Programmes > Par auteur > Bar-Yosef Mayer Daniella E.

Shell beads in Neolithic burial contexts - the curious case of Kfar HaHoresh
Heeli C. Schechter  1, *@  , A. Nigel Goring-Morris  2@  , Daniella E. Bar-Yosef Mayer  3@  
1 : Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem  (MNDL-HUJ)  -  Site web
Jerusalem 91905 -  Israël
2 : The Hebrew University of Jerusalem  (HUJ)  -  Site web
Jerusalem 91905 -  Israël
3 : The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Tel Aviv University  (SMNH)  -  Site web
Tel Aviv 6997801 -  Israël
* : Auteur correspondant

This study examines the use of shell beads in specific burial contexts found at the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) cultic-mortuary site of Kfar HaHoresh, Israel. The site includes strata representing the three major phases of the PPNB – Early, Middle and Late. Architectural elements, material culture and mortuary practices change through the Neolithic sequence found at the site, reflecting changing cultural behaviors, norms and beliefs.

Architectural changes include the transition from the use of a massive walled and lime-plastered podium, to multiple complexes of terraces, smaller structures and plastered surfaces, cists, installations and combustion features, scattered in groups throughout the site. Burial customs change from single, mostly primary adult burials, to multiple secondary burials, some with bone arrangements and an increase in accompanying grave goods. These developments are graduated, complex and not necessarily synchronous yet represent a general vector of change.

A very large molluscan assemblage (>3,200 items), including marine, freshwater and land snail shells, was found in different contexts at the site. Concentrating on the marine shells, the assemblage is typical of Mediterranean zone PPNB sites, including mostly Mediterranean bivalves, accompanied by a small group of Mediterranean gastropods and rare Red Sea gastropods. The presence of Red Sea shells, originating at least 350 km away, attests to the long distance connections between different human populations in the Levant. A small fraction of the shells from the site are worked, perforated, or otherwise manipulated to function as beads and pendants. The shell beads recovered from burial contexts at the site, representing an integral aspect of developing funerary practices, are examined, and the different trends of change and continuity in this cultural behavior during the course of the PPNB, are discussed.

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