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Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic culture, dating to c. 12,000 – c. 10,800 years ago, that is, 10,000–8,800 BCE.[1][2][3] Archaeological remains are located in the Levantine and Upper Mesopotamian region of the Fertile Crescent.

The time period is characterized by tiny circular mud brick dwellings, the cultivation of crops, the hunting of wild game, and unique burial customs in which bodies were buried below the floors of dwellings.[4]

The Pre-Pottery Neolithic A and the following Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) were originally defined by Kathleen Kenyon in the type site of Jericho (Palestine). During this time, pottery was not yet in use. They precede the ceramic Neolithic (Yarmukian). PPNA succeeds the Natufian culture of the Epipaleolithic (Mesolithic).

Settlements

Evolution of temperatures in the Post-Glacial period according to Greenland ice cores. The Pre-Pottery Neolithic corresponds to the period of warming of the Holocene.[5]
Calibrated Carbon 14 dates for Gesher, the earliest known Neolithic site as of 2013.[6]
Reliefs of animals, Göbekli Tepe Layer III (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A), c. 9000 BCE.

PPNA archaeological sites are much larger than those of the preceding Natufian hunter-gatherer culture, and contain traces of communal structures, such as the famous Tower of Jericho. PPNA settlements are characterized by round, semi-subterranean houses with stone foundations and terrazzo-floors. The upper walls were constructed of unbaked clay mudbricks with plano-convex cross-sections. The hearths were small, and covered with cobbles. Heated rocks were used in cooking, which led to an accumulation of fire-cracked rock in the buildings, and almost every settlement contained storage bins made of either stones or mud-brick.

As of 2013 Gesher, modern Israel, became the earliest known of all known Neolithic sites (PPNA), with a calibrated Carbon 14 date of 10,459 BCE ± 348 years, analysis suggesting that it may have been the starting point of a [4]

The Pre-Pottery Neolithic A and the following Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) were originally defined by Kathleen Kenyon in the type site of Jericho (Palestine). During this time, pottery was not yet in use. They precede the ceramic Neolithic (Yarmukian). PPNA succeeds the Natufian culture of the Epipaleolithic (Mesolithic).

PPNA archaeological sites are much larger than those of the preceding Natufian hunter-gatherer culture, and contain traces of communal structures, such as the famous Tower of Jericho. PPNA settlements are characterized by round, semi-subterranean houses with stone foundations and terrazzo-floors. The upper walls were constructed of unbaked clay mudbricks with plano-convex cross-sections. The hearths were small, and covered with cobbles. Heated rocks were used in cooking, which led to an accumulation of fire-cracked rock in the buildings, and almost every settlement contained storage bins made of either stones or mud-brick.

As of 2013 Gesher, modern Israel, became the earliest known of all known Neolithic sites (PPNA), with a calibrated Carbon 14 date of 10,459 BCE ± 348 years, analysis suggesting that it may have been the starting point of a Neolithic revolution.[7] A contemporary site is Mureybet in modern Syria.[8]

One of the most notable PPNA settlements is Jericho, thought to be the world's first town (c. 9,000 BCE).[9] The PPNA town contained a population of up to 2,000–3,000 people, and was protected by a massive stone wall and tower. There is much debate over the function of the wall, for there is no evidence of any serious warfare at this time.[10] One possibility is the wall was built to protect the salt resources of Jericho.[11] It has also been proposed that the tower caught the shadow of the largest nearby mountain on summer solstice in order to create a sense of power in support of whatever hierarchy ruled the town's inhabitants.[12]

Burial practices

Gesher, modern Israel, became the earliest known of all known Neolithic sites (PPNA), with a calibrated Carbon 14 date of 10,459 BCE ± 348 years, analysis suggesting that it may have been the starting point of a Neolithic revolution.[7] A contemporary site is Mureybet in modern Syria.[8]

One of the most notable PPNA settlements is Jericho, thought to be the world's first town (c. 9,000 BCE).[9] The PPNA town contained a population of up to 2,000–3,000 people, and was protected by a massive stone wall and tower. There is much debate over the function of the wall, for there is no evidence of any serious warfare at this time.[10] One possibility is the wall was built to protect the salt resources of Jericho.[11] It has also been proposed that the tower caught the shadow of the largest nearby mountain on summer solstice in order to create a sense of power in support of whatever hierarchy ruled the town's inhabitants.[12]

The Tower of Jericho was built at the end of Pre-Pottery Neolithic A, c. 8000 BCE.

  • Jericho, c. 9000 BCE (Replica). Israel Museum.[13]

  • Burial practices

    [17] In the PPNB period, skulls were often dug up and reburied, or mottled with clay and (presumably) displayed.

    Lithics

    The lithic industry is based on blades struck from regular cores. Sickle-blades and arrowheads continue traditions from the late Natufian culture, transverse-blow axes and polished adzes appear for the first time.

    Crop cultivation and granaries

    blades struck from regular cores. Sickle-blades and arrowheads continue traditions from the late Natufian culture, transverse-blow axes and polished adzes appear for the first time.

    Crop cultivation and granaries

    domestication", but may have begun to develop plant species into the domesticated forms they are today. Deliberate, extended-period storage was made possible by the use of "suspended floors for air circulation and protection from rodents". This practice "precedes the emergence of domestication and large-scale sedentary communities by at least 1,000 years".[2]

    Granaries are positioned in places between other buildings early on c. 11,500 BP, however, beginning around 10,500 BP, they were moved inside houses, and by 9,500 BP storage occurred in special rooms.[2] This change might reflect changing systems of ownership and property as granaries shifted from a communal use and ownership to become under the control of households or individuals.[2]

    It has been observed of these granaries that their "sophisticated storage systems with subfloor ventilation are a precocious development that precedes the emergence of almost all of the other elements of the Near Eastern Neolithic package—domestication, large scale sedentary communities, and the entrenchment of some degree of social differentiation". Moreover, "[b]uilding granaries may [...] have been the most important feature in increasing sedentism that required active community participation in new life-ways".[2]

    With more sites becoming known, archaeologists have defined a number of regional variants of Pre-Pottery Neolithic A: