March 3, 2012

20,000 years' old huts from Jordan

The huts are not just the oldest prehistorical finding known in Jordan but also emphasize how the almost perpetual wandering often associated with hunter-gatherer cultures may not be correct in at least some cases. After all these huts were apparently used as long term residences, what means sedentarism of some sort.

Lisa A. Maher et al., Twenty Thousand-Year-Old Huts at a Hunter-Gatherer Settlement in Eastern Jordan. PLoS ONE 2012. Open access.

We argue here that Kharaneh IV's size, density, and the presence of structures in both Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic occupations, illustrates that the site was occupied over multiple seasons and sometimes involved the repeated gathering of considerable numbers of people, perhaps as part of customary economic or social events [23], [25]. The Kharaneh IV dwellings therefore shed important insights into occupation of the Azraq Basin and contribute greatly to our bigger picture understanding of Late Pleistocene settlement patterns, the onset of sedentism, and the origins of architecture in southwest Asia.

Figure 5. The structures at Kharaneh IV.

Although the area of Kharaneh IV, near Azraq, is nowadays barren, it was a lush place in the Ice Age.

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