Phase 2 (Study Period: 2009–2011)

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Description: In this phase, systematic excavation of the later EB III deposits over a large horizontal exposure was conducted. It allowed systematic collection and analyses of remains. The focus of my efforts during this period was on the faunal remains.

While there are numerous studies on traditional material culture assemblages in these communities, there are very few large, well-collected, and comprehensively studied zooarchaeological (animal remains from archaeological contexts) assemblages associated with the early urban communities associated with the earliest civilizations of the Near East. The objective of this project is to increase our understanding of EBA communities through the examination of the spatial distribution of zooarchaeological remains from an early urban settlement.

The fauna from Tell es-Safi represents an unusual sample in that it is the first EB sample from the southern Levant to be excavated over a large area and systematically recovered with sieves (2-5 mm) from all primary deposits and analysed spatially by architectural feature. A large sample of remains has already been collected (n=5000).

Method: Zooarchaeological remains from urban contexts represent only a small part of the animals within the larger regional food production strategies. By examining the spatial distribution of the different animal species, skeletal elements, age and sex groups, as well as noting butchery and other modifications to the bones, in each of the excavated contexts, we will begin to be able to unravel economic and social relations within the excavated community. A number of hypotheses will be tested, including herd management strategies, butchering and other meat preparation techniques, craft production, and assemblage taphonomy. Standard zooarchaeological analysis will be conducted on the bone remains. Bones are analysed in Israel and Winnipeg.

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