Sha’ar Hagolan: A major Pottery Neolithic settlement and artistic center in the Jordan Valley

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Abstract

Eleven excavation seasons were conducted at the 8,000 year old Pottery Neolithic site of Sha‘ar Hagolan, Jordan valley, Israel (1989–1990, 1996–2004). The field work has been concluded in 2004 and now the expedition is concentrating on the preparation of the final excavation reports. The field work methodological approach was a large horizontal exposure and in accordance ca. 3,000 m2 were uncovered in five different excavation areas. Groundbreaking results were obtained, including monumental courtyard structures, a system of streets, a water well and the largest collection of prehistoric art ever found in Israel. This new data completely contradicts what was known before on the Pottery Neolithic period of the southern Levant. It is clear now that this period reflects an important step towards the transition from early sedentary villages to well planned urban settlements. The size of the site, its developed architecture and planning, the rich material culture and the long-distance connections, indicate that Sha‘ar Hagolan was one of the major Neolithic settlements in the Near East.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-143
Number of pages47
JournalEurasian Prehistory
Volume8
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2012

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