Summary of the Mesolithic/Archaic(Post-Pleistocene Adaptations) In the Old World occurred between 9,000 BC and 6,000 BC as a transition period between Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) and the Neolithic (New Stone Age). In the New World occurred between 8,000 BC and 5,000 BC as a transition period between PaleoAmerican and the Formative).
The Neolithic Revolution Several independent “hearths of domestication” Beginning of transformation from food foraging to food production. Transformation in subsistence accompanied by: More rapid culture change Increased trade Greater population density Hierarchical social structure Sedentary farming communities Increase in division of labor Population increase
The “Fertile Crescent” Earliest evidence of domestication of plants and animals Sites include: Jericho, Palestine; Jarmo, Iraq. Dates: Beginnings ca. 14,000 BP Spread 8,000 - 5,000 BP
JERICHO (Tell es-Sultan) Jericho is a city in Palestine on the occupied West Bank of the Jordan River. Perhaps the oldest town in the world, dating back more than 10,000 years. It lies 260 meters below sea level, making it also the lowest town on earth. Proto-Neolithic -- construction at the site apparently began before the invention of agriculture, with construction of stone Natufian culture structures beginning earlier than 9000 BC. Pre-Pottery Neolithic A, 8350 BC to 7370 BC. A four hectare settlement surrounded by a stone wall, with a stone tower in the centre of one wall. Round mud-brick houses. Use of domesticated emmer wheat, barley and pulses such as beans, peas, and lentils and hunting of wild animals. Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, 7220 BC to 5850 BC. Expanded range of domesticated plants. Possible domestication of sheep. Apparent cult involving the preservation of human skulls, with facial features reconstructed from plaster and eyes set with shells in some cases. Photo credits: Erwin Purucker http://members.surfeu.de/purucker/totesmeer_d.htm
Harrington , S.P.M. Earliest Agriculture in the New World (ArchaeologyVolume 50 Number 4, July/August 1997) A 10,000-year-old squash seed from Oaxaca. Dating of squash seeds from a cave in Oaxaca, Mexico, has confirmed that plant domestication in the Americas began some 10,000 years ago. The new finding, reported by Smithsonian archaeologist Bruce Smith in the journal Science, indicates that planting began in the New World about the same time as in the Near East and China. Tehuacán Sequence (First three stages) Ajalpan Phase (1500-900 BC) Attributes of this phase are wattle and daub villages, evidence of subsistence farming, corn, beans, squash, chili peppers, amaranth, avocados, sapotes, cotton and figurines El Riego Phase 6500 - 5000BC This phase shows evidence of wet-season and dry-season camps, hints of plant cultivation, chipped stone tools, groundstone implements, nets, coiled baskets, twined mats and ritualistic multiple burials. Abejas Phase 3500-2300 BC Attributes of this phase are possible year round pit house villages along the river terraces, a diet consisting of 20% agricultural products, evidence of domestication of dogs, new types of chipped and groundstone artifacts, split-stitch baskets and possibly cotton threads Coxcatlán Phase 5000-3500 BC This phase contains fewer sites with larger groups of people for a longer time, firm evidence of cultivation of corn, beans, squash and chili peppers, chipped and groundstone tools, and improved basket making and netting Ajuereado Phase(ended well before 6500 BC) The attributes of this phase are traces of cave occupation and a few chipped stone tools