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Reconstructing Early Neolithic Social and Economic Organization through Spatial Analysis at Ayn Abu Nukhayla, Southern Jordan

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Donald O. Henry
Department of Anthropology, Harwell Hall, University of Tulsa ,Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104USA (
Seiji Kadowaki
University Museum, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8601Japan (
Sean M. Bergin
Arizona State University, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, PO Box 872402, Tempe, AZ 85287-2402USA (


This study involves the high-resolution spatial analysis of a 9,500-year-old Early Neolithic site in an effort to reconstruct the social and economic organization of the settlement at household and community scales. We introduce an approach to distinguishing stratified occupational surfaces (floors) from intervening deposits (fills), to tracing the different formation processes associated with floors and fills, and to critically examining various factors (curation behaviors, palimpsests, and the Clarke Effect) that may have shaped house floor assemblages. The spatial analyses of behavioral residuals, features, and structures are then presented at intramural and intrasite scales, and the results are discussed as they relate to certain aspects of the social and economic organization of the community. These include family structure, control of resources, social differentiation, ritual participation, craft specialization, and gender-linked activities.

El siguiente estudio involucra análisis espacial de alta resolución en un sitio del Neolítico Temprano con 9,500 años de antigüedad, en un esfuerzo para reconstruir la organización económica y social del asentamiento en sus escalas doméstica y comunal. Introducimos un enfoque, distinguiendo superficies ocupacionales estratificadas (pisos) de los depósitos interpuestos (relleno),para detectar los diferentes procesos formativos relacionados con los pisos y rellenos, además de examinar críticamente diversos factores (comportamientos de conservación, palimpsestos y el Efecto Clarke) que pudieron darle forma a los conjuntos de pisos de los hogares. Los análisis espaciales de residuos de conducta, elementos y estructuras son presentados luego en escalas intramural y al interior del sitio. Y los resultados serán comentados conforme su relación con ciertos aspectos de la organización económica y social de la comunidad. Incluyendo estructura familiar, control de recursos, diferenciación social, participación ritual, especialización artesanal, y actividades relacionados con el género.

Research Article
Copyright © The Society for American Archaeology 2014

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