Early Holocene taphonomy of Nachcharini Cave, Lebanon

Author(s): Stephen Rhodes

Year: 2017


Nachcharini Cave represents evidence from the early Holocene Levant, spanning the transition from hunting to herding in this region. It is located in an alpine environment, rare for Levantine sites at 2100 metres above sea level. The archaeofauna shows a clear predominance of wild sheep remains over wild goat, presenting a possible source for early domesticates. Taphonomic analysis of remains from the Natufian, PPNA, and PPNB periods at Nachcharini show significant differences in formation processes between these units. Modifications observed on bone here include cutmarks, scavenger gnawing, fracture morphology, impact notching, burning, weathering, and possible rockfall from the cave roof. Analysis suggests a predominance of fresh fractures from all three time periods, with frequencies of secondary fractures changing over time. Changes in the frequency and orientation of cut marks are also noted between time periods and spatially within periods, revealing information about butchery practices and strategies. Additionally, carnivore access to the fauna appears to increase throughout these periods. This paper will examine the significance of these findings in relation to the possibility of proto-domestication, seen through prey management strategies used by people in this region immediately prior to the local appearance of animal domestication in the PPNB.

Cite this Record

Early Holocene taphonomy of Nachcharini Cave, Lebanon. Stephen Rhodes. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429398)

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Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17042