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The Tool Kit of Daily Life: Flaked-Stone Production at the Household Level at the Neolithic Site of 'Ain Ghazal, Jordan

  • Author(s): Barket, Theresa Marie
  • Advisor(s): Wilke, Philip J
  • et al.

The site of ‘Ain Ghazal was occupied from the Middle Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (MPPNB) to the Yarmoukian Period (9250 to 7000 BP). Previous research focused on the naviform core-and-blade industry at ‘Ain Ghazal demonstrated that during the PPNB, naviform core-and-blade production was carried out by a few part-time specialists, who supplied blade products that served as blanks for most of the formal tool kit. The research conducted here considers the generalized component of the lithic economy in order to examine the nature of core reduction and tool production that occurred in most households. Moreover, this research has the potential to provide additional insight into changes in the lithic economy, as well as an understanding of the tasks common to daily life and how they changed through time. The analyses conducted here employed replicative research and technological typologies to analyze a sample of tools, cores, and debitage from domestic-related contexts. The data accumulated from this analysis suggest that the entire tool kit was produced in most households throughout the occupation of the site, but changes in the specialized economy, along with changes in common tasks affected production choices through time. Specifically, the demise of the specialized economy by the end of the Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic (LPPNB) meant that households were responsible for producing their own tool blanks or obtaining blanks by scavenging. Correspondingly, informal tools became more common as standardized blanks became less common, and the resource materials used became more diverse. Along with the alterations in the lithic economy, evidence from the tools suggests some changes in the tasks carried out on a daily basis. In general, however, this research indicates that the tools demonstrate a fair amount of continuity through time.

The findings presented here compared with research at contemporaneous sites show that the way in which past people organized their lithic economy is complex and likely to vary from site to site. Unfortunately, studies as detailed as this one are rare in Neolithic research, but they have the potential to contribute to a more fine-grained understanding of the socioeconomic dynamics during the Neolithic of the southern Levant.

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