Limits...
A New Look at Shelter 131/51 in the Natufian Site of Eynan (Ain-Mallaha), Israel.

Haklay G, Gopher A - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: A new look at the architectural remains and the stratigraphy resulted in an alternative reconstruction, essentially different than the one we have come to know.We used spatial (architectural-geometrical) analysis in order to study the relationships between the different architectural elements and to test our hypothesis that the series of postholes may have not pertained to the upper floor 131 of Layer IV as suggested by Perrot and Valla, but rather to the successive occupational and architectural episode.The association of the postholes with Wall 51 of Layer III sheds new light on the architectural remains revealing their geometric design, an important characteristic of Early Natufian Architecture, the meaning and implications of which we shortly discuss.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

ABSTRACT
In the past 25 years since the reconstruction of Shelter 131 of Eynan was suggested by Francois Valla, its image has become almost iconic--a highly cited symbol of early sedentism constituting a significant part of our knowledge on early stone constructions and the people behind them. A new look at the architectural remains and the stratigraphy resulted in an alternative reconstruction, essentially different than the one we have come to know. We used spatial (architectural-geometrical) analysis in order to study the relationships between the different architectural elements and to test our hypothesis that the series of postholes may have not pertained to the upper floor 131 of Layer IV as suggested by Perrot and Valla, but rather to the successive occupational and architectural episode. The association of the postholes with Wall 51 of Layer III sheds new light on the architectural remains revealing their geometric design, an important characteristic of Early Natufian Architecture, the meaning and implications of which we shortly discuss.

No MeSH data available.


Plan of the Early Natufian architectural remains in the area of Shelter 131/51.Modified from [3, 10, 11, 17, 18].
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4496039&req=5

pone.0130121.g002: Plan of the Early Natufian architectural remains in the area of Shelter 131/51.Modified from [3, 10, 11, 17, 18].

Mentions: Shelter 131/51 is our main interest here (Fig 2, enlarged from Fig 1). According to Valla, the architectural remains and stratigraphy in this part of the site suggests a sequence of construction episodes [architectural and occupational events], occupations and abandonments [14] (Fig 3). The floors were usually not paved but every structure is associated with at least one living floor up to 10-15cm thick. These living floors were traced by the excavators following changes of sediment and the dispersed ashes from the associated hearths. Valla suggested that Shelter 62 of Layer II, the latest of the Early Natufian shelters in this area, was built at a time when all traces of former constructions were covered up, and the fact that it is generally concentric to the outline of 131/51 can be explained by the remaining ground depression that made that location favorable. Wall 51 and its associated floor of Layer III represent, according to Valla, an episode of rebuilding after abandonment and collapse of the earlier Wall 131 of Layer IV, this time cutting deeper into the slope. Layer IV in this part of the site contains the remains of Wall 131 and two living floors (separated by 10cm of sediment), out of which the upper floor (mainly the eastern parts of it) was studied extensively by Valla [14]. The Upper Floor 131 is not only rich in artifacts, but also contains a pair of adjoining constructed hearths delineated by stone arches open towards the north, and the upper stone crowns of seven stone-packed postholes extending deeper into the soil. The packing of stones ensures that the post remains vertical when horizontal loads (generated by an inclined roof beam, winds, etc) are applied to it, by increasing the density of the ground along its underground part. Six of the postholes seem to outline an arch. The assignment of the postholes to Floor 131 was based on the elevation of their uppermost stones, but considering the many construction activities that took place at this location (which always included digging), such an assumption should not be necessarily adopted. In fact, Valla points out that one of the postholes (142 O / 8) was clearly outcropping above the surface considered relevant [14]. Even though the elevations of each posthole and the elevations along the base of each wall were not fully published, it is sufficient to say that under these circumstances their stratigraphic assignment cannot be solely based on their elevation. Other aspects of the remains such as their spatial arrangement should be examined too in order to successfully assign the postholes to the corresponding shelter. Perrot [15] (and more recently, Samuelian [16]) described the postholes as installed 1m in front of, and parallel to Wall 131. This description is not fully accurate. We have noted that the distances from the center of the postholes to Wall 131 vary between 0.6 to 1.25 m, while the distances of these postholes to wall 51 seem to be constant (S1 Fig). This actually triggered our inquiry of the matter.


A New Look at Shelter 131/51 in the Natufian Site of Eynan (Ain-Mallaha), Israel.

Haklay G, Gopher A - PLoS ONE (2015)

Plan of the Early Natufian architectural remains in the area of Shelter 131/51.Modified from [3, 10, 11, 17, 18].
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4496039&req=5

pone.0130121.g002: Plan of the Early Natufian architectural remains in the area of Shelter 131/51.Modified from [3, 10, 11, 17, 18].
Mentions: Shelter 131/51 is our main interest here (Fig 2, enlarged from Fig 1). According to Valla, the architectural remains and stratigraphy in this part of the site suggests a sequence of construction episodes [architectural and occupational events], occupations and abandonments [14] (Fig 3). The floors were usually not paved but every structure is associated with at least one living floor up to 10-15cm thick. These living floors were traced by the excavators following changes of sediment and the dispersed ashes from the associated hearths. Valla suggested that Shelter 62 of Layer II, the latest of the Early Natufian shelters in this area, was built at a time when all traces of former constructions were covered up, and the fact that it is generally concentric to the outline of 131/51 can be explained by the remaining ground depression that made that location favorable. Wall 51 and its associated floor of Layer III represent, according to Valla, an episode of rebuilding after abandonment and collapse of the earlier Wall 131 of Layer IV, this time cutting deeper into the slope. Layer IV in this part of the site contains the remains of Wall 131 and two living floors (separated by 10cm of sediment), out of which the upper floor (mainly the eastern parts of it) was studied extensively by Valla [14]. The Upper Floor 131 is not only rich in artifacts, but also contains a pair of adjoining constructed hearths delineated by stone arches open towards the north, and the upper stone crowns of seven stone-packed postholes extending deeper into the soil. The packing of stones ensures that the post remains vertical when horizontal loads (generated by an inclined roof beam, winds, etc) are applied to it, by increasing the density of the ground along its underground part. Six of the postholes seem to outline an arch. The assignment of the postholes to Floor 131 was based on the elevation of their uppermost stones, but considering the many construction activities that took place at this location (which always included digging), such an assumption should not be necessarily adopted. In fact, Valla points out that one of the postholes (142 O / 8) was clearly outcropping above the surface considered relevant [14]. Even though the elevations of each posthole and the elevations along the base of each wall were not fully published, it is sufficient to say that under these circumstances their stratigraphic assignment cannot be solely based on their elevation. Other aspects of the remains such as their spatial arrangement should be examined too in order to successfully assign the postholes to the corresponding shelter. Perrot [15] (and more recently, Samuelian [16]) described the postholes as installed 1m in front of, and parallel to Wall 131. This description is not fully accurate. We have noted that the distances from the center of the postholes to Wall 131 vary between 0.6 to 1.25 m, while the distances of these postholes to wall 51 seem to be constant (S1 Fig). This actually triggered our inquiry of the matter.

Bottom Line: A new look at the architectural remains and the stratigraphy resulted in an alternative reconstruction, essentially different than the one we have come to know.We used spatial (architectural-geometrical) analysis in order to study the relationships between the different architectural elements and to test our hypothesis that the series of postholes may have not pertained to the upper floor 131 of Layer IV as suggested by Perrot and Valla, but rather to the successive occupational and architectural episode.The association of the postholes with Wall 51 of Layer III sheds new light on the architectural remains revealing their geometric design, an important characteristic of Early Natufian Architecture, the meaning and implications of which we shortly discuss.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

ABSTRACT
In the past 25 years since the reconstruction of Shelter 131 of Eynan was suggested by Francois Valla, its image has become almost iconic--a highly cited symbol of early sedentism constituting a significant part of our knowledge on early stone constructions and the people behind them. A new look at the architectural remains and the stratigraphy resulted in an alternative reconstruction, essentially different than the one we have come to know. We used spatial (architectural-geometrical) analysis in order to study the relationships between the different architectural elements and to test our hypothesis that the series of postholes may have not pertained to the upper floor 131 of Layer IV as suggested by Perrot and Valla, but rather to the successive occupational and architectural episode. The association of the postholes with Wall 51 of Layer III sheds new light on the architectural remains revealing their geometric design, an important characteristic of Early Natufian Architecture, the meaning and implications of which we shortly discuss.

No MeSH data available.