Beads from Kebara (Mt Carmel; Israel)

kebaraThese beads were found in the upper  Layers (Kebaran, Natufian) at Kebara cave (Mt Carmel; Israel) and are called “barrel shaped” beads. (1,2-1,3 cm and 0,5-0,55 cm diameter). Two of them are made from bone and one looks more like a proximal section of a scaphopod shell. They seem to have been used for a long time (deep “échancrures” on both distal and proximal ends) and according to the typical disposition of use-wear traces (indicating a constrained position by the fastening system) they seem to have been sewn on a support but that would require an in depth study to be affirmed.

In western Asia, during the Natufian period, most body ornaments were made of shells, gazelle phalanges, and deer bones and fox teeth. Bone beads are known from the Natufian, allthough “barrel shaped” ones are rare. A nice example is displayed at:

Later Periods than the Natufian have not been reported from Kebara and therfore I do not think that these beads are intrusive from a non-recognized PPN layer.

Stone beads, however, continue to be rare during the levantine Epipaleolithic, although Natufian hunter-gatherers were fully capable of making elaborate stone items (e.g. figurines). In general Natufian stone beads most are circular discs or oval pendants, smaller than the predominant bone and shell ornaments. Stone beads become numerous and diverse only in the Neolithic. In the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) stone body ornaments begin to appear in abundance. By the Middle Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) most sites contain them and they become more numerous and diverse in the PPNB and Early Late Neolithic (ELN).The PPNA and PPNB stone ornaments are larger and much more diverse. Beads are discoidal, barrel-shaped, cylindrical, and spherical; pendants are square, rectangular, or triangular.

Explore the Prehistoric treasures of Israel:


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About Katzman

During my whole life I was fascinated by stone age artefacts. Not only the aesthetic qualities of these findings, but also the stories around them and the considerations arising from their discovery, are a part of my blog. Comments and contributions are allways welcome! About me: J.L. Katzman (Pseudonym). Born in Vienna. Left Austria in 1974 and did not regret. Studied Medicine and Prehistory at a German University. Member of a Medical Department at a German University. Copyright 2010-2017 by JLK. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to use material in these posts so long as you cite the work.
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