Obsidian assemblage of Mezraa Teleilat
Posted by Fredsvenn on April 10, 2015
Understanding the cultural and chronological transitions from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) to the Pottery Neolithic (PN), which date between 8,500 and 8,200 cal. BP, has been a problem in Near East archaeology.
Most Pre-Pottery Neolithic sites were either abandoned or were less intensely occupied towards end of the PPNB due to a number of reasons that archaeologists have puzzled over. Fortunately, recent archaeological discoveries in the Levant and northern Mesopotamia have provided invaluable data to help resolve some of these problems.
A few sites, such as Mezraa Teleilat, Akarçay Tepe, Tell Halula in Middle Euphrates Valley, Çayönüin Upper Tigris area, and ‘Ain Ghazal in Jordan, among hundreds of Neolithic excavations in northern and southern Levant, provide convincing evidence for a continuous occupation from PPNB to PN.
Mezraa Teleilat in the Middle Euphrates Basin in southeastern Turkey is one of the most promising sites and has great potentialto illuminate the enigmatic PPNB-PN transition basedon its following attributes: chronologically continuousoccupation; large exposures with many buildings (ca. 5000 m2); careful excavation methods and recording carried out at the site; richness of flint and obsidian artifacts; proximity to raw material resources from the Euphrates and other varied ecological zones; and a gateway between the Levant, Mesopotamia, western Anatolia, Cyprus and, hence, access to the Neolithic groups that lived in these areas. All these qualities make Mezraa Teleilat’s flint and obsidian assemblages worthy of study.
This paper originates from a much broader perspective based on the author’s Ph.D. thesis, but it intends to describe a narrower artifact assemblage, namely the obsidian assemblage, found in LPPNB, Transitional, and Pottery Neolithic contexts.
The goal of this paper is to bring attention to the Neolithic obsidian assemblages of Mezraa Teleilat, which have only recently been investigated and, hence, are not well known in the broader scholarly community.