For many, climate change is no longer recognized as the primary cause of cultural changes in the Near East. Instead, human landscape degradation, population growth, socioeconomic adjustments, and conflict have been proposed as the mechanisms that shaped the Neolithic Revolution. However, as Bar-Yosef noted, even if there is chronological correlation between climate changes and cultural developments, what is important is to understand how Neolithic societies dealt with these improving or deteriorating environments. Changes in bifacial stone tools provide a framework for examining some of these interactions by focusing on changing land use practices during the Neolithization process. The results of microwear analysis of 40 bifacial artifacts from early Pre-Pottery Neolithic (EPPNB) levels at Motza in the Judean hills document changes during the PPNA–PPNB transition at the onset of the Levantine Moist Period (ca. 8000 cal B.C.) when conditions for agriculture improved. EPPNB villagers added heavy-duty axes to a toolkit they had used for carpentry and began to clear forests for fields and grazing lands. Sustainable forest management continued for the duration of the PPN until the cumulative effects of tree-felling and overgrazing seem to have led to landscape degradation at end of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic C (PPNC), when a cold, dry climatic anomaly (6600–6000 cal B.C.) may have accelerated the reduction of woodlands. Early PPNB components at sites like Motza, with data from nearly five millennia of Neolithic occupations, show how complex hunter–gatherers and early food producers were able to establish sustainable resource management systems even as climate changed, population increased, and social relations were redefined.


  • The transition from mobile Paleolithic to sedentary Neolithic life ways may be the most significant behavioral ‘‘revolution’’ in human prehistory

  • While most of the flint axes and chisels are the same size and weight as PPNA types, and had cutting edges shaped by the tranchet technique, the edge of one axe (SN 15, Fig. 2E) that was originally shaped by tranchet blows,had been polished – the standard procedure for sharpening PPNB axes [21]

  • Resharpening tranchet axes by the removal of tranchet spalls was practiced both at PPNA and EPPNB sites in the southern Levant [21,22,23]

Read more



The transition from mobile Paleolithic to sedentary Neolithic life ways may be the most significant behavioral ‘‘revolution’’ in human prehistory. 6600-6000 cal B.C.) transition may have been a response to a combination of environmental, economic, and social changes Studies of these changes in technology and tool use can lead to broader considerations of shifts in ideology, settlement patterns, and social organization, and help evaluate competing models that emphasize different causal factors, ranging from human landscape degradation, population growth, socioeconomic adjustments, to the organization of ritual and warfare. We focus on the earlier transition (PPNA-PPNB) and show how new kinds of bifacial tools were manufactured and used when the forests were opened for agriculture and more wood was needed for larger structures and for fuel. Pleistocene foragers did not need to make axes to clear the forests or fell trees for construction and fuel These tools were needed only when the Neolithization process began


Full Text

Published Version
Open DOI Link

Get access to 115M+ research papers

Discover from 40M+ Open access, 2M+ Pre-prints, 9.5M Topics and 32K+ Journals.

Sign Up Now! It's FREE

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call