new mode of olive-oil production, probably with the aim of making more oil in a more efficient way. It is also reasonable to assume that it was an increasing demand for olive oil that promoted their introduction. This study will propose a possible explanation of this phenomenon: Cultural and economic factors, such as influence from the Mediterranean, the Egyptian demand for olive oil, and the cessation of imports from the Aegean around 1200 BCE, which led to the demand for olive oil in the southern Levant in Late Bronze IIB, Iron Age I, and Iron Age IIA.
Between 1993 and 1995, a large building complex was excavated in the Iron Age settlement at Tell Mastuma by the Ancient Orient Museum, Tokyo. This paper seeks to reassess the function of that complex both within the settlement and in the broader context of the Iron Age northern Levant, taking a stage further the interpretation presented in the final site report. This has involved: 1) a detailed architectural analysis employing data obtained from the excavation records; 2) a consideration of comparable Iron Age religious structures encountered in the immediate neighborhood of Mastuma as well as across the wider Levant; 3) are- examination of excavated finds from the building and from other parts of the Mastuma, focusing on those of a potentially cultic nature; 4) a consideration of the physical positioning of the building within the Mastuma settlement, and the possible relevance of that location; 5) possible links with the historical record. The essential conclusion reached is that the Mastuma building represented a local “temple” functioning at least in part as a center of provincial control for the local Iron Age polity based at Tell Afis/Hazrak.
This paper aims at clarifying the significance of the “tree of life” decoration engraved or painted on large jars found from Iron Age strata in Israel. They are anomalies because most Iron Age pottery is red washed with little paint or engraving. During the Late Bronze Age a “tree of life” decoration appears quite often on the pottery, and at first glance these Iron Age decorations appear to suggest the continuation of the Canaanite tradition of a fertility goddess and a polytheistic worldview. However, the writer shows that with the passage of time the meaning of the “tree of life” changed from representing a fertility goddess to representing the blessings of Yahweh on the basis of (1) a study of the change in the symbolic world of the “tree of life” as reflected in iconographic artifacts from MBII to Iron Age IIC, and (2) interpretation of inscriptions and drawings from Kuntillet ‘Ajrud.
It has been noted that archaeological research, subsequent preservation works and public exhibitions of historical sites in the Near East are affected by various ideologies. Especially in Israel, political leaders have used archaeology and historical sites to highlight the idea that Palestine has surely been the land of Israel from ancient times. Thus, preservation works and public exhibitions of archaeological sites have concentrated on Jewish history as well. Besides, such heritage management partially supported the Zionism movement and the unification of new citizens in a certain period. However, it has not been discussed enough how non- Jewish sites, such as those of Christians, Muslims and other religious groups, have been treated from the standpoint of heritage management. Therefore, this article takes Christian church sites as examples to examine how non-Jewish sites have been preserved and exhibited in the modern society of Israel.
Two organizations, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) and the Franciscan Order, are dealt with in my discussion. According to my analysis, several differences are revealed in their methods of heritage management for church sites. These differences stems not only from the different purposes for which the churches were erected, but also from the agencies’ different sense of the value of the sites when they are preserved and exhibited. While the INPA exhibits church sites as one element of their cultural heritage, which reflects a certain period of Israel’s history, the Franciscans retain them as religious symbols to prove the historical continuity of the Christian faith. These results indicate that several approaches have existed for preserving and exhibiting the ancient churches, which may play an important role in generating the cross- cultural landscape in Israel.
The so-called ‘Turkman Commercial Style’ in the classification of Persian painting generally refers to a particular style from late fifteenth century Iran that applies to miniature painting. The term was coined by B.W. Robinson in the 1950s in order to distinguish it from a refined style associated with the contemporary Timurid and Turkman courts. The category was labelled ‘Turkman’ since the style largely prevailed during the second half of the fifteenth century in western Iran where Qara Qoyunlu and Aq Qoyunlu tribes, known as Turkmans, dominated.
In terms of its stylistic origins and evolutionary process, north-western Iran - particularly Tabriz - has generally been suggested as a possible origin. Here the style likely developed into the form of what we now call Turkman Commercial Style under the patronage of Qara Qoyunlu Turkman, which later introduced the style into Shiraz and other centres during the course of territory expansion. A basis for this idea can be seen in the earliest copy of Mihr and Mushtarī, dating from 1419, in which miniatures exemplify the early phase of the style largely based on elements descending from the Jalayirid painting, so that the manuscript has been roughly attributed to Tabriz.
Whether this attribution is plausible is one of the topics that this paper deals with. By looking at a colophon and a scribe’s career, as the other authors have already pointed out, there can be little to suggest the manuscript’s link to Tabriz, whereas we can notice elements related to the Timurid and their realm. The paintings themselves also demonstrate a close affinity with Shiraz and Yazd art. Several works made during the 1440s within the Shiraz-influenced milieu also show an early phase of the style, which implies the possibility that the style originated and developed at places other than Tabriz.
The Opet Festival is known for its juridical function relating to the oracles of Amun. There are only three texts unequivocally relevant to its oracular sessions, dated to the Nineteenth Dynasty and later. However, other evidence can be associated with this celebration, based on the dates of events. This paper consists of two parts, each re-examining the known evidence and presenting new one. The new sources examined here are mostly related to the installations of high-ranking individuals, such as the high-priests of Amun, the divine wives, and viziers. Unlike juridical oracular sessions, the dates of their ceremonial appointments are rather peripheral in nature, taking place in proximity either to the beginning or the end of the festival. This may hint at the legal assumption of priestly titles prior to religious events and subsequent approval by the god in ceremonial settings, or reward ceremonies when those individuals received special favours from the king for their devotion to him after particular festivals. The author also notes that the accessions of kings were probably modeled on the same pattern in view that some rulers celebrated an accession anniversary at the Opet Festival in their first regnal year when they went on a tour all over Egypt to proclaim their new authority.