Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Neolithic in the Beqaa Valley

Posted by Fredsvenn on March 26, 2015

The Beqaa Valley is a fertile valley in east Lebanon. It is Lebanon’s most important farming region. Industry also flourishes in Bekaa, especially that related to agriculture.

Trihedral Neolithic is a name given by archaeologists to a style (or industry) of striking spheroid and trihedral flint tools from the archaeological site of Joub Jannine II in the Beqaa Valley. The style appears to represent a highly specialized Neolithic industry. Little comment has been made of this industry.

Heavy Neolithic (alternatively, Gigantolithic) is a style of large stone and flint tools (or industry) associated primarily with the Qaraoun culture in the Beqaa Valley, Lebanon, dating to the Epipaleolithic or early Pre-pottery Neolithic at the end of the Stone Age. The type site for the Qaraoun culture is Qaraoun II.

There is no evidence of polishing at the Qaraoun sites or indeed of any arrowheads, burins or millstones. Henri Fleisch noted that the culture that produced this industry may well have led a forest way of life before the dawn of agriculture.

James Mellaart suggested the industry dated to a period before the Pottery Neolithic at Byblos (10,600 to 6900 BC according to the ASPRO chronology) and noted “Aceramic cultures have not yet been found in excavations but they must have existed here as it is clear from Ras Shamra and from the fact that the Pre-Pottery B complex of Palestine originated in this area, just as the following Pottery Neolithic cultures can be traced back to the Lebanon.”

Shepherd Neolithic is a name given by archaeologists to a style (or industry) of small flint tools from the Hermel plains in the north Beqaa Valley. Shepherd Neolithic material can be found dispersed over a wide area of the north Beqaa Valley in low concentrations.

Henri Fleisch suggested the industry was Epipaleolithic as it is evidently not Paleolithic, Mesolithic or even Pottery Neolithic. He further suggested that the industry could have been used by nomadic shepherds.

The relationship and dividing line between the related Heavy Neolithic zone of the south Beqaa Valley could also not be clearly defined but was suggested to be in the area around Douris and Qalaat Tannour.

Baalbeck, also known as Baalbek, is a town in the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon situated east of the Litani River. Known as Heliopolis during the period of Roman rule, it was one of the largest sanctuaries in the empire and contains some of the best preserved Roman ruins in Lebanon.

The gods that were worshipped at the temple – Jupiter, Venus, and Bacchus – were grafted onto the indigenous deities of Hadad, Atargatis, and a young male god of fertility. Local influences are seen in the planning and layout of the temples, which vary from the classic Roman design.

Baalbeck is home to the annual Baalbeck International Festival. The town is about 85 km (53 mi) northeast of Beirut and about 75 km (47 mi) north of Damascus. It has a population of approximately 82,608, mostly Shia Muslims.

There has been much conjecture about earlier levels at Baalbeck with suggestions that it may have been an ancient settlement. The history of settlement in the area of Baalbeck dates back about 9,000 years, with almost continual settlement of the tell under the Temple of Jupiter, which was a temple since the pre-Hellenistic era.

Recent archaeological finds have been discovered in the deep trench at the edge of the Jupiter temple platform during cleaning operations. These finds date the site Tell Baalbeck from the PPNB neolithic to the Iron Age. They include several sherds of pottery including a teapot spout, evident to date back to the early bronze age.

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