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Title: Animals, environment and society : a zooarchaeological approach to the Late Chalcolithic-Early Bronze I transition in the southern Levant
Author: Whitcher, Sarah E.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2000
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The Chalcolithic-Early Bronze I (ca. 4500-3000 BCE) in the southern Levant saw significant social, political, and economic changes, evidenced by changing architectural styles, settlement patterns, and material cultures. Developments in the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze I gave way to the first walled settlements in the Early Bronze II, sometimes termed the first "urban" period in the southern Levant. This study investigates the animal component of the subsistence economy during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze I in the southern Levant. In light of the proposed social, political, and economic changes occurring at this time, certain changes in the use of animals and their products are proposed. Zooarchaeological data are used to address four research themes: 1) the nature and degree of change in the transition from the Chalcolithic to the Early Bronze IA; 2) evidence within the subsistence economy that might help explain the Chalcolithic collapse; 3) zooarchaeological distinctions between the Early Bronze IA and IB, two discrete phases which are rarely separated in zooarchaeological studies; and, 4) a zooarchaeological assessment of the relationship between Egypt and the southern Levant from its incipience in the Chalcolithic to its climax in the Early Bronze IB. Results indicate that meat and secondary products provisioning occurred on a household basis from the Chalcolithic through the Early Bronze IB. However, changes in animal use noted between sites and over time at Shiqmim, Afrida, and the Halif Terrace indicate changing subsistence strategies within the limits of household production. The varying strategies indicate how the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze I people related to environmental limitations and changes in stability in light of the changing socio-political situations. Evidence from the later Early Bronze IB indicates a particularly significant change towards more intensified use of sheep/goat. The animal economy has also been found to serve as a catalyst for change-in the case of the donkey, whose increased presence corresponds, not coincidentally, with increasing contact with Egypt. Zooarchaeological analyses are therefore found to build upon our interpretations of the nature and degree of change from the Chalcolithic through the Early Bronze IB.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available