Pre-Pottery Neolithic B

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) is a division of the Neolithic developed by Dame Kathleen Kenyon during her archaeological excavations at Jericho in the southern Levant region.

The culture of this period differs from that of the earlier Pre-Pottery Neolithic A period in that people living during this period began to depend more heavily upon domesticated animals to supplement their earlier mixed agrarian and hunter-gatherer diet. In addition the flint tool kit of the period is new and quite disparate from that of the earlier period. One of its major elements is the naviform core. This is the first period in which architectural styles of the southern Levant became primarily rectilinear; earlier typical dwellings were circular, elliptical and occasionally even octagonal. Pyrotechnology was highly developed in this period. During this period, one of the main features of houses is evidenced by a thick layer of white clay plaster floors highly polished and made of lime produced from limestone. It is believed that the use of clay plaster for floor and wall coverings during PPNB led to the discovery of pottery. [Amihai Mazar, "Archaeology of the Land of the Bible:10,000 - 586 BCE", Doubleday: New York, 1992, 45.] Indeed, the earliest proto-pottery was White Ware Vessels, made from lime & gray ash, built up around baskets before firing, for several centuries around 7000 BC. [Chris Scarre. "Timeline of the Ancient World", pg. 77.] Sites from this period found in the Levant utilizing rectangular floor plans and plastered floor techniques were found at Ain Ghazal, Yiftahel (western Galilee), and Abu Hureyra (Upper Euphrates). [Amihai Mazar, "Archaeology of the Land of the Bible:10,000 - 586 BCE", Doubleday: New York, 1992, 45.] The period is dated to between ca. 9600 and ca. 8000 BP or 7500 - 6000 BCE.

Like the earlier PPNA people, the PPNB culture developed from the Earlier Natufian but shows evidence of a northerly origin, possibly indicating an influx from the region of north eastern Anatolia. The culture disappeared during the 8.2 kiloyear event, a term that climatologists have adopted for a sudden decrease in global temperatures that occurred approximately 8200 years before the present, or c. 6200 BCE, and which lasted for the next two to four centuries. In the following Munhatta and Yamukian post-pottery Neolithic cultures that succeeded it, rapid cultural development continues, although PPNB culture continued in the Amuq valley, where it influenced the later development of Ghassulian culture.

Work at the site of 'Ain Ghazal in Jordan has indicated a later Pre-Pottery Neolithic C period which lasted between 8200 and 7900 BP. Juris Zarins has proposed that a Circum Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex developed in the period from the climatic crisis of 6,200BCE, partly as a result of an increasing emphasis in PPNB cultures upon animal domesticates, and a fusion with Harifian hunter gatherers in Southern Palestine, with affiliate connections with the cultures of Fayyum and the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Cultures practicing this lifestyle spread down the Red Sea shoreline and moved east from Syria into Southern Iraq. [Zarins, Juris (1992) "Pastoral Nomadism in Arabia: Ethnoarchaeology and the Archaeological Record," in O. Bar-Yosef and A. Khazanov, eds. "Pastoralism in the Levant"]



ee also

*Pre-Pottery Neolithic A preceded PPNB
*Pre-history of the Southern Levant
*History of pottery in the Southern Levant

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