Collection Description

Tradition Name

Aceramic Neolithic

Tradition Description

The Aceramic Neolithic tradition extends from 10,500 BP to 7500 BP from the Mediterranean zone to the desert areas of the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, southeastern Turkey, and northern Iraq. At the start of the time period people lived in villages while hunting and gathering. By the end of the time period they were agriculturalists and pastoralists. There is little evidence for social stratification although some villages were very large and there was some public architecture.


Select the Tradition Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


Middle East --Middle East



Gaza Strip





General Middle East



West Bank

OWC Code


Number of Documents


Note: Select the Collection Documents tab above to browse documents.

Number of Pages


Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The Aceramic Neolithic collection consists of 24 documents; 23 in English and 1 in French. The documents discuss the Aceramic Neolithic tradition in the Israel, Jordon, Lebanon, Syria, northern Iraq, and southeastern Turkey from 10,500 BP - 7500 BP.

Readers will find there is some overlap in the time periods and material culture, especially at sites that have long or repeated occupations from the Epipaleolithic (M080 collection) to the Aceramic Neolithic traditions (M084 collection) to the Ceramic Neolithic (M087 collection). Although each collection is marked for OCM (Outline of Cultural Materials) codes that pertain only to its own time period and area, readers are encouraged to examine the documents in the other collections for additional information. This is especially true for documents about Abu Hureyra, a site in Syria that was inhabited from Epipaleolithic times through the Aceramic Neolithic and into the Ceramic Neolithic. Interested readers should read eHRAF documents Moore 1991, no. 26; Olszewski 1991, no. 37; Anderson 1991, no. 42; Maréchal 1991, no.45; Moore 2000, nos. 49 and 52; Olszewski 2000, no. 50; Olsen 2000, no. 51; Hillman 2000, no. 53; and Roitel 2000, no. 54 in the Epipaleolithic tradition (M080 collection). These documents contain information on both the Epipaleolithic and the Aceramic Neolithic at Abu Hureyra.

Banning (1998, no. 1) and Bar-Yosef (1995, no. 3) provide summaries. Banning summarizes the entire Neolithic while Bar-Yosef discusses the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A through Pre-Pottery Neolithic C.

Eleven documents discuss the site of Abu Hureyra. The excavations and the analyses of the findings from the site are covered by Moore et al. (2000, no. 14) and Moore (2000, nos. 19, and 20). The analysis of the human remains how they were buried, peoples health, some of the diseases they had, typical postures, etc. are covered in Moore and Molleson (2000, no. 21), and Molleson (2000, nos. 22 and 29). Plant remains and diet are discussed by Moulins (2000, no. 24) and Hillman (2000, no. 25). Legge and Rowley-Conwy (2000, no. 26) discuss the faunal remains, especially as they pertain to hunting methods and evidence for domestication. Le Mire (2000, no. 28) analyzed some of the plaster from the site, including a plaster vessel. The last document Huxtable (2000, no. 27), discusses dates from pottery and so is outside the time range for the Aceramic Neolithic.

Other sites that were substantially excavated and reported on are: Beidha (Byrd and Kirkbride-Helbk 2005, no. 4); Jericho (Kenyon 1957, no 7); and Zawi Chemi Shanidar, a site in the hills of Iraq (Solecki 1980, no. 10, who describes the excavations and findings; Drew 1980, no. 11, a source that is outside the time range for the Aceramic Neolithic; and Leroi-Gourhan 1980, no. 12, who analyzed the pollen and is in French). The excavations and the findings at Abu Salem (Gopher and Goring-Morris 1998, no. 5) and Ain Ghazal (Simmons et al. 1988, no. 9) are more briefly described. Domestic architecture at Ain Ghazal is explored in Banning and Byrd (1987, no. 2) and at Qermez Dere in Watkins (1992, no. 13). Hershkovitz et al. (1994, no. 6) conducted a physical anthropological study on burials from three sites in the southern Sinai. And Rollefson and Khler-Rollefson (1994, no, 8) looked at environmental degradation as a reason behind some of the changes seen in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic C.

For further information on individual works in this collection, see the abstract in the citations preceding each document.

Overview by

Sarah Berry

Architectural Features/Remains - can mean such things as walls, floors, hearths, pits, pavements, etc. - use "ARCHITECTURE (341)"

Chamfered pieces (or chanfreins) - a tool on which a broad transverse flake was removed from the distal end, using a platform shaped by a distal lateral direct retouch, (Gilead 1991, no. 4, page 108, Epipaleolithic tradition, M080 collection). Use "LITHIC INDUSTRIES (324)"

Curated skulls - use "MOURNING (765)"

Digging - use "EARTH MOVING (332)"

Domestic Activity Area - use "HOUSEHOLD (592)"

Domestic Group - use "HOUSEHOLD (592)"

Dunam - a unit of area used in the Ottoman Empire and still in use today. In Israel, Jordon, Lebanon, Palestinian Autonomous Areas, and Turkey it is equivalent to 1000 m.

Flood control measures such as walls around sites or the walls around Jericho - use "DISASTERS (731)"


Headdress - use "SPECIAL GARMENTS (292)"

Hypoplasia - a developmental defect of the tooth enamel - use "ONTOGENETIC DATA (145)"

Libn - an Arabic word meaning sun dried mud brick - use "MASONRY (333)"

Naviform core a bipolar core (a core with two striking platforms) used to make blades - use "LITHIC INDUSTRIES (324)"

Plaster - used to make house floors - use "MASONRY (333)" with "DWELLINGS (342);" used to line hearths - use "HEATING AND LIGHTING EQUIPMENT (354);" as an indication of pyrotechnology - use "FIRE (372); used to make statues use "VISUAL ARTS (5311)"

Quadrilateral - used to describe a buildings shape; where the interior corners are not right angles - use "DWELLINGS (342)"

Remodeling - use "DWELLINGS (342)"

Sickles - use "CEREAL AGRICULTURE (243)" with "GENERAL TOOLS (412)"

Sickle Polish - use "CEREAL AGRICULTURE (243)"

Sickle Sheen - use "CEREAL AGRICULTURE (243)"

Skull curation - use "MOURNING (765)"

Tell - use "SETTLEMENT PATTERNS (361)"

Terrace walls around a site - use "SETTLEMENT PATTERNS (361)"

Third Molar Agenesis - use "ONTOGENETIC DATA (145)"

Tokens - "Small objects with simple geometric shapes, most likely used as counting devices. (Spoor and Collet 1996, no. 20, pg. 441, Halafian tradition, M086 collection). Use "MNEMONIC DEVICES (211)"; for tokens used as aids to counting - use "NUMERATION (802)" and use "ACCOUNTING (451)"

White ware bowls formed from lime plaster - use "UTENSILS (415)"

Indexing Notes by

Sarah Berry

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