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Products for grant RZ-255635-17

RZ-255635-17
Archaeological Investigation of Hunter-Gatherer Aggregation and Movement in Prehistoric Jordan
Lisa Maher, Regents of the University of California, Berkeley

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=RZ-255635-17

Archeological Investigation of Hunter-Gatherer Aggregation in Prehistoric Jordan (Web Resources)
Title: Archeological Investigation of Hunter-Gatherer Aggregation in Prehistoric Jordan
Author: Lisa Maher
Abstract: Archaeological Investigation of Hunter-Gatherer Aggregation and Movement in Prehistoric Jordan
Year: 2017
Primary URL: http://tdar.org

Kharaneh IV Project (Web Resources)
Title: Kharaneh IV Project
Author: Lisa Maher
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Abstract: The Kharaneh IV project explores the nature of interaction and aggregation at the end of the Pleistocene through the multi-component Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic site Kharaneh IV, Jordan. The high density of artifacts, repeated occupation, and the presence of multiple habitation structures suggests that Kharaneh IV was a hunter-gatherer aggregation site—a focal point on the landscape for community interaction. To address long-term changes and explore the nature of hunter-gatherer behavior at the cusp of agriculture, this project examines the high-resolution archaeological record of multi-season, prolonged, and repeated habitation of the region’s largest and densest hunter-gatherer aggregation site.
Year: 2015
Primary URL: https://kharaneh.com/
Primary URL Description: Kharaneh IV Project Website

Flintknapping: Merging Body and Mind (Film/TV/Video Broadcast or Recording)
Title: Flintknapping: Merging Body and Mind
Writer: Felicia De Pena
Director: N/A
Producer: N/A
Abstract: "Flintknapping: Merging Mind and Body", ARF Brownbag (UC Berkeley), 4 April 2018. My work is focused on situating the transmission of flintknapping knowledge between mobile Epipaleolithic (20,000 - 10,500 BP) hunter-gatherer peoples of the Levant through chaîne opératoire. By refitting bladelet cores at Kharaneh IV, Jordan, I strive to identify how individuals learned to flintknap, from raw material acquisition through the production of the final tool. I view the knowledge transmission process as a proxy for culture, as apprentices took on new ideas and identities to fit within a community of practice, the apprentice may have lost (or maintained) kinship ties yet subscribed to a more meaningful relationship within their community of practice. Kharaneh IV is an Early and Middle Epipaleolithic aggregation site well -situated for this research to examine the learning process due to its well-preserved stratigraphy numerous caches, and hut structures, which allows for observation of repetitive practices and identification of changes in technique. Current (and future) experimental flintknapping events in conjunction with 3D imaging and core refitting have been employed to establish baseline knowledge regarding the relationship between skill level and social structures that influence the production process.
Year: 2018
Primary URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=CD0F7VWxdvI
Primary URL Description: YouTube recording of public talk.
Access Model: Open access
Format: Video

2018 Excavations at the Epipalaeolithic Site of Kharaneh IV (Report)
Title: 2018 Excavations at the Epipalaeolithic Site of Kharaneh IV
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Abstract: From June 9-July 12 2018, the Epipalaeolithic Foragers of Azraq Project (EFAP), University of California, Berkeley and University of Tulsa, conducted excavations at the Epipalaeolithic site of Kharaneh IV. The 2018 excavation at Kharaneh IV is the seventh field season at the site, focused on exploring the nature of prehistoric (Late Pleistocene) occupation of Kharaneh IV. During this season we completed excavation on an Early Epipalaeolithic hut structure (Structure 2) discovered in the 2010 season. The goal of the 2018 excavation season was to fully excavate Structure 2 to understand the distribution of artifacts with the structure and the relationship between the structure and the surrounding deposits. This year’s excavations have prepared us for targeting specific new areas for work, namely continuing to excavate several hut features during future field seasons.
Date: 7/30/2018
Access Model: Subscription Only

Reconstructing Daily Life in Prehistory: Using micromorphology to explore the use of space. (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Reconstructing Daily Life in Prehistory: Using micromorphology to explore the use of space.
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Abstract: Ethnographic studies of hunter-gatherer societies reveal a richness of lifeways that weave together interrelated aspects of society, economy, technology and symbolism. Yet, reconstructions of the lifeways of Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers often involves working from a highly fragmented and only partially preserved archaeological record. Here, I assess our current understandings of the Palaeolithic and Epipalaeolithic of Southwest Asia based on the contributions of several foundational interdisciplinary long-term research projects in the region, with a specific focus on those employing microscale analyses.
Date: 12/15/2018
Conference Name: Cultural history of PaleoAsia: Integrative research on the formative processes of modern human cultures in Asia

Living Landscapes (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Living Landscapes
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Abstract: How can knowledge of the past be developed and transformed so that it informs understandings of the present and future? The Center for Japanese Studies at UC Berkeley presents the workshop Living Landscapes: Time, Knowledge and Ecology. This workshop invites researchers in archaeology, anthropology, agroecology, sociology and geography to explore the ways in which different forms of environmental knowledge persist through time, are manifest in landscapes, and remain relevant to contemporary sustainability challenges.
Date: 11/9/2018
Primary URL: http://events.berkeley.edu/index.php/calendar/sn/townsend.html?event_ID=121057&date=2018-11-09
Conference Name: Living Landscapes: Time, Knowledge and Ecology

How Do We Identify a Hunter-Gatherer? Is There a Mismatch Between an Archaeological and an Anthropological Hunter-Gatherer? (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: How Do We Identify a Hunter-Gatherer? Is There a Mismatch Between an Archaeological and an Anthropological Hunter-Gatherer?
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Abstract: In Southwest Asia, the archaeological record of the late Pleistocene exhibits a wide diversity of economic, technological, social and symbolic practices, providing an increasingly nuanced picture of prehistoric behavior. Traditional approaches that focused on the distinctions between hunter-gatherers and food-producers are proving overly simplistic as economic categories are blurred, and the social and ideological practices of these peoples are emphasized. Isolating economic events are difficult, as are reconstructing the impetuses and processes by which these events might have occurred. Much research on contemporary hunter-gatherers has abandoned economic labels in favor of understanding and contextualizing hunter-gatherer ontologies. With a rich dataset over the transition from hunter-gatherer to food-producer in Southwest Asia, we are beginning to explore the value of focusing on the social and ideological worlds of these Pleistocene groups. Much of this work, however, relies on ethnographic analogy and requires a critical approach to its use. With recognition of a ‘long Neolithic’ (and debates about whether this is a valid approach to transition), one must ask whether there is a mismatch between archaeological and anthropological usage of the term ‘hunter-gatherer’? Is ethnoarchaeology and ethnography relevant for identifying, defining and interpreting the behavior of archaeological hunter-gatherers? These issues are explored here using the Epipalaeolithic site of Kharaneh IV and the concept of place-making as a case study.
Date: 7/23/2018
Conference Name: Hunter-Gatherers, Farmers and the Long Neolithic’. Twelfth International Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies (CHAGS 12)

Artistic Traditions in the Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic: Kharaneh IV in Perspective (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Artistic Traditions in the Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic: Kharaneh IV in Perspective
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Abstract: Artistic objects are thought to be one of the hallmarks of the Natufian period, marking a florescence of artistic behavior appearing prior to the origins of agriculture. However, with continuing research into Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic sites in the Levant, new discoveries of ‘symbolic’ artifacts are increasing our understanding of even earlier artistic and symbolic pursuits. In this paper we present an engraved plaquette from the Middle Epipalaeolithic context of Kharaneh IV, eastern Jordan. Using white-light confocal microscopy, we analyze manufacturing traces to identify the gestures and tools used to create the plaquette. This artifact, although the only engraved piece recovered from Kharaneh IV thus far, links into wider networks of Epipalaeolithic interaction and cultural exchange. Placing the Kharaneh IV engraved object into regional context with other Early/Middle Epipalaeolithic artistic artifacts, we explore wider networks of interaction prior to the Natufian.
Date: 4/11/2018
Conference Name: Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting

Becoming Neolithic or Being a Hunter-Gatherer? Reframing the origins of agriculture through a longue durée perspective (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Becoming Neolithic or Being a Hunter-Gatherer? Reframing the origins of agriculture through a longue durée perspective
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Abstract: Searching for the origin points of major cultural revolutions and transitions has long been a driver of archaeological research, yet led to research focused on perceived boundaries, rather than continuity. Research into the origins of so-called modern human behavior, the origins of social complexity, the earliest domesticates, among others, all focus on defining moments of change that may be undetectable in the archaeological record. Perhaps some of the most enduring archaeological questions revolve around the ‘origins of agriculture’. In this paper, we explore changing historical conceptions of the ‘origins of agriculture’ in Southwest Asia in archaeological discourse and how, through the lens of the longue durée, we can trace aspects of material culture, human action, and complex human-landscape dynamics in deep time. Using examples from the Epipalaeolithic of eastern Jordan, we address current debates on Neolithization by exploring the implications of perspectives that focus on ‘becoming’ Neolithic and ‘being’ a hunter-gatherer. Through this perspective we discuss different scales of material culture analysis; from the ‘ethnographic’ lens identifying individual behaviors in the past, to the longue durée of material culture trends. This multi-scalar perspective gives insights into how we construct cultural boundaries and understand change during the ‘origins of agriculture’.
Date: 4/12/2018
Conference Name: Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting

Meat outside the freezer: Drying, smoking, salting and sealing meat in fat at an Epipalaeolithic megasite in eastern Jordan (Article)
Title: Meat outside the freezer: Drying, smoking, salting and sealing meat in fat at an Epipalaeolithic megasite in eastern Jordan
Author: Anna Spyrou
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Author: Louise Martin
Author: Andrew Garrard
Abstract: Even though pivotal for understanding many aspects of human behaviour, preservation and storage of animal resources has not received great attention from archaeologists. One could argue that the main problem lies in the difficulties of demonstrating meat storage archaeologically due to the lack of direct evidence. This paper represents an attempt to refine zooarchaeological methods for the recognition of meat preservation and storage at prehistoric sites. Drawing on the faunal assemblage from Kharaneh IV, an Early/Middle Epipalaeolithic aggregation site in eastern Jordan, this study demonstrates that a combination of taphonomic and contextual analyses alongside ethnographic information may indeed lead archaeologists to insights not directly available from the archaeological record. The empirical evidence presented here contributes to the archaeological visibility of meat preservation and storage, providing a clearer concept of the nature of these practices in preagricultural societies.
Year: 2019
Primary URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2019.02.004
Primary URL Description: Article in Journal of Anthropological Archaeology
Access Model: Subscription Only
Format: Journal
Publisher: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology

Life, death, and the destruction of architecture: hunter-gatherer mortuary behaviors in prehistoric Jordan (Article)
Title: Life, death, and the destruction of architecture: hunter-gatherer mortuary behaviors in prehistoric Jordan
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Author: Emma Pomeroy
Author: Jay T. Stock
Abstract: The end of the Pleistocene in Southwest Asia is widely known for the emergence of socially-complex huntergatherers— the Natufians—characterized by a rich material culture record, including elaborate burials. In comparison, human interments that predate the Natufian are rare. The discovery and excavation of a hut structure at the 20,000-year-old Epipalaeolithic site of Kharaneh IV in eastern Jordan reveals the remains of an adult female intentionally placed in a semi-flexed position on one of the structure’s floors. The structure was burned down shortly after her deposition, extensively charring the human remains. The burying of the dead within structures and the burning of domestic structures are well-known from later Neolithic periods, although their combination as a mortuary practice is rare. However, for the Early Epipalaeolithic, the burning of a structure containing the primary deposition of human remains is novel and signifies an early appearance for the intentional burning of bodies as a mortuary treatment and symbolic behaviors associated with the interrelated life histories of structures and people.
Year: 2021
Primary URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2020.101262
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology
Publisher: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology - Elsevier

Introduction (Book Section)
Title: Introduction
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Author: Brian Andrews
Editor: Brian Andrews
Editor: Danielle A. Macdonald
Abstract: The central role of the architecture for structuring cultural patterns and behaviors is well known for complex sedentary societies. In contrast, hunter-gatherer’s relationship to the built environment, particularly mobile hunter-gatherers, is not often discussed in anthropological or archaeological literature (although see Cuenca-Solana, et al. 2018 and references therein; Maher and Conkey 2019; Milner, et al. 2018; Zubrow, et al. 2010). In contrast to the houses of sedentary peoples, hunter-gatherer houses are often described as ephemeral utilitarian shelters without further investigation into their cultural importance. The papers in this volume seek to reframe the conversation around hunter-gatherer houses through exploration of the diversity of hunter-gatherers’ interaction with the built environment. The papers span broad temporal and cross-cultural ranges to understanding hunter-gatherer houses, exploring the use of architecture across time and space. Through these collected ideas, we hope that readers gain a new understanding of the importance of both ephemeral and persisting architecture for hunter-gatherer communities and cultures. Creating a sense of home is not limited to sedentary communities who construct permanent houses; mobile peoples also have meaningful relationships with architecture and use the built environment to help structure their world view.
Year: 2021
Publisher: University of Florida Press
Book Title: More Than Shelter from the Storm: Hunter-Gatherer Houses and the Built Environment

A Space for Living and Dying: The Life-History of Kharaneh IV Structures (Book Section)
Title: A Space for Living and Dying: The Life-History of Kharaneh IV Structures
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Editor: Brian Andrews
Editor: Danielle A. Macdonald
Abstract: The built environment delineates space for daily actions and important moments. Separating the occupants from the external world, walls can create barriers between the outside or can build communities within them. In archaeological literature, the term ‘house’ often describes the architecture of settled peoples, painting visual images of sturdy stone structures dotting the landscape in perpetuity. In part, this image is constructed as the result of archaeological preservation; stone houses have longevity, with foundations and walls standing for thousands of years. In contrast, ephemeral and organic structures such as tents and brush huts are rarely preserved, and thus escape our conceptions of house and home in the past (Maher and Conkey, 2019). Issues of visibility are also intertwined with site function; what is visible archaeologically may be activity areas that do not relate to the domicile, which may be at a different location, and thus not identified in the archaeological record (Briz i Godino et al., 2013, Zubrow et al., 2010). This has led to a bias where mobile peoples are often forgotten in discussions of household archaeology, with a primacy placed on people who build permanent architecture. However, despite our modern biases, hunter-gatherers did (and do) have structures. Furthermore, as recently argued by Maher and Conkey (2019), these structures can convey a sense of ‘home’, a concept usually reserved for sedentary people. Homes are where ‘life happens’, where people interact with each other and with the objects in their lives. Not only are homes loci for ‘life’, they themselves also live, undergoing changes, evolving with the inhabitants, and transitioning through rites of passage (Tringham, 1995). Recent excavations of two structures at Kharaneh IV, an Epipalaeolithic site in Eastern Jordan, provides a window into the lifeways of a hunter-gatherer community by reconstructing the life-history of the structures. These structures are ephemeral brush hut
Year: 2021
Publisher: University of Florida Press
Book Title: More Than Shelter from the Storm: Hunter-Gatherer Houses and the Built Environment

Diversity in Hunter-Gatherer Architecture (Book Section)
Title: Diversity in Hunter-Gatherer Architecture
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Editor: Metin Eren
Editor: Briggs Buchanan
Abstract: Diversity in the architecture of sedentary and complex societies is well-studied, but an emphasis on the role of mobility in hunter-gatherer adaptation has resulted in a lack of discussion of the built environment among these communities. Here we take a temporally broad and cross-cultural approach to document variability in archaeologically known hunter-gatherer architecture, focusing on diversity in form and function and the relationship between variability in architectural elements and environmental conditions, subsistence strategies, and social organization.
Year: 2021
Publisher: Berghahn Books

THE FORMATION OF EARLY NEOLITHIC COMMUNITIES IN THE CENTRAL ZAGROS: AN 11,500 YEAR-OLD COMMUNAL STRUCTURE AT ASIAB (Article)
Title: THE FORMATION OF EARLY NEOLITHIC COMMUNITIES IN THE CENTRAL ZAGROS: AN 11,500 YEAR-OLD COMMUNAL STRUCTURE AT ASIAB
Author: Tobias Richter
Author: Hojjat Darabi
Author: SAJJAD ALIBAIGI
Author: AMAIA ARRANZ-OTAEGUI
Author: PERNILLE BANGSGAARD
Author: SHOKOUH KHOSRAVI
Author: Lisa Maher
Author: PEDER MORTENSEN
Author: PATRICK PEDERSEN
Author: Joe Roe
Author: Lisa Yeomans
Abstract: Communal buildings have been reported from a number of early Neolithic sites from the Levant and Anatolia, but none were known from the central Zagros. Here we report on the recent excavations at Asiab, Kermanshah province, Iran, and argue that the principal feature found during Robert Braidwood’s excavation at the site in 1960 should be interpreted as an example of a communal building. We discuss the results of the previous and recent excavations, highlight the key features of this building, and the implications for our understanding of the early Neolithic in the ‘eastern wing’ of the Fertile Crescent.
Year: 2021
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Oxford Journal of Archaeology
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

Kharaneh IV (Article)
Title: Kharaneh IV
Author: Lisa Maher
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Abstract: The site of Kharaneh IV, located in eastern Jordan, was occupied by hunter-gatherers from 18,600 to 19,800 years before present. It was an aggregation site, where hunter-gatherer groups from throughout the region took advantage of lush environmental conditions in the once wetland area, rich in a diverse array of flora and fauna, to congregate repeatedly and for prolonged periods for a variety of economic and social reasons. The unique nature of the deposits, including the presence of several hut structures, highlights the importance of this site for understanding the nature of human behavior prior to the origins of agriculture. From June 15 to July 18, 2019, the Epipalaeolithic Foragers in Azraq Project conducted archaeological excavations at the site of Kharaneh IV, the eighth field season at the site. The goals of the 2019 excavation season were to fully excavate the spaces around several hut structures to understand the relationship between the structures and the surrounding deposits, as well as explore architectural features in previously underexplored sections of this large site.
Year: 2020
Access Model: Open access
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Archaeology in Jordan
Publisher: American Journal of Archaeology

Evaluating the effects of parallax in archaeological geometric morphometric analyses (Article)
Title: Evaluating the effects of parallax in archaeological geometric morphometric analyses
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Author: Kyleigh Royal
Author: Briggs Buchanan
Abstract: Geometric morphometrics is a powerful set of techniques that can be used to visualize and analyze the shape of artifacts. With the growing use of geometric morphometrics in archaeology, it is important to understand and identify limitations in the method. One such limitation is the accumulation of measurement error. Here, we investigate the impact of parallax or the effect of the position of an object in relation to the camera. We designed an experiment to assess the effect of parallax on measurements of artifact morphology by photographing a sample of artifacts at close range (50 cm) and systematically shifting the fixed angle of the camera relative to the artifact in five steps: 90°, 95°, 100°, 105°, and 110°. We took digital images of geometric microliths from three Jordanian Epipalaeolithic sites at each of the camera angles. We then digitized the outline of each artifact using 24 sliding landmarks. Our subsequent analyses of microlith shapes grouped by camera angle show that they are statistically indistinguishable from each other, which suggests that within these parameters, parallax has little effect on geometric morphometric measurements. While taking digital images directly above artifacts is ideal, the angle at which previously published photographs of artifacts is sometimes unknown. Our findings suggest that small deviations of the camera angle (up to 20° from horizontal) will not significantly impact geometric morphometric analyses.
Year: 2020
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Publisher: Springer

Communities of Interaction: Tradition and Learning in Stone Tool Production Through the Lens of the Epipaleolithic of Kharaneh IV, Jordan (Book Section)
Title: Communities of Interaction: Tradition and Learning in Stone Tool Production Through the Lens of the Epipaleolithic of Kharaneh IV, Jordan
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Editor: Huw Groucutt
Abstract: Between 23 and 11.5 ka Epipaleolithic groups of Southwest Asia initiated and experienced dramatic changes —on a previously unprecedented scale—in economy and settlement, with the appearance of semi-sedentary villages and intensified interdependent relationships with each other and specific plants and animals. These events provide a rare opportunity to study the long-term development of social processes in the region and the increasingly obvious fact that social, economic and technological changes were manifested as complex, entangled and non-linear developments. Most recent attempts to explain change in the material culture record typically highlight the earliest evidence for plant management or cultivation, ritual funerary practices, and dwelling and architecture. While these are important contributions that serve as the foundation for challenging our traditional notions of hunter-gatherer to farmer transitions, they center on changes in the economic or symbolic realms of prehistoric life, arguably downplaying the role of technology. This paper attempts to explore the role of technology in our reconstructions of the lifeways of hunter-gatherers by examining the social role of technology, the centrality of the technological process to everyday practice, and the transmission of technological knowledge (and, thus, culture) through communities of practice. We use chipped stone tools and their associated debris from the site of Kharaneh IV, eastern Jordan, as an illustrative case study of how we currently study chipped stone tools in this region. Using a chaîne opératoire approach to the study of EP assemblages, we consider how different groups of knappers at the EP site of Kharaneh IV, and beyond, interacted in fluid and ever-changing interactions to share knowledge or reinforce existing social traditions.
Year: 2020
Publisher: Springer Nature
Book Title: Culture History and Convergent Evolution: Can We Detect Populations in Prehistory?


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