Natufian Culture

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Natufian Culture


an archaeological Mesolithic culture dating from the eighth to tenth millennia B.C. It was widespread in the historical region of Palestine and, to some extent, in what are now Syria and southern Turkey. The culture was identified by the British archaeologist D. Garrod on the basis of finds in the cave of Shuqbah on the shore of Wadi-en-Natuf, 27 km northwest of Jerusalem (1928–32).

The Natufians generally lived in caves; sometimes they lived in settlements under the open sky or in semisubterranean dwellings whose walls were faced with clay mixed with sand or pebbles. They engaged in hunting, fishing, and the gathering of wild grain (using special knives for harvesting). The highly developed mode of gathering led to the emergence of an early farming culture in the prepottery Neolithic. Many archaeologists acknowledge that the Natufian culture may represent the most ancient primitive farming culture.

The Natufian culture is characterized by flint geometric-shaped, microlithic tools, flint insets for scythes and harvesting knives, mortars and pestles for grinding grain, and bone harpoons and fishhooks.


Masson, V. M. “K voprosu o mezolite Perednei Azii.” In Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii SSR, no. 126. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966.
Shnirel’man, V. A. “Natufiiskaia kul’tura (obzor literatury).” Sovetskaia arkheologiia, 1973, no. 1.


References in periodicals archive ?
At least 35 members of the Natufian culture gathered then to dine on wild tortoise meat at the burial pit of a woman who probably had been a shaman, the researchers report in the Aug.
The Natufian culture in the Levant (International Monographs in Prehistory 1): 411-24.
Archaeology in the archives; unveiling the Natufian culture of Mount Carmel.
Natufian culture was established in the region by 10,000 BC and was a parent of civilisations to follow.
The Natufian culture in the Levant, threshold to the origins of agriculture.
GAME FOR CHANGE The immediate ancestors of the first farmers in the Middle East belonged to the Natufian culture, which lasted from about 12,800 to 10,200 years ago.
Some blades date back to the Natufian culture, which existed between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago.
The Natufian culture (Garrod 1932) developed in the southern Levant in the terminal Pleistocene around 13000 BP (Weinstein-Evron 1998; Stutz 2004).
in Europe from the Chatelperronian culture through the Magdalenian culture (Otte 1994); in western Asia -- the Natufian culture (Bar-Yosef 1994); in China -- the Shandingdong (=Upper Cave) culture or equivalents (Huang et al.
She had discovered the well-preserved skull fragments of 'Abel', a Neanderthal child, in Gibraltar, identified the Natufian culture while excavating Shukbah near Jerusalem, directed the large, long-term excavations at Mt Carmel, established the Palaeolithic succession for that crucial region and then travelled, in 1938, to explore the important Palaeolithic cave of Bacho Kiro in Bulgaria.
All that can be said for now is that, 60 years after the discovery and definition of the Natufian culture in the Levant, we face yet another emerging aspect of its fascinating culture.
Thus the microlith-using and cereal-eating Natufian culture of Palestine, initially considered `Mesolithic' by north European prehistorians like Kathleen Kenyon, is now dated to the closing centuries of the Pleistocene and so becomes Palaeolithic (or, worse, `Epipalaeolithic', like an irrelevant afterthought).