The Timnian and Pastoral Nomadism in the Chalcolithic
Although the earliest evidence for the domestication of caprines (sheep and goats) in the Levant is associated with Neolithic occupations of the early Holocene (Clutton-Brock 1979; Ducos and Helmer 1981; Hecker 1982; Horwitz 1987; Hole 1989), it was not until very late Neolithic or even Chalcolithic times, some 5,000–7,000 years ago, that we see the first clear indications of populations that practiced pastoral nomadism (Gilead 1992; Rosen 1988; Bar-Yosef and Khazanov 1992; Koehler-Rollefson 1989, 1992). Depending upon their environmental settings, these groups displayed varying degrees of residential mobility and dependence upon the herding of caprines. Such patterns appear to have ranged from permanent settlements based largely upon a mixed economy of horticulture and animal husbandry to mobile settlements lacking horticulture and dependent upon the herding of sheep and goats. Hunting, especially of gazelles, and presumably gathering also appears to have contributed significantly to the economies of the fully nomadic pastoralists, at least as indicated by the evidence from southern Jordan. As might be expected, the more permanent settlements with their more diversified economies are found within the better watered areas of the Levant, whereas fully nomadic pastoralism is most often associated with the exploitation of the driest portions of the region.
KeywordsResidential Mobility Wild Plant Food Drift Sand Cereal Cultivation Pastoral Nomadism
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