Intensive Hunting and Early Animal Management in the southern Levant

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 17 March, 2016 - 14:45
, Natalie - University of Connecticut

This paper adopts a deep-time behavioral ecological framework to investigate changes in animal economy across the forager to farmer transition in the southern Levant. A sequence of Epipaleolithic and early Neolithic archaeozollogical assemblages are used to reconstruct the ecological background from which animal management emerged. This paper focuses on the trade-off between wild game and domestic progenitor species. Increased frequencies of goat, pig and cattle from the Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) to the Late PPNB phases coincide with a reduction in wild taxa and an increase in foraging efficiency indicated by multiple independent comparisons of high and low-ranked wild taxa. The wild diet narrows as domestic progenitors play an increasingly important role. These changes suggest that by the PPNB it was more efficient for humans to modify prey populations with the lowest management costs (domestic progenitors), than to pay increasingly high search and handling costs for gazelle and small game.