Near East (Including Anatolia): Geographic Description and General Chronology of the Paleolithic and Neolithic
Living reference work entry
State of Knowledge and Current Debates
The Near East is situated at the crossroads between the genus Homo’s African evolutionary core and the Eurasian periphery (Fig. 1). The Paleolithic and Neolithic prehistory of the Near East is literally central for understanding the genus Homo as a globally distributed lineage, whose single surviving species – Homo sapiens – continues to shape and be shaped by the terrestrial, omnivorous, extractive, and socially intensive niche with which it has coevolved. This essay examines the general theoretical issue of biocultural evolution in the context of Near Eastern geography, climate, ecology, and Stone Age prehistory. In doing so, it offers an overview of Paleolithic and Neolithic paleoanthropology and archaeology, with basic introductory information about industries, technocomplexes, fossils, and key sites in chronological context.
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