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Export of Ore and Copper: The Importance of Faynan in Prehistoric Palestine

Part of the Natural Science in Archaeology book series (ARCHAEOLOGY)

Abstract

With the domestication of plants and animals at the beginning of the 8th millennium BCE, the evolving husbandry became an economic basis of human societies for the first time. This change from food gathering to food production was an important cultural evolution. This ‘Neolithic revolution’ is the most obvious factor, which divides the hunter and gatherer society of the Palaeolithic from that of the early or Pre-Pottery Neolithic. The same time period witnesses new uses of color having importance and meaning throughout the entire Eastern Mediterranean. During the Palaeolithic, the colors used in symbolic contexts such as the well-known cave paintings, were mainly red and black, made from iron and manganese (hydr)oxides. During the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, green achieves more and more importance. Individual objects made from green minerals or stones had already been found in the Epipalaeo-lithic/ Protoneolithic, for example a pendant from serpentinite with malachite in the Shanidar cave in northern Iraq (Solecki 1969) or pieces of secondary copper ore from the settlement of Hallan çemi Tepesi in Anatolia (Rosenberg 1994). But the widely distributed use of green mineral pigments can be considered the third characteristic of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, and here particularly for the PPNB. The use of ‘greenstone’, as these materials are collectively known in archaeology, has been observed all over Palestine and Transjordan (Garfinkel 1987) as well as in the entire Eastern Mediterranean as far as the Balkans (Glumac 1985). It continues uninterrupted through the remainder of the Neolithic up to the beginning of the Bronze Age at the turn of the 4th to the 3rd millennium.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

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