A study of the presence of lithics in the southern Levant from the Late Neolithic to the end of the Iron Age
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Excavations in the Levant have exposed a broad range of occupational phases, complete with a wide variety of artifacts. Archaeological publications from sites dating to the Pottery Neolithic through the Iron Age suggest a rapid decline in lithic technology, coinciding with the introduction of ceramics and metallurgy into the region. An examination of 46 sites from the southern Levant was conducted to determine to what degree lithics were present in sites dating from these periods. In order to organize the large amount of data required for this research a database was created. Nineteen fields were established in order to collect, compare and analyze data. Through the examination of the characteristics of these sites it became clear that lithic material continues to be present at sites dating from the Pottery Neolithic through the Iron Age. This analysis demonstrated that although lithic assemblages become smaller and more specialized, they are still present and should receive the same degree of treatment found at sites dating from Epipaleolithic through Pre-Pottery Neolithic sites. The combination of a decline in lithic production and the introduction of new technologies in post-Neolithic periods have caused a decrease in attention given to lithic material. This lack of interest in post-Neolithic lithic analysis is clearly demonstrated through the inconsistent treatment of these lithic artifacts. It is suggested that the thorough investigation and publication of lithic material from Pre-Pottery Neolithic sites be applied equally to lithic material from sites in subsequent periods to ensure a more complete understanding of cultures in the Levant from the Pottery Neolithic through the Iron Age.