Collection Description

Tradition Name

Ceramic Neolithic

Tradition Description

The Ceramic Neolithic tradition extends from 8000 BP to 6100 BP in the Levant and the Euphrates and Tigris basins below the Taurus and Zagros mountains. People lived in settled villages and were agriculturalists growing cereals and pulses; and also pastoralists raising sheep, goats, pigs, and cattle. Ceramic technology is widespread. There is some settlement hierarchy with farmsteads or hamlets associated with larger villages.


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 Ceramic Neolithic collection consists of 31 documents, all in English. The documents discuss the Ceramic Neolithic tradition in Israel, Jordon, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and southeastern Turkey from 8,000 BP – 6,100 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 Aceramic Neolithic traditions (M084 collection) to Halafian (M086), Ubaid (MH55), Chalcolithic (M090), and/or the Late Chalcolithic Mesopotamia (MH60). 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.

Moore (1985, no. 5) provides an overview of the entire Neolithic from the Epipaleolithic to the Chalcolithic in the Near East. The Yarmukian subtradition is summarized by Garfinkel (1993, no 2) and Kafafi (1993, no. 4), Gopher (1993, no. 3) writes an overview of the Yarmukian and Wadi Raba subtraditions, and Merpert (1993, no. 16) describes the Hassunan subtradition in northern Iraq.

Several documents are site reports. Stekelis (1972, no. 6) describes his excavations at the type site for the Yarmukian. The excavations at Tell Dan are described by Biran (1996, no. 7), while Gopher (1996, no. 8) describes the pottery Neolithic levels in detail.

The Soviets spent several years surveying and excavating in northern Iraq; eHRAF documents nos. 10-19 describe their work. Yoffee (1993, no. 10) provides an introduction. Bader (1993, no. 11) writes about Tell Maghzaliyah, an Aceramic Neolithic site that was not marked for OCM (Outline of Cultural Materials) codes. Bader (1993, nos. 12-14) writes about Tell Maghzaliyah, Tell Sotto and Kültepe. Merpert (1993, no. 15) describes Yarim Tepe I and then shows the evidence for early metallurgy. Yoffee (1993, no. 19) describes Hassunan and Samaran interaction as it pertains to ceramics. Munchaev (1993, no. 18) then summarizes the Soviet work in northern Iraq.

The last set of documents (eHRAF nos. 21-32) describe the results of the 1986 field work at Tell Sabi Abyad. Akkermans (1989, nos. 21-25) writes about the research objectives, the natural setting, the stratigraphy, the architecture, the ceramics, and the non-lithic artifacts. Van As (1989, no. 26) and Le Mière (1989, no. 27) provide technical analyses of some of the sherds. Copeland (1989, no. 28) looks at the flint and obsidian artifacts. Wijngaarden-Bakker (1989, no. 30) examined the faunal remain while Zeist (1989, no 31) examined the floral remains. The last two documents on Tell Sabi Abyad describe finds from strata that date to the Late Bronze Age and so were not marked for OCM (Outline of Cultural Materials) codes (Rossmeisl, 1989, no. 32 and Geerlink, 1989, no. 29).

The last two documents are bibliographies: Yoffee (1993, no. 9) for eHRAF documents nos. 10-19 and Akkermans (1989, no. 20) for eHRAF documents nos. 20-32.

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)"

Bucranium – a design motif consisting of cow horns, cow heads or horn-like designs or figures - use "VISUAL ARTS (5311)"

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)"

Construction Features – usually meaning walls, pavements, and pits - use "ARCHITECTURE (341)"

Digging – use "EARTH MOVING (332)"

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 m².


Handles - use "MISCELLANEOUS HARDWARE (414)"

Headdress – use "SPECIAL GARMENTS (292)"

Huwwar-an Arabic word meaning puddled mud. Often used as a way to finish a floor - use "MASONRY (333)"

Jill – an Arabic word meaning pure, clean clay - use "CERAMIC TECHNOLOGY (323)"

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

Paved Areas - use "ARCHITECTURE (341)"

Pavements - use "ARCHITECTURE (341)"

Pisé - pressed clay - use "MASONRY (333)"

Pits – pits with an unidentified use- use "CULTURAL STRATIGRAPHY (912)"

Seal/pendant – use "PROPERTY IN MOVABLES (422)"

Seal impression - use "MNEMONIC DEVICES (211)"

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

Sickle Polish - use "CEREAL AGRICULTURE (243)"

Sickle Sheen - use "CEREAL AGRICULTURE (243)"

Stamp seal – use "PROPERTY IN MOVABLES (422)", for the design or impression of the sealing - use "MNEMONIC DEVICES (211)"

Substantial Architecture - – usually meaning walls, pavements, and pits - use "ARCHITECTURE (341)"

Tauf construction – an Arabic term for building out of mud, especially mud mixed with straw applied to the top of the wall and allowed to dry before a further course is added. (synonym pisé) - use "MASONRY (333)". [The definition is from the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Archaeology compiled by Barbara Ann Kipfer, New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2000.]

Tholos (plural tholoi) – a buildings with a circular room and a rectangular ante-rooms – use "ARCHITECTURE (341)." If specified the tholos was used as a house - use "DWELLINGS (342)"

Unidentified pits – use "CULTURAL STRATIGRAPHY (912)"

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

Indexing Notes by

Sarah Berry

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