Institute of Archaeology

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Beyond the Fertile Crescent: Late Palaeolithic and Neolithic Communities of the Jordanian Steppe

16 December 2013

Beyond the Fertile Crescent: Late Palaeolithic and Neolithic Communities of the Jordanian Steppe

The first volume resulting from the major field project in the Azraq Basin directed by Andrew Garrard has now been published by Oxbow Books.

The natural arc of resource-rich land which forms the ‘Fertile Crescent’ of South-West Asia is widely regarded as the earliest centre of village-based farming in the world. It has been the focus of much research on the transition from Epipalaeolithic hunting and gathering to Neolithic farming.

Beyond the Fertile Crescent by Andrew Garrard and Brian Byrd is the first volume of the Azraq Basin Project, the large-scale archaeological and palaeoenvironmental survey and excavation project undertaken between 1982 and 1989 at the margins of this region, in the steppe and oasis environments of the Azraq Basin in north-central Jordan, a region rich in Palaeolithic and Neolithic site.

The volume begins with an overview of the Azraq Project’s aims, a detailed analysis of past and present environments, and the history of survey and excavation in the Basin. The geology, stratigraphy and dating of the Late Palaeolithic sites is then explored and a detailed description of the technology and typology of the chipped stone assemblages from the sites is provided. These are then compared with those from the wider Levant, in order to explore possible links between technological traditions and social groups and to reconstruct settlement strategies across the region.