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The Agricultural Landscape of Tel Burna: Ecology and Economy of a Bronze Age/Iron Age Settlement in the Southern Levant

Abstract

The Shephelah, known as the breadbasket of the southern Levant, is one of the more extensively investigated regions of the southern Levant in terms of archaeobotanical research. However, studies dealing with agriculture are scarce in comparison to the archaeobotanical data available. The analysis of the archaeobotanical assemblage in combination with the archaeological remains from Tel Burna will contribute to the investigation of the agriculture of the Shephelah. Several seasons of excavation revealed a cultic complex dating to the Late Bronze Age and an Iron Age II settlement with various agricultural installations such as silos and wine or olive presses. In this paper, we present the agricultural features in conjunction with the systematical archaeobotanical sampling, which enables us to reconstruct the types of crop plants cultivated at the site. Grass pea seeds dominate the assemblage collected from the Late Bronze Age complex, which may point to a connection to the Aegean. The Iron Age assemblage is distinguished by a significantly broad range of crop plants which were cultivated in vicinity of the tell. The archaeological Iron Age remains indicate that the processing of secondary products such as olive oil, wine, or textiles took place within the Iron Age settlement of Tel Burna. This first comprehensive overview describes the character of agricultural production in the Late Bronze Age to Iron Age environmental and geopolitical transformations.

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Archeology, Zionism and Photography in Palestine: Analysis of the Use of Dimensions of People in Photographs

Abstract

The physical dimensions of people in archeological photographs in Palestine from before 1948 and in Western tourist landscape photography have played a role in forms of local documentation. The study discusses how this component affects readings and perceptions of photographs. It addresses Jewish propaganda photographs in which pioneers were intentionally enlarged and centered in photographs. It discusses forms of visual empowerment in relation to constructed dimensions of people as a form of Zionist defiance of British colonialism in Palestine.

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Beyond the Walls: Locating the Common Denominator in Herod’s Landscape Palaces

Abstract

The Question of King Herod's personal involvement in the Building Projects attributed to him was always one of the more dominant topics in the study of Herodian archaeology. The purpose of this short paper is to try and answer this question by researching and discussing the location of a ‘common denominator’ in the structure of Herod's “Landscape” palaces, through the study of the relationship each palace has with its surroundings. These palaces-the Promontory Palace in Caesarea, the Third Palace in Jericho, the Northern Palace in Masada and the Palace of Great Herodium-were chosen as case studies for their scale, architectural complexity and the unique connection they share with the landscape. While a close study of the interior of the palaces and their structural units show that each palace plan is unique and shares almost nothing in common with the other plans, a research of the landscape in which the palaces are located indicates that a common denominator to all four palaces can be found in the forms of the elements of water and the dramatic landscape. These two elements, combined with the uniqueness of the structures themselves, point to Herod's own involvement in the planning of the four “Landscape” palaces.

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Dissolution of lead matte and copper slag upon exposure to rhizosphere-like conditions

Abstract

Metallurgical wastes displaying various chemical and mineralogical properties may reveal different behaviour under exposure to weathering conditions. The latter impact the stability of the wastes, which often results in metal release and subsequent pollution problems. The aim of this study was to compare the weathering of two types of metallurgical wastes (i.e., copper slag and lead matte) exposed to artificial root exudates organic solutions and demineralized water. The results of experimental weathering demonstrated that the extent of waste dissolution depends on the composition of weathering solution as well as on the waste properties. Artificial root exudates rich in organic acids were found to enhance elements release from sulphide rich lead matte and copper glassy slag relative to demineralized water control. The release of elements from the wastes exposed to artificial root exudates for 7 weeks reached 17.8% of Pb and 4.97% of Cu, for lead matte and granulated slag respectively. The most leachable elements may result from the dissolution of intermetallic phases hosting these elements. The fraction size ranging from 0.25–0.5 mm to 1–2 mm was found to be a minor factor in elements release under studied conditions.

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Economic Conditions in the Area Around the Sea of Galilee in Pre-Hellenistic Times

Abstract

In a landscape archaeology project all the fertile fields around the Sea of Galilee (an area of 50 × 30 km) were mapped. The whole territory was subdivided in 5 regions: Jordan valley, Lower Galilee, Upper Galilee, Golan and Transjordanian Hill Country. Additionally all ancient sites from the Neolithic to the Persian period, which are mentioned in archaeological literature, were collected – all together more than 300 sites. These data allow a reconstruction of the economic conditions in antiquity in the area around the Sea of Galilee. Landscape archaeology clearly demonstrates that the economic basis may have been completely diverse in the five sub-regions, and also during different times. Agriculture played a major role in the economy of ancient people. During some periods and in some regions people lived in the midst of the fields, while in other periods they settled at the edges in order not to waste valuable farmland. On the other hand the position of some sites in some periods clearly demonstrates that trade played a major role for the income of the settlers, or basalt mining and working. Streets can be reconstructed, and our methodological approach allows new insights in the economy of this area

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Into the Darkness: Deep Caves in the Ancient Near East

Abstract

In this paper I will present the assemblage of pottery vessels and objects of luxury dated to the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods discovered in the Zarda Cave in Western Samaria, Israel. The context in which this assemblage was found is strongly reminiscent of other proto-historic depositions found in Israel. As determent of objects of value found in the deep and dark caves cannot be explained by means of burial offerings or regular hoards one most provide this remarkable phenomenon by a different theory. In this paper, I claim that these depositions were ritual in nature. They bear physical evidence for rituals performed by specially chosen members of the society, which we call today shamans. These caves were chosen due to their physical properties to become scenes for rituals of rites of passage in the course of which they experienced altered states of consciousness. In the course of time these caves have accumulated considerable social power becoming liminal monuments on the fringes of social landscapes in the local cultures. We may understand deep and dark caves as an element of pre-urban cosmology embedded into the local landscape, traces of which can be detected in much later traditions.

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Landscape Archaeology in the Wādī al-ʿArab Region

Abstract

As an integral part of the Gadara-Region-Project, a survey of the Wādī al-‘Arab region was conducted during the years 2009-2012, by the Biblical-Archaeological Institute Wuppertal and the German Protestant Institute for Archaeology in order to achieve a better understanding of the hinterland of the main study site Tall Zirāʿa and to provide answers concerning settlement pattern, trade relationships and the importance of sites throughout time.

On the basis of this survey we used ecological approaches to see what correlation might exist between archaeological sites and habitat. Since more than half the sites in this survey had Roman occupation, we asked what difference, if any, was there in the distribution of Roman sites compared to previous occupations. A comparison was made of “new” Roman sites (those not previously occupied in the Hellenistic period) with those that had both Roman and Hellenistic occupation.

Open water, riverine habitats, and large archaeological sites all seemed connected. In addition, analysis indicated a correlation of older (more successful or established?) sites with open water and new Roman sites were less related to water. We knew that Roman engineering both of cistern systems and aqueducts opened new areas (such as plateaus) for settlement and exploitation. Hence the weaker correlation of new Roman sites with natural water was reasonable.

Open access
Living Among the Dead – Settlement Structures in the North-Western Pontic Region in the 4th Millennium BC

Abstract

The function of the plan-schematic settlements of the so called Cucuteni-Tripolye-Complex in the north-western pontic region remains enigmatic and yet, these structures haven´t been approached holistically. The article aims to address basic aspects as the construction plan and the chronology at one of these sites, the settlement Petreni in the Republic of Moldova. Beyond that, it shall be outlined, in how far the settlements served as mnemonic places.

Deliberately burnt houses in these settlements represent a characteristic feature, which do not only resemble the end of a settling stage - they rather mark performative acts and may be associated with the death of a household or a community member. As the burnt house debris has not been removed or levelled, it reflects a visible marker for preceding generations among the living - such structures constitute distinctive mechanisms of commemoration and mirror communities which share a common set of experiences and knowledge.

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New Directions with Digital Archaeology and Spatial Analysis in the Jezreel Valley

Abstract

The Jezreel Valley Regional Project (JVRP) is a long-term multidisciplinary project investigating human activity in the Jezreel Valley through all periods through the modern era. This research incorporates extensive and intensive archaeological survey and excavation at several spatial scales, and utilizes a number of methodological approaches to documentation and spatial analysis. One of the major challenges of this project has been coping with a high volume of data, and integrating cutting-edge technology into our workflow to solve the problems that many archaeologists face. This paper will present an overview of our field-based methods of data acquisition, particularly by means of 3D photogrammetry, remote sensing, and high-precision ground control. When integrated through our data management system and used in GIS applications, these data not only produce plans and imagery far more precise than conventional approaches, but the methods used are incredibly time-efficient, cost-effective, and produce archival digital data. Furthermore, we will report on results of spatial analysis of archaeological activity in the Jezreel Valley in conjunction with digital terrain and hydrological modelling of the landscape. These digital techniques allow us to study human and environmental changes in the landscape like never before.

Open access
The Origins of Terracing in the Southern Levant and Patch Cultivation/Box Fields

Abstract

This paper looks at various suggestions relating to what incipient and early forms of terracing might have looked like, and goes on to suggest that some of the earliest terraces in the southern Levant may have emerged from horticultural practices, and more specifically the cultivation of olive trees within sunken patches of soil on rocky hillslopes (referred to as “patch cultivation” or “box fields”). This phenomenon may be traced back to the Chalcolithic period (4th millennium B.C.E), if not to earlier times.

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