Levantine Late Neolithic pottery assemblages : the reworking of old 'cultural' typologies at Wadi ath-Thamad site 40
Dunn, Carrie Ellen
The relationships of the archaeological cultures of the Late Neolithic Period in the southern Levant have been the subject of much debate. As such, the excavation of the Late Neolithic site of WT-40, approximately 20 km southeast of Madaba, Jordan by the Wadi ath-Thamad Archaeological Project Survey team in 2004 will help to clarify and expand the understanding of this time period. The pottery collected from WT-40 has the potential to aid in establishing the chronological and cultural relationship between the Yarmukian and Jericho IX assemblages. The pottery assemblage from WT-40 is analyzed according to the typology developed by Garfinkel (1993), supplemented by an examination of the method of vessel construction. Statistical analyses are performed to validate the sample of pottery from WT-40 and compare it to other Late Neolithic pottery assemblages from the region. Analysis and comparison of the WT-40 pottery determined that it demonstrates typological, technological, and stylistic similarities to that of Sha 'ar Hagolan, as well as exhibiting the characteristic decoration of Jericho IX assemblages. The results indicate flaws in the current classificatory system based on "type sites" and fossiles directeurs. The overlap between Yarmukian and Jericho IX assemblages indicates that they belong to the same industry, and thus socioeconomic culture group. Pottery assemblages from Sha 'ar Hagolan and Dhra' each identify phases/facies within that industry. The assemblage from WT-40 then constitutes a regional subculture within that cultural group. This interpretation is significant in its attempt to clarify the debate concerning the Yarmukian-Jericho IX relationship, as well as to define the assemblage from WT-40 and orient subsequent research.