David Eitam Abstract Introduction

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David Eitam. In memory ...... David Eitam, independent researcher .... Epipalaeolithic-Neolithic Transition, In: BOCQUET-APPEL J.-P. and BAR-YOSEF O. (eds.) ...

NEW ASPECTS OF THE NATUFIAN CULTURE: HUZUQ MUSA, AN EXCEPTIONAL SITE IN THE JORDAN VALLEY

David Eitam In memory of Adam Zertal and Nivi Mirkam

Abstract At the site of Huzuq Musa (ca. 0.5-hectare), in the southern Jordan Valley, four "public" zones vs. a "private" dwelling zone can be identified. The dwelling zone holds some 30, small, stone-walled, huts and dozens of rock-cut conical mortars. The public zones holed numerous installations cut in rock exposures including four threshing floors. These facilities are common in many Natufian sites. Thusly classifying the site to this era. The functional interpretation, supported by experiments carried out, indicated the installations were used for the preparation of food from wild cereals. The analysis of the surface archaeological facilities of Huzuq Musa allows a reconstruction of cultural aspects of the settlement and points towards a small village with ca. 100 inhabitants who produced wild barley food as a plant-based staple. This study raises the crucial question: is Huzuq Musa a unique case or is it the first recorded example of food production by the Natufian people in general?

Keywords: Natufian, spatial-organization, conical mortars, cereal-meals, foodproduction.

Introduction The 0.5-hectare Huzuq Musa is located in the southern Jordan Valley at the base of the eastern Samarian Hills on an east-facing slope above the Jordan River facing the Transjordan Mountains. It is about 20 km north of the late Natufian sites at Gilgal, 242 m below sea level and about 10 m above the surrounding plain (Figs. 1, 2). The local Avdat formation consists of a limestone conglomerate with hard pebbles superimposed by a caliche-cap deposit that has created low cliff rock exposures with caves surrounding the site (Fig.1). A permanent spring, Ein Salah, is located 1.2 km 1

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south of the site. Complex VI, (Fig. 3) positioned ca. 200 m to the south, was included as part of the site because it also incorporates technological features characteristic of the late Natufian.

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Fig. 1. Huzuq Musa, view to the south: front, a large central structure and cliff; left, northern dwelling area; centre, southern dwelling area and possible cemetery; in front of cliff with caves, large openspace zone with terrace wall on left; far-left, threshing-floor area atop the cliff.

It seems now, as result of new evidence, that the climate during the site's occupation was cooler than the present day local semi-arid climate, with a precipitation of 300 mm/yr (Caracuta et al. 2016; Hartman et al. 2016; Stein 2014; Torfstein et al. 2013). At that time the level of the nearby Lake Lissan had already dropped to about 350 mbsl (Bar-Tov et al. 2002; Rosen 2013; Henry 2013; Hazan et al. 2005). Archaeological studies generally deal with buried, relatively protected structures, while the 13,000-year-old site of Huzuq Musa has remained exposed to environmental hazards for millennia. Nevertheless, a detailed investigation of the well-preserved surface structures as well as the functional interpretation of the numerous installations cut in rock exposures allow a reconstruction of the cultural activities of the settlement. 2

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Fig. 2. Map of Natufian sites with rock-cut installations in the Southern Levant, including Hruq Musa (another name of Huzuq Musa(.

The field work in Huzuq Musa was done by the author during 2003/4 in conjunction with the Manasseh Hill Country Survey and in 2006/7, 2013 as part of a survey of Natufian sites on behalf of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. This study includes a detailed documentation of the well-preserved architectural remains and the dozens of rock-cut installations found on the surface,

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and a series of experimental operations in the prehistoric bedrock installations (Eitam et al. 2015).

1. Site description Huzuq Musa is framed by wide bedrock outcrops on the west, and by boulders on the north and south. One line of large boulders stands along the northern edge of the site, while cliffs with caves are in the west and a cluster of large boulders and cliffs with caves are in the southwest (Figs. 1; 3). On the east, the site is enclosed by a long terrace wall – originally extending along 97 m – built perpendicular to the slope (Figs. 2: P-X, Z-W, V; 4). The wall was constructed of large, square, standing stones, some of which are supported by stones of similar size and shape, lying adjacent to and in front of the standing stones. The terrace wall apparently began in the north as a double line with a parallel wall, 4 m to the east, running 15 m along the terrace wall (Fig. 3: X2-Y1-Y). It continues to the south as a single wall, combined with large boulders, two segments of which – each ca. 10-m long – remain untouched. 4 1.1 Spatial organization Four architectural zones are visible on the surface of the site: (1) a dwelling zone in the north and in the centre of the site bounded by cliffs on the north and a line of boulders in the south (Fig.. 4: A-J1, O; 5: M, N, P-S); (2) a 1300 sq m open space located beyond the dwellings and extending exposures to the south along the terrace wall (Fig. 2: V); (3) a large flat bedrock plaza above and to the west of the northern cliffs (Fig. 2: I, II and west to II), with characteristic late Natufian mortars cut in the bedrock and (4) the far southern complex VI (Fig. 2). A possible fifth zone, ca. 220 sq m area, is located in the center of the dwelling zone but lacks building stones and stone structures on the surface. Nevertheless, it is surrounded by dwellings, large boulders in the east and a large structure in the south (Fig. 5).

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Fig. 3. Map of Huzuq Musa with surface architectural remains and rock-cut installations (marked by black dots). These include stone-wall huts (A-J, N-T); a central large structure (VII, K, L); terrace wall (double-wall line X1-X, Y and single-wall line Z, W, V); in the southern part of the site, a large open space zone is lined by the terrace wall; wide plaza on a large flat bedrock exposures (I, II); a threshing area atop the cliff (VI(.

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Fig. 4. Plan and sections of the northern dwelling area with huts (A-I, O), double terrace wall and installations cut on large rock surface.

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Fig. 5. Plan and sections of central dwelling huts area IV (N, P-T), part of the large structure (K, L) and terrace wall; marked and numbered installations cut in rocks and boulders; additional zone surrounded by huts (perhaps a burial area).

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The dwelling zone contains 30 small, round stonewalled structures. Similar structures excavated in late Natufian sites (like Einan and Rosh Zin) were identified as dwellings (Valla et al. 2007). The low stone wall structure was probably roofed by vegetation like straw (Rosenberg et al. 2011; Nadel and Rosenberg 2013b). The huts were located in three areas: (a) In the north, 13 small circular and oval stonewalled huts (approximately 4 x 3 m; Fig. 4: A1, A2, B1, C, B2, E2, E, D, F, J, G, J1) are crowded together. Near them are three additional oval-shaped huts surrounded by stone walls, incorporated in elevated rocks and boulders, approximately 5 x 4 m in size (Fig. 3: I, H, O). In some of the structures, rectangular stones-built installations (1.2 x 0.7 m) are visible. (b) The center of the site contains an area with seven circular and oval structures measuring 4 x 5.5 m (Fig. 5: M, N, P-T), and fragments of the stone walls of three additional huts. (c) Three small, circular, stone-wall huts are located against the exterior of the terrace wall along with a large boulder (not drawn). A wall built of large stones, boulders and elevated rocks surrounds the large structure in the middle of the site, which is adjacent to the northern cliff. This combination of boulders and elevated rocks incorporated in stone walls of a structure is common to Huzuq Musa and found in many of its huts and in the terrace wall. The large structure is divided into two units: a large one (14 x 9.5 m), probably an unroofed courtyard, and a smaller unit of ca. 9.5x 8.5 m, adjacent to the cliff (Fig. 3: complex IV: K, L). The third zone is a large plaza composed of two wide, flat, rock surfaces, one measuring 600 sq. m, and the smaller one containing many installations cut in the rock surface (Fig. 3: the areas west of II and I, respectively). Twenty-two installations are cut in the southern rock surface adjacent to the plaza. This fourth zone dominates the site and provides an observation point to the Jordan Valley. A possible fifth zone at the center of the site contains at least five oval features (2.4 x 3.6 m) marked by the significant growth of modern flora, perhaps an indication of buried structures (Figs. 1; 5). A pierced narrow conical boulder mortar (Fig. 7: 3) found on the surface in this zone may suggest that these oval features could be a cemetery containing human graves (Eitam 2016, in press a; Stekelis and Yizraeli 1963).

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Fig. 6. Legend of ground stones and rock-cut installations with fabrication marks, usewear and striations; up: pestles and pounder (see also Fig. 11); (left low) wide conical mortar of threshing floor II, the pierced bottom was redesigned but work halted because of hard stones in the bed-rock. (right low) large quern broken in half with small cup cut in the centre.

2. Dating of the site Huzuq Musa is a single-occupation site (apparently short-lived) and was dated typologically by a large assemblage of flint artefacts collected on the surface. The flint assemblage points to the very end of the Late Epipalaeolithic (Fig. 8; see first publication, Winter 2005, 576-582) and the typical rock-cut installations distinctively represent the Natufian culture, in particular the narrow conical mortar exclusive to the late Natufian (Eitam 2008, 2009b; see also Rosenberg et al. 2011; Nadel and 9

Rosenberg 2013b). The similarity between late Natufian and PPNA flint assemblages has long been noticed (e.g., Dag and Goring-Morris 2010), though their cultural and social aspects differ. This is clearly demonstrated by the major disparities between the Natufian and PPNA stone-tool assemblages, in particular, by the absence of conical mortars in PPNA sites, as opposed to the exclusivity of narrow conical mortar in late Natufian sites. The only rock-cut installation typical to the PPNA observed at the site is a one, small, unleveled bedrock area in which dozens of cupmarks were carved. This composite device became the distinctive PPNA threshing floor located on larger leveled and unleveled bedrock surfaces with dozens of cupmarks (Fig. 3: V; Zur Natan, Marder et al. 2008; Tel Bareqet, Eitam. in press b.). This type of rock-cut installation was probably invented by the Natufians, as other stone tools which became common in later periods (Eitam 2013).

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Fig. 7. Boulder pierced-bottom narrow conical mortar: (1) Bottom of repaired, pierced rock-cut narrow conical mortar with pebble adjusted to hole by flaking, pecking and fine abrading; (2) narrow conical mortar broken in half with a fine-pecked funnel upper part, fine ground mortar with vertical striations and cylindrical shaft with pierced bottom; (3) Exterior of the same boulder narrow conical mortar, with a fine abraded rim and upper narrow strip, coarse flaked and pecked sides; (4) Shaft and pierced bottom of above boulder narrow conical mortar.

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3. The rock-cut installations and the ground stones Sixty-one rock-cut installations of different types were found on the surface of the site (see catalogue on Supplement for measures, wear and location of rock-cut installations and ground stones). Some of them are composite installations that include two to a dozen or more rock-cut features (e.g., the narrow conical mortars and adjacent cupmarks, Table 1: 1, 3). Thousands of similar installations cut into bedrock and stone blocks have been discovered in numerous Natufian sites throughout the Southern Levant (Fig. 2; e.g., Eitam 2009b; Eitam et al. 2015: TABLE; Rosenberg and Nadel 2014). These artefacts are widely assumed to have been used for plant-food processing (e.g., Bar-Yosef 2002a; Byrd 1998; Hole 1984; Nishnki 1998; Moore 1985; Olszewski 2004; Rosenberg 2008; Wright 1992; and see Hayden 2004; Hayden et al. 2012; Grosman and Goren-Inbar 2007).

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Fig. 8. Huzuk Musa, selection of flint tools collected on surface: 1-8: Borers; 9-12: Sickle blades; 13-15: Microlithes; 16: Micro-end scraper; 17: End scraper; 18. Burin (after, Winter 2005: Figs. 418-420). Fig. 9. Rock-cut installations of Huzuq Musa: (1) Narrow conical mortar with eroded upper

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Fig. 9. Rock-cut installations of Huzuq Musa: (1) Narrow conical mortar with eroded upper part; (2) Narrow conical mortar with funnel upper part; (3) Narrow conical mortar halted by hard stone at bottom; (4) Narrow conical mortar with pierce bottom by water erosion; (5) Narrow conical mortar with funnel upper part; (6) eroded narrow conical mortar.

Although the latter authors were concerned with PPNA cupmarks, these cannot be differentiated from Natufian cups especially in late Natufian/PPNA Hatula. However, the particulars of their probable operation, functions and products of these installations – namely, the production of wild cereal groats and wild barley flour – have only recently been suggested (Eitam 2008, 2009b) through a survey of historical and ethnographic parallels, analyses of usewear and experimental archaeology (Eitam et al. 2015).

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Fig. 10. Threshing floors at complex VI: (1) Threshing floor I on top of the cliff: straitened rock surface with wide conical mortar (in front of the photo); (2) Threshing floor II, located on 2nd rock step, includes: rock-straitened surface with wide conical mortar (behind a rock), three grinding installations (in front of photo), concave small mortar and small cupmarks.

3.1 Types of rock-cut installations The rock-cut installations of Huzuq Musa include: thirty-one narrow conical mortars and six wide conical mortars (Table 1: 1, 5 respectively); some of which are very eroded by karst, (Fig. 9: 3, 6); two small concave mortars; four large threshing floors, one with cupmarks (Table 1: 6, 4, 8 respectively); eight grinding installations (Eitam 2009a) and two deep "cooking" bowls (Table 1: 2, 7 respectively); and one possible karstic water cistern having a capacity of ca. 50-litre (Eitam 2008). Shallow, concave cupmarks adjacent to narrow and wide conical mortars and to grinding installations 12

are common phenomena in Natufian sites. Seven of these, adjacent to narrow conical mortars and grinding installations were found at Huzuq Musa (Table 1: 3). Following long-duration use, radial and vertical intensive motions pierced the bottoms of five narrow conical mortars and one wide conical mortar (Figs. 6 left low; 7: 2, 4) as is also observed in querns by the repeated motion of a handstone (Wright 1992). Some of the piercing was caused by water dissolution (e.g., Fig. 9: 4). One pierced narrow conical mortar was repaired by a round pebble that had been shaped by flaking and abrading and accurately fitted into the hole; a wide conical mortar was also repaired after the bottom was pierced (Fig. 6 left low; and see Legend describing varied manufacture wear and usewear). Fabrication of some conical mortars had been halted or twisted by hard stones in the Avdat limestone formation (Fig. 9: 3).

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Fig. 11. Ground stone tools found on the surface of the site: (1) Small conical basalt pestle, grooved, reused as anvil; (2) Small cigar-shaped basalt pestle; (3) Hard sandstone pounder reused as handstone; (4) Limestone pebble possibly used for polishing; (5) Multi-faced, grooved, basalt handstone; (6) Conical, hard limestone pestle.

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3.2 The ground stone tools Eight well-designed ground-stone objects were collected on the surface. Among them, five were small-or medium-sized basalt pestles (three conical and two cigar-shaped), one grooved stone and one hard limestone pounder (Figs. 6 left upper; 11). Some of these ground stones were multiuse and could also have functioned as anvils and handstones. The dimensions, the fine raw material and the high-quality design of the multiuse tools indicate that they may have been used for precision work, such as bead production (Rosenberg et al. 2010), bone work and other handcrafts. A fine basalt bowl was found on the northern slope near the caves and is possibly part of the Natufian ground stones collection (Eitam 2005: fig. 467: 2).

3.3 Location of the installations Most of the installations were chiseled on the top of boulders, some more than a meter high, and near dwelling structures (Fig. 4: section B-B1). Three were cut in elevated rocks within the structures. Twenty-two installations were cut in the large exposures of bedrock above the dwelling zone. The installations occur in seven complexes: complex I, on the northern rock surface; complex II (Fig. 3), on rock steps leading down to the dwellings; complex III, on top of large boulders and on small elevated rocks inside the huts (huts A-J); and complex IV, on rocks in structures in the south (huts P-T); complex V which is possibly a cupmarks threshing-floor cut in uneven bedrock (Table 1: 8); complex VI which is located 200 m south of the site proper (Fig. 3) and complex VII, on boulders of the large structure K, L and in rocks incorporated in the wall of hut M. Several installations were chiseled on stone blocks and were probably not found in situ: These include a pierced narrow conical mortar cut in a boulder (Fig. 7: 2-4), one large, almost flat quern with a small cupmark in its centre (Fig. 6 right low), and another three blocks, possibly anvils (Eitam 2005: fig. 467: 5).

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Table 1: Average measures in cm; abbreviations: NCM narrow conical mortar; GI grinding installation. M e a s u r e s No.

Type of

Location

Upper axis 1

Upper axis 2

Lower axis

Length

device Dwellings, Plaza Complexes I and II

Narrow 1

conical mortar Grinding

2

installation

Adjacent to NCM and GI

Shallow 3

cupmark

Threshing 4

floor

Complex IV, 200m south of site Cut in threshing floor

Wide 5

Threshing floor II Complex II

conical mortar

Threshing floors II and IV

Small 6

concave

20

30

(sides sloping 20 degrees)

20

(concave bottom)

10

400

30

7

70

31

5

8

2

9

250

(sides sloping 60 degrees)

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Numbers of devices

4

7

55

6

15

2

20

2

mortar 7

8

Deep cooking bowl

Plaza

Cupmarks'

Complex V

45

threshing floor

15

(includes 8-9 concave cupmarks)

30

(cupmark 10-12)

(cupmark 2-4)

1

Ilustration

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4. The function of the rock-cut installations Thirty-seven conical mortars – thirty-one, narrow and six, wide – were found on the surface at Huzuq Musa. These devices are by far the most common rock-cut installations in Natufian contexts, making up about 40% of the stone tool assemblage in early Natufian and 70% of that in late Natufian sites (Eitam 2013). Wide conical mortars (sides sloping at roughly 60 degrees) mostly adjacent to threshing floors (Table 1: 5; Fig. 10: 1, 2 behind large stone), first appeared in early Natufian el-Wad.

4.1 The experimental study Wide conical mortars, as we learned during the experimental project, were employed for hummeling (removal of the dangerous, sharp bases of the awns of wild cereals, Eitam et al. 2015). The narrow conical mortar (20-cm in diameter with sides sloping roughly 20 degrees, reaching 70 cm in depth) is exclusive to the late Natufian and allowed wild barley hulls to be husked or peeled and milled into fine flour (Table 1: 1; Fig. 9; Eitam et al. 2015), and see other suggestions for the purposes of the conical mortars (Nadel and Lengyel 2009; Nadel and Rosenberg 2013a; Rosenberg and Nadel 2014; Valla 2009). We first chose barley for our experimental work because it was, and still is, the most common wild cereal in the Southern Levant (Weiss and Zohary 2011: Fig 2.) Later on, we learned that the narrow conical mortar was explicitly designed for peeling the barley hull, a most difficult operation (Eitam et al. 2015). Furthermore, botanic finds (yet still limited) at Natufian sites, mostly from the southern part of the Levant, revealed a clear majority of barley remains. The grinding installations (Table 1: 2; Supplement: 14, 24, 31-32, 34-35, 37; Eitam 2009a) were minor milling devices (a mere 2% of total Natufian milling devices, Eitam 2013: 26, 37), as most milling was carried out in the narrow conical mortar. Seven of the narrow conical mortars, as in many Natufian sites, were adjacent to a shallow cupmark. We discovered during our experimental study that the adjacent cupmarks are suitable for depositing material produced in the mortar by repeated hand-scooping from its bottom (Eitam et al. 2015: figs. 1D, 2F). The cupmarks adjacent to wide conical mortars and grinding installations were probably used in a similar way.

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4.2 Technical elements of conical mortars Other features of conical mortars are the result of technical fabrication matters or long-term use. Narrow conical mortars greater than 0.35-0.40 m in depth often have a funnel like feature carved at the top (e.g., five rock-cut installations and one cut in a boulder, Figs. 7: 2; 9: 2). This allowed the artisan to deepen the mortar to a depth of between 0.40 and 0.70 m. Such specimens are not typical to Huzuq Musa as suggested by Nadel and Rosenberg (2013b). They were found in Nahal Oren (two boulder mortars, Rosenberg and Nadel 2014), Rosh Zin (three rock-cut installations), Saflulim (four rock-cut installations) and in Wadi Malich Terrace (one rock-cut mortar of 70 cm depth, Eitam 2013). A narrow cylindrical shaft can be observed at the base of some conical mortars (Fig. 7: 4). This was clearly created by intensive use of a long and pointed pestle. This activity could sometimes pierce the mortar bottom (Fig. 7: 2; and see Nadel and Rosenberg 2013a).

4.3 The Natufian agro-technological system Conical mortars, however, were just one implement of the Natufian agrotechnological system, which also included threshing floors and grinding installations. At Natufian sites, straightened bedrock with adjacent wide conical mortar (Table1: 5) is defined as a threshing floor based on ethnographical parallels. Domestic threshing of cereal and other plants, until recent years, was done in the Near East by beating the plants with a wooden stick on bedrock (Avitzur 1976). The threshing floor first appeared as a small oval straightened rock-surface in el-Wad terrace (Eitam et al. 2015: S1 fig: A). It developed in the late Natufian into a large floor (Huzuq Musa;), accompanied by other installations. Four large threshing floors at Huzuq Musa, cut in rock steps (Fig. 10: 1, 2; catalogue at Supplement: 60, 61, 63, 77, 78), are located atop a high cliff 200 m south of the site. This location allowed easy winnowing and kept cereal dust from reaching the settlement. This agro-technological system of a threshing floor, wide and narrow conical mortars and grinding installations allowed production of large quantities of groats and fine cereal flour. However in Huzuq Musa, most of the implements for groats and flour production were positioned near and in dwellings. The only grouping of the suite of tools for producing groats and flour occurs at the edge of the large plaza. This grouping also contains two deep bowls, such as those found in other Natufian sites, like the six rock-cut bowls in el17

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Wad terrace (Eitam 2013., Pl. 11: 4, 6, 11; Fig. 8: 4-6, 9, 11, 12, 21). The "cooking" bowls might have been used for preparing porridge of groats mixed with water and heated by stone-boiling (Eitam et al. 2015). This may indicate occasional public food preparation and dining in the large plaza, as opposed to the usual domestic food preparation and dining in and near the huts. Group dining in open spaces may have also occurred at the Rosh Hursha congregation site in the Negev (Belfer-Cohen and Goring-Morris 2013). Gathering for daily meals may also have taken place in the Rosh Zin site.

5. Reconstruction of lifestyle and economy in Huzuq Musa 5.1 Centralization in a non-hierarchical society The large central structure with courtyard (Fig. 3: VII: K, L), when compared to the many small, round structures at Huzuq Musa, suggests a significant role for this building in the social life of the settlement. Its position adjacent to the cliff, surrounded by other structures, does not permit large public assemblages as around structure 1 in early Natufian Einan (Perrot 1966; Valla 1991). Without further investigation, it is difficult to interpret this structure as the dwelling of a ―village chief.‖ However, in light of the many indications of the communal, non-hierarchical, nature of Natufian society (e.g., Bar-Yosef 2002b), it seems that the structure served other communal aspects of the site's inhabitants (like holding settlement property, Eitam 1988).

5.2 Communal social activity The large overlooking plaza of Huzuq Musa (Fig. 3: I and to the west of II) suggests communal social activities of numerous participants, such as the gathering of site occupants for ceremonial activities (possibly, including dancing, Garfinkel 2003). Moreover, the nearby dozens of food-preparation rock-cut devices – including two "cooking" bowls – point toward communal dining. The plaza also provides an excellent lookout for observing nearby and distant surroundings, suggesting an interest in controlling a large territorial area (Fig. 1). Study of the archaeological record visible at the surface of Huzuq Musa may suggest a number of inferences regarding the lifeway at the end of the Natufian. From 18

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the large number of dwelling units, it seems that Huzuq Musa was a village of perhaps 100 inhabitants. Subsistence was based on hunting gazelles (Munro 2009; Nadel and Rosenberg 2013b) and harvesting large-seeded wild grasses, particularly barley, which was processed into groats, porridge and flour for unleavened protobread (Eitam et al. 2015).

5.3 Decreased collectivity versus communal activities A tendency toward decreased collectivity can be observed in Huzuq Musa, a situation that started in the late Natufian. Food preparation was carried out mainly in small dwelling structures (see also Valla et al. 2007, 2010 and Wright 2000) by a nuclear family of two or three people (Goring-Morris and Belfer-Cohen 2008). There was no evidence of ritual or symbolic features in the food preparation areas. Occasionally, dining in large groups continued (observed also in other sites, Wright 2000). In Huzuq Musa, the secondary processing of grain (dehusking and milling) and eventually the making of proto-bread – as well as possible dining – took place in the vicinity of the dwellings or indoors. Other unknown activities may have taken place in the large open zone in the southern part of the site. The central large structure built among the dwellings in Huzuq Musa may point to the establishment of a degree of social hierarchy. However, the evidence for public grain processing (threshing) and communal dining and other communal activities in the plaza points toward a cohesive and egalitarian society.

7. Similarities and differences of contemporary sites Typical cultural features shared by Huzuq Musa with other Natufian sites include the presence of a terrace wall, small huts and dozens of conical mortars. The terrace wall enclosing Huzuq Musa and the small, round dwelling structures are familiar features of the late Natufian (e.g., Saflulim, Goring-Morris et al. 1999; Einan, Valla et al. 2007). However, its large size and numerous dwellings (n=30) are exceptions found only in a few other Natufian sites, namely, late Natufian Einan (Valla et al. 2007) and Natufian Qarassa 3 (probably late Natufian as evident by the many narrow conical mortars exclusive to this period; Terradas et al. 2013). Huzuq Musa was a village of perhaps 100 inhabitants, much bigger than a typical late Natufian hamlet. The location of Huzuq Musa, protected by cliffs and large boulders, overlooking a large 19

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territory and distant surroundings is not like other late Natufian settlements. The large open zone at Huzuq Musa has not yet been observed at other Natufian sites.

8. Discussion and conclusions Can reconstruction of major socio-cultural aspects of life in Huzuq Musa at the end of the Epipaleolithic (ca. 12,000 years ago) be used to enlighten broader phenomena occurring in the Natufian culture in the Southern Levant, or is this site an exceptional case? Qarassa 3, discovered in the Syrian basalt desert, is a ca. 0.3-hectare late Natufian site with many stonewalls structures and 86 rock-cut installations, including numerous conical mortars (Terradas et al. 2013). Its discovery indicates the general importance of Huzuq Musa as representing a much wider phenomenon. The numerous rock-cut installations for processing wild cereals for staple plant-food production in both sites may reflect a cooler and perhaps, less harsh climate in the Jordan Valley and the Syrian basalt desert, which was suitable for the intensive growth of wild cereals at the end of the Epipalaeolithic. At the end of the Natufian culture, the focus of population seems to shift to the Jordan Valley, where large open sites were established – double and triple the size of earlier sites – that housed around one hundred people each. These include late Natufian Nahal Ein Gev II (Grosman et. al 2016) with an area of around 0.2 hectare (Eitam 2013: XV), Huzuq Musa with 0.5 hectare of land, and 0.3-hectare Qarassa 3 in the Syrian Laga. In the Mediterranean region, the large Eynan site, as well as el-Wad and Nahal Oren continued to exist in Final Natufian (Valla et al. 2010; Valla 1995; Grosman et al. 2005). The major difficulty in investigating Natufian culture is the meagre archaeobotanic evidence, which prevents a satisfying reconstruction of the Natufian socio-economic milieu. Rock-cut installations and ground stone tools, even though providing only circumstantial evidence for culinary activities, can serve as a substitute for the poor botanic evidence and provide strong means for following changes in Natufian subsistence and culture. The dozens of conical mortars common in numerous Natufian sites of all kinds (a congregation site, cemeteries, camp-sites, small sites and satellite sites) indicate a major change in the Epipalaeolithic diet (Eitam 2008, 2009b, 2013; Eitam et al. 2015) which is supported by other researcher’s studies (Anderson 1999; Garrod 1932, 1957; Garrod and bate 1937; 20

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Grosman et al. 2016; Hillman 2000; Moore 1985; Smith et al. 1984; Smith and Kolska-Horwitz 2007). The archaeological record of the Natufian culture illustrates changes consistent with a shift from a hunting-gathering to a food production economy as shown by three developments: (1) modifications of Natufian plant food processing technology – described in details in the current article; (2) changes in settlements pattern, as revealed by the centralized occupation on Mount Carmel – a central cemetery in Nahal Oren (Grosman et al. 2005; Stekelis and Yizraeli 1963) versus communal cemetery in Raqefet Cave (e.g., Nadel et al. 2008), small site versus many satellite sites (Rosenberg and Nadel 2011); (3) evidence for increasing complexity in social and ritual activities; like, the first symbolic feeding of the dead with cereal food by placing boulder pierced-bottom narrow conical mortars on graves (Eitam 2016, in press a; Grosman et al. 2005; Stekelis and Yizraeli 1963). Nevertheless, our suggestion does not contradict the fact that some Natufian groups kept a huntergatherer way of life. Hunter-gatherer communities, like the Hilazon Tachtit Cave group, seeming to be gorging wild cattle weighing about one ton during a mortuary feast (Munro and Grosman 2010), were living in the Galilee alongside food producing communities such as Hayonim settlement (Belfer-Cohen 1988; Eitam 2013) and the communities in the Carmel. The Natufian socio-economic transition was not a part of early agriculture as it took place 2000-3000 years before cereal domestication (Abbo et al. 2010). At the end of the Late Epipaleolithic, Natufian groups of dozens and up to 100 individuals, could have provided their staple of edible plants gathered from the wild. The Late Epipaleolithic food production transition was eventually a part of the pre-agricultural phase in the Southern Levant that preceded the PPNA early farmers.

David Eitam, independent researcher Hararit, Israel

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Acknowledgements

This paper is dedicated to the memory of my 30 year-long friends and colleagues the late Adam Zertal and Nivi Mirkam the discoverers of Huzuq Musa and the managements of the Manasseh Hill Country Survey. I thank the late James Schoenwetter and Ofer Bar-Yosef and Haim Winter, may they live long, for constructive critiques and substantial help. Thanks goes to Moshe Einav, Gill and Ziva Cooper, Shraga Hashman and Oren Cohen, members of the Manasseh Hill Country Survey, for assisting in the field research; to Anna Yamim (surveyor) for drawing the plan of Huzuq Musa (with the author) and Marina Suisky for drawing the rock-cut installations (based on the author’s field sketches) and ground stone tools. The field work was permitted by the archaeological officer of the Civil Administration, licenses 1164, 1166, 1115 and the Israel Antiquities Authority, licenses G-16/2007, S-174/2010).

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