Reflections on the origins of the Neolithic "House" in the Near East

Author(s): Nigel Goring-Morris; Anna Belfer-Cohen

Year: 2015


Large-scale durable architecture appears quite suddenly with the emergence of the semi-sedentary Natufian (ca. 15,000 calBC) in the Near East. Subsequently, during the course of the Natufian, structure sizes diminish; they were commonly semi-subterranean, constructed with wooden posts, stones and puddled mud. These traditions continued during the PPNA (ca. 10,000-8,500 calBC), albeit with the innovation of mud-brick superstructures. An important distinction between the Natufian and the PPNA is the appearance of public architecture, reflecting the dichotomy between residential housing, ‘homes’, and communal structures, hardly recognized during the Natufian. This portrays changes in the social dynamics of communities participating in the processes of Neolithization, culminating in the fully sedentary village societies of the PPNB (ca. 8,500 calBC onward).

Changes were quite rapid, involving the shift to rectangular architecture, assumed to indicate modifications in basic social unit behaviours - the rectangular house is supposed to be the domain of a nuclear-com-extended family as the plan enables additions according to need. Through time the sense of ownership grew, most probably together with hygienic demands accompanying the increasing sedentism. Starting with the Early PPNB there is extensive use of plastered floors and the beginnings of systematic house cleaning and garbage disposal.

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Cite this Record

Reflections on the origins of the Neolithic "House" in the Near East. Anna Belfer-Cohen, Nigel Goring-Morris. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395497)


Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;