Natufian Culture

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The efforts put into producing the alcoholic beverage showed the importance of the drink in the Natufian culture, he noted.
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.
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.
Chapter II, on the Stone Age, pulls together all known evidence from the Natufian culture (ca.
The Natufian culture existed in the area of present-day Israel, Lebanon, and Syria 11,500 to 15,000 years ago.
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.
Bar-Yosef and E Valla, eds., The Natufian Culture in the Levant (Ann Arbor, Mich.: International Monographs in Prehistory, 1991).