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.

REFERENCES

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.

P. I. BORISKOVSKII

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Archaeology in the archives; unveiling the Natufian culture of Mount Carmel.
The Natufian culture existed in the area of present-day Israel, Lebanon, and Syria 11,500 to 15,000 years ago.
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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.