Before Farming

The sacred and the mundane

domestic activities at a Late Natufian burial site in the Levant

Before Farming (2007), 2007, (4), 1–14.

Abstract

Hilazon Tachtit, a small Natufian cave site in northern Israel, served first and foremost as a ritual location for the burial of the dead. Burials were found in all loci of the 30 m2 occupation. At least twenty-eight individuals were buried at the site—two of them in structures that were too small for human habitation. The ritual nature of the site is supported by some aspects of material culture, including the deposition of unusual animal parts and other kinds of ‘special garbage’ in the graves. Nevertheless, the dominant activities attested by the lithic and faunal assemblages are mundane and include hunting, tool manufacture and food processing. The ritual and domestic duality of the site attests to the integration of the sacred and the mundane in everyday Natufian life and to the importance of considering multiple dimensions of material culture in the interpretation of site function.

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Details

Author details

Grosman, Leore

Munro, Natalie