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% of total stone inventory
Total stone % Nonlocal
tools rocks Cores Flake-blades Crescents
MSA IV 2,101 0.7 2.7 20.5 0
MSA III 6,577 3.7 1.4 18.7 0.1
Howieson™s Poort 119,336 25 1.0 10.6 1.2
MSA II 95,418 1.2 2.0 26.6 0.01
MSA I 31,812 0.4 1.3 31.7 0
The majority of all artefacts in all levels consist of unmodified flakes (MSA ¼ Middle Stone Age
which lasts from 130,000 (MSA I) to 50,000 (MSA IV) years ago (Mitchell 2002:80ff.)).

Reproducing the body
But what evidence exists for the metaphorical reproduction of the body and
its distribution over longer chains of connection?

Case study: Klasies River Mouth
An example comes from the long sequence at Klasies River Mouth on the
southern coast of South Africa with its impressive numbers of stone tools
(Singer and Wymer 1982:Table 8.4).
Were these numbers produced solely with rational solutions to survival in
mind? Their excavator John Wymer (Singer and Wymer 1982:64) regarded
the overwhelming evidence for overproduction as intentional, functional
behaviour. The abundant quartzite at the cave encouraged overproduction
so that blanks of preferred shape and size could be readily selected from a
pile and hafted in composite artefacts such as fish spears.
Alternatively, did they fragment stone in order to consume, accumulate
in order to enchain and so reproduce the body in extended form? Here the
relational argument returns to the notion of parent-offspring outlined in
Chapter 7.
Table 8.4 shows that local rocks, picked-up in front of the cave, dominate
in all phases of the Middle Stone Age (MSA) except one, the Howieson™s
Poort where 25 per cent are silcretes from the Cape Folded Mountains
Did agriculture change the world? 253

table 8.5. Fragmentation and breakage among the flake-blades at Klasies
River Mouth (Singer and Wymer 1982:Table 7.1)

Number of stone Total flake
artefacts per core blades Unbroken Pointed Broken
MSA IV 37 431 39.4 21.1 39.4
MSA III 72 1,233 46.8 2.3 50.9
Howieson™s Poort 99 12,600 39.6 0.4 60.1
MSA II 48 25,374 65.3 9.5 25.3
MSA I 77 10,072 72.3 5.3 22.4

around 15 km away inland (Deacon 1989:560; McBrearty and Brooks
2000:516). The Howieson™s Poort interest in non-local rocks coincides with
the smallest proportion of flake-blades (Table 8.4) and the largest number of
large crescents (N ¼ 1,374) many of which have deliberately blunted
backs, indicating to the archaeologists they were hafted as composite tools
(Singer and Wymer 1982:112). In Shelter 1A, 35 per cent of the crescents
were made from non-local rocks. These raw materials point to an expanded
form of enchainment away from Klasies River Mouth during the
Howieson™s Poort 80À60,000 years ago (Mitchell 2002:Table 4.2). But this
scale does not persist into Middle Stone Age III and IV as shown by the
return to local rocks.
But the distinctive crescents in the Howieson™s Poort levels come at the
expense of flake-blades (Table 8.4), and when we examine further the
evidence for breakage of these same flake-blades (Table 8.5) another
interesting contrast emerges.
Sixty per cent of the Howieson™s Poort flake-blades are broken segments.
In the Middle Stone Age levels the proportions vary. The two earliest
phases that Wymer recognised, MSA I and II, are dominated by unbroken
flake-blades. Phases III and IV, after the Howieson™s Poort with its non-
local rocks, shows much higher proportions of broken and pointed pieces.
The large sample of Howieson™s Poort flake-blades from Shelter 1A
(N ¼ 11,370) shows that breakage is much higher among the local quartzites
at almost 70 per cent (Table 8.6), and Wymer (Singer and Wymer 1982:64)
addresses the issue of whether these flake-blades were broken accidentally
or intentionally. The local quartzite is brittle so many pieces broke,
apparently accidentally, during knapping. Trampling and breakage in the
254 Origins and Revolutions

table 8.6. Raw material and breakage in flake-blades at Shelter 1A Klasies
River Mouth, South Africa (Singer and Wymer 1982:Tables 6.3 and 6.4)

Number %
Non local-rocks
Unbroken flake-blades 1,246 54.3
Broken flake-blades 1,049 45.7
Local rocks
Unbroken flake-blades 3,195 35.2
Broken flake-blades 5,880 64.8

ground was probably slight. However, Wymer concludes that many of the
middle sections of these thick flake blades were probably intentionally
broken and would have served, in his opinion, as useful knives or scrapers if
mounted in wooden handles.
Quartzite is rarely knapped today as flint is considered more tractable.
But an expert stone worker, Farina Sternke, has achieved a high level of
proficiency in order to study the use of quartzite in the German Middle
Palaeolithic. She has shown (pers. comm.) that if flake-blade segments
are required then knapping such blades in quartzite will automatically
produce them. The choice of raw material may therefore be intentional.
The difference between fine-grained silcretes and flints and coarse rocks
such as quartzite is that the latter lose their edge more quickly when used.
Applying Sternke™s observations to the Klasies River Mouth assemblage
leads to a different interpretation to Wymer™s suggestion of functionally
appropriate blanks. The interest of the stone knappers was instead in the
balance of fragmented and complete pieces. Their knapping was a form of
consumption that established an identity for Klasies River Mouth as a
place, through the accumulation of very large stone sets. This identity
varied between the MSA and Howieson™s Poort occupations through
varying degrees of enchainment to wider social landscapes. It also varied in
the flake/blade:core ratio (offspring:parent, Chapter 7) where fragmenta-
tion reproduced the body in a distributed form. At Klasies River Mouth and
Rose Cottage Cave (Wadley 2001), the proportion of retouched tools
(scrapers, borers, notches, etc.) is never more than 1.6 per cent of the total
stone assemblage and as low as 0.5 per cent in the Howieson™s Poort (Singer
and Wymer 1982:Table 7.1). However, the ratio of flakes to cores ranges
from almost 100 for the Howieson™s Poort to between 37 and 77 for
the Middle Stone Age. Social extension resulted in changing patterns
Did agriculture change the world? 255

of fragmentation and consumption, and blades were appropriate to this
social technology.
I conclude that hominins at Klasies River Mouth, Rose Cottage
Cave and Blombos engaged in fragmentation to produce products for
accumulation rather than simply elements for an additive or composite
technology. If the latter was the case then there would be more evidence for
utilised segments and much lower core ratios for these flake and flake-blade
sets. Instead they were more interested in reproducing the body through
material metaphors than making fancy fish spears. They were bricoleurs,
not engineers when it came to putting things together.

Social extension and the childscape
Distances of 15 km are, however, small. In technology™s long introduction
there are examples from Africa of a very few tools being found several
hundred kilometres away from their geological source (McBrearty and
Brooks 2000). What we see during the common ground is a spatial increase
in social extension (Gamble 1999:Chapter 7). In Europe, all stages of the
cha±ne operatoire are now found more than 20 km away from the source
of the stone material whereas previously it was only the final stage, the
so-called finished tool (Gamble 1999:Table 7.3). In addition, the distances
over which lithics were regularly transferred increased markedly between
the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic (Gamble 1999:Figure 6.13) when blades
gained the upper hand over flakes in lithic assemblages These greater
distances were further augmented by the traffic in marine and fossil shells
that on occasion came from up to 800 km away (Floss 1994; Soffer 1985;
Taborin 1993). The childscape now contained sets and nets from worlds
that might never be visited but which were nonetheless understood.
The bricolage of material that framed these environments of growth
had made the essential metaphorical relation for agriculture by on the
one hand accumulating at the locale and on the other through chains
of connection harvesting relationships from a social landscape as imag-
inary as it was material. The project of growing the body was soon to be

The short answer, 20,000 to 5,000 years ago: an appreciation
What happened in this technological movement to divide the world
economically and socially into hunters and farmers? At one level nothing.
256 Origins and Revolutions

The giving environment still structured the childscape in different regions
of the Old World such as the Near East and Europe. Children remained a
material project, their identities grown through the association of hybrid
sets and nets of objects and people. But the childscape now had latent
potential for growing bodies and identities in more varied ways because
of the authority that containers had brought, during technology™s common
ground, to material representations of the world. Without containers,
composed of additive and composite techniques, there would be no
growing the body to make the social world meaningful, intelligible and
potentially different.
At first the story is more of the same but more so. Fragmentation among
stone tools increased to near manic proportions as a process of miniaturisa-
tion, known as microlithisation, swept large parts of the Old World (Elston
and Kuhn 2002). Tools measured in millimetres took on standard, some-
times geometric forms with triangles, trapezes and rectangles enjoying
regional popularity. Composite, multi-component artefacts such as arrows,
harpoons and knives were now commonplace.
But there is much that continues to form a rational puzzle.
Overproduction was still common at many locales, and fragmentation of
both animals and stone resulted in impressive accumulations that fuel
claims by some (see Hodder 2001) for a symbolic revolution in the Near
East that ushered in the modern mind, domestication and society as we
know it. The preface to something new was dramatically declared by frag-
menting vast quantities of stone and animal bone, none of them domestic,
to create places without domestic architecture. At Gobekli Tepe in south-
east Turkey (Watkins 2004a), a hill of fragments covered a circle of large
standing stones with bas-relief animal carvings. At other less spectacular
locales in the Levant, some houses were regularly filled-up while others
were swept clean.
What remains familiar is the tradition of bricolage, bringing sets together
to create understandings of place and landscape. This is evident in the lack
of modularisation among the earliest houses of the sedentary revolution.
What was novel is that these social technologies became more predictable
in terms of which sets were repeatedly associated. It took some time for
standard house forms, as regular in their own way as geometric microliths,
to be assembled into compounds and villages. What we then see is the
growth of these structures and their related sets. The latter included fur-
niture, for example hearths, platforms and storage bins as well as ground
stone tools, such as mortars, pestles and bowls built into the house fabric,
as were skulls and skeletons.
Did agriculture change the world? 257

Growing the body now drew on the authority of containers as a proxy
for the symbolic force of bodily experience. Baskets, clothes and stone
bowls grew into houses, villages, fields, flocks and pots. And just as the
sets that formed composite instruments had become more standardised
through microlithisation so too did the containers that now acted as
material proxies for the body, and the construction of identity for individual
and group.
In Europe there was of course no indigenous move to agriculture and
domestic animals, although there could have been as the independent
experience of Asia, the Americas and Africa shows (Bar-Yosef 1998). But
there was still, as in the Near East, the materiality of bodily experience using
the joint authority of instruments and containers. The tradition of bricolage
continued, most notably with the painted cave and rock art that witnessed
journeys from the light to the dark, hidden interior of the landscape. On the
surface huts are more convincing: some have hearths within them, but they
remain uncommon, idiosyncratic structures. Well-cared-for hearths are
usually outside and defined the locale, as at Rekem, in Belgium (de Bie and
Caspar 2000). Burials are also rare and not until much later at Lepenski Vir
in Serbia (Chapman 2000:136; Radovanovic 1996) was there a regular
association between huts and bodies. Elsewhere skeletons were usually
fragmented (Chapter 6) and the body parts probably widely distributed.
Large sets of engraved slabs and carved bone and antler artefacts
were accumulated at chosen locations (Davidson 1989), for example
La Madeleine in southwest France (Capitan and Peyrony 1928) where
a child burial with a rich set of shells and deer canines was also found
(Vanhaeren and d™Errico 2001). The social landscape commands our
attention as the volume of exotic materials increased to feed an appetite for
extension apparent in both the glacial refugia such as the Dordogne (Straus
2000) as well as through the re-settlement of formerly glaciated landscapes
(Gamble et al. 2005).
Variety was the hallmark of technology™s short answer. Excavation
continues to uncover surprises and new material associations at locales
adjacent in time and space. Well-defined chronological patterns are rare
because the material metaphors are often mixed, as with burial practices
during the Natufian and earliest Neolithic of the Levant (Belfer-Cohen
1995; Byrd and Monahan 1995; Kuijt 1996).
But rather than using this variety to concentrate, as is normally the case,
on the economic and social divergence between Europe and the Near East
I would stress the different childscapes that emerged around the hearth
and home.
258 Origins and Revolutions

In the Near East the childscape is difficult to identify. What dominates
is the landscape of habit, an adult world where bodies, crops, animals
and settlements are grown, and which now encapsulated the childscape.
The child grew as the crops ripened, the herds reproduced and the
households in the village expanded and contracted. The networks of
material culture within which they were implicated affirmed the process.
The childscape was no longer a project to be fitted-in to the landscape
of habit. It was instead constructed-inside, just like the hearths within
houses, so that the array of material metaphors was controlled and selected,
just as the animals and crops were respected for their growth as much as
their gifts.
Buildings, as Peter Wilson (1988) has pointed out, are important for their
imposition of boundaries to interaction. By the end of technology™s short
answer the world of containers formed a material representation of a theory
of mind that we feel at home with: by which I mean the understanding that
another person™s inner state is similar to your own and that we know the
ancestors are watching and the gods understand everything. Access to
hidden intentions and representations of the self could be understood by
people who may never physically have entered another house other than
their own. The internal map of hearth, storage bin and sleeping platform
was reassuringly similar although not directly experienced. However, this
was not, as some argue, the origin of the modern mind, only a material
representation of a mind that had, since at least technology™s common
ground, been accessible through the same material proxies by bricoleurs
who learned and experimented with metaphorical connections in the
social space of the childscape.

Evidence from the short answer
Containers dominate and the multifarious sets they form have been
extensively studied by archaeologists. The material arrays in the short
answer are exponentially greater than for the previous two technological
movements. Therefore I will concentrate exclusively on hearth and home,
concluding with a case study not of a locale but rather the process of how
we recognise a changed primary metaphor that structured social life
through material proxies. Table 8.7 charts the chronology that includes
two important pre™s; the pre-agriculture of the Natufian that is within
touching distance of crops and domestic animals, and the Early Neolithic
that is pre-pottery or PPN.
Did agriculture change the world? 259

table 8.7. The chronology of the transition to agriculture in the Levant (after
Wright and Garrard 2003:Table 1). PPN ¼ Pre-Pottery Neolithic. Although
pottery forms an important chronological marker in the Early Neolithic,
containers in the form of baskets were present throughout

Years ago
Late Epi-Palaeolithic
Natufian 14,700À12,000 Villages
Early Neolithic (aceramic)
PPNA 12,000À10,950 Cereals
PPNB 10,950À8,900 Flocks
PPNC 8,900À8,350
Late Neolithic (ceramic)
Pottery Neolithic 8,350À7,400

Huts, houses and hearths
The house became a major project for the childscape, the environment
of growth. At the start of the short answer there are circular mammoth
bone structures in the Ukraine and southern Russia at Mezhirich, Iudinovo
and Kostenki site 11 (Abramova 1993; Praslov and Rogachev 1982;
Soffer 1985). Sets abound with stacked mandibles, tusks and ribs. At
Gonnersdorf, Germany, a winter house was built with wooden poles
making the frame across which skins were stretched (Bosinski 1979). The
floor of the Gonnersdorf hut was paved with slate slabs many of which carry
the superimposed traces of animals and human figures finely etched with
stone tools (Bosinski and Fischer 1974). Changing the surface of containers
such as houses, clothes and rock shelters was now well established.
All of these houses are more convincing than the palimpsests of sets from
technology™s common ground (Figure 8.9). They even form small clusters
as at Mezin (Klein 1973) and Mezhirich (Soffer 1985) that has led to their
description as villages. This is also the case at the much later, c. 8,000 years
ago, locale of Lepenski Vir (Chapman 2000:194À203; Radovanovic 1996).
Here the 137 trapezoidal houses have complex sets of hearths, boulders
and sculpture, eighty-five burials, similar in concept if not in detail to the
Natufian and earliest Neolithic of the Levant.
A strong feeling of bricolage still pervades these Near Eastern locales as
shown by Nigel Goring-Morris™ (1988) survey of the varied settlement
evidence in the Negev and Sinai deserts over the initial 10,000 years
of technology™s short answer. This is also the impression from Ohalo II,
260 Origins and Revolutions

figure 8.9. Making connections at Iudinovo (inset top left) and Kostenki site 11 level Ia
(inset right). Collections and sets of mammoth bones, in particular stacks of mandibles at
Kostenki (inset bottom left), defined circular containers. While it is tempting to interpret
them as collapsed huts they may have had more significance as bricolage used to
construct places through material metaphors.

by the Sea of Galilee, Israel (Nadel 2002; 2003) dated to 21,000 years ago
(Nadel et al. 1995). At this well-preserved, waterlogged locale six brush
huts, six hearth complexes, a pit, a human grave, middens and a stone
installation have been excavated (Nadel 1994). The floors of the huts varied
in size and shape; the largest being 13 m2 and the smallest 5 m2. The floors
were dug to form a shallow bowl and were unpaved but covered in large
quantities of flint artefacts, animal bones and plant remains in what the
excavator considers to be their original position, the result of continuous
accumulation (Nadel 2003:39). No cleaning took place. Small sets of
implements were found in the huts and a number of small stones had been
deliberately buried upright beneath the floor, while larger erect stones
where found in situ on the floors. Hearths were between the huts in public
Several of these observations hold for the Natufian, regarded as the key
archaeological culture in the appearance of sedentism and the transition to
Did agriculture change the world? 261

figure 8.10. The evidence for Natufian architecture from Shelter 131 at Ain Mallaha.
The semicircular ring of stone-packed postholes define the structure that contains a
small cemetery (after Valla 1988:Figure 1).

agriculture (Bar-Yosef 1998; Bar-Yosef and Valla 1991; Belfer-Cohen 1991;
Byrd 1989; Goring-Morris and Belfer-Cohen 1997) and dated to between
12,750 and 10,050 years ago. The evidence forms sets of structures, circular
or oval, dug into the slope and defined by perimeter stones and post-holes
(Cauvin 1978). At Wadi Hammeh 27 in Jordan three deeply incised
limestone slabs formed part of a wall (Edwards 1991:133) while caches of
ground stone mortars and pestles, chert picks and a heterogeneous set
consisting of a bone sickle, gazelle foot bones and a stone tool-kit have also
been found (Edwards 1991:Figure 5).

Houses for the living and the dead
The most cited Natufian settlement is that of Ain Mallaha (Eynan), Israel
(Perrot 1966; Perrot and Ladiray 1988a; Valla 1991) and in particular shelter
131 (Figure 8.10) where stone-packed post-holes have been reconstructed
as a semi-circular, timber framed structure partially dug into the slope
(Valla 1988:Figure 1). Within the 20 m2 plus this structure covered were
found hearths as well as thirteen burials, twelve of them grouped together in
262 Origins and Revolutions

cemetery B (Byrd and Monahan 1995; Perrot and Ladiray 1988). As with the
forty-eight burials from Hayonim Cave (Belfer-Cohen 1988) there is a great
mixture of ages and internment patterns leading Byrd and Monahan
(1995:265) to conclude that no standardised regional burial tradition
existed. But Watkins (2004b) makes the point that locales such as
Ain Mallaha were houses for both the living and the dead irrespective of
the varied funerary rituals that fragmented some bodies, or placed sets of

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