Specialized aquatic resource exploitation at the Late Natufian site of Nahal Ein Gev II, Israel

Natalie D. Munro, Ashley N. Petrillo, Leore Grosman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper investigates aquatic resource exploitation at the Late Natufian site (ca. 12,000 cal. BP) of Nahal Ein Gev II located 2 km east of the Sea of Galilee. Aquatic game, here fish and waterfowl, were an important component of the diverse small game resources that became important in the Late Epipaleolithic in Southwest Asia. We characterize local adaptations to the aquatic habitat and their economic and social implications at Nahal Ein Gev II. Taxonomic abundance and diversity, body-part representation, and fish body-size were investigated to evaluate the contribution of aquatic resources to human diets and butchery and transport strategies. Our results show that the residents of Nahal Ein Gev II were highly selective of the aquatic resources they captured and transported home. The hunters maximized foraging efficiency by nearly exclusively choosing the largest bodied species of fish and waterfowl and processing their carcasses to maximize meat utility before transporting them back to the site. The selectivity of these human foragers enables us to reconstruct rare details about the organization of forays for aquatic resources. When combined with evidence from other material classes from Nahal Ein Gev II and other sites, the results suggest that aquatic resource exploitation is only one of several specialized activities practiced at Nahal Ein Gev II. These along with other archaeological evidence provide evidence of task diversification that foreshadows the emergence of a more complex division of labor to come in the succeeding Neolithic period.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number6
JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Division of labor
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Origins of agriculture
  • Task specialization
  • Zooarchaeology

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology

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