Socio-economic changes in flint production and consumption in the PPNB period of the Greater Petra Region, Southern Levant

purschwitz_blogThis presentation is the outcome of a Ph.D, which recently was completed at Freie Universität Berlin (Purschwitz 2016). This paper presents the results of the chipped lithic analysis from five Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB, ca. 8600-6900 BCE) sites (Ail 4, Ba’ja, Basta, Beidha and Shkârat Msaied) which all are situated at the Greater Petra Region. Major changes in the organization of flint production and blank consumption are in evidence with the emergence of the large mega-sites during the late PPNB (7500-6900 BCE). An increasing number of bidirectional blade consuming households are opposed to few producing workshops, which operate beyond their own demand and produce on a regional supply level. Households which have restricted access to the late PPNB bidirectional bade network respond with self-supply strategies by using alternative blade technologies. This phenomenon or “technological dualism” between inter-site production and household consumption rises with increasing specialization in crafts and comprises all levels of production from raw material procurement to exchange.

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Christoph Purschwitz, FU Berlin

Christoph Purschwitz, FU Berlin.

I argue that the emergence of the dualistic lithic economy (in the Greater Petra Region) is the result of changes in the network structure of the households. While MPPNB sites of the Greater Petra Region are small and only seasonal used, LPPNB mega-sites can be huge and permanently occupied by several hundreds to thousand inhabitants. According to general network theory the personal network (family, relatives, friends) of a MPPNB household is likely to be distributed over several more or less distant sites, while the personal network of a LPPNB household appears to be restricted to the mega-site itself. Additionally, it is likely that at mega-sites such as Basta or ‘Ain Ghazal an increasing number of inhabitant did not share the households personal networks and did not had social relations to each other. I expect that the lack of social control within the late PPNB mega-sites promoted profit-oriented thinking (negative reciprocity, surplus production) and constituted in increasing social inequality.


Purschwitz, C. 2016. The Lithic Economy of Flint during the Early Neolithic of the Greater Petra Region. Geological Availability, Procurement, Production, and Modes of Distribution of Flint from the Early to Late PPNB-Period. Ph.D.-Thesis, Freie Universität Berlin (in German).

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Date, Time: 12/12/2016, 16:00 h – 17:00 h

Location: Room 0.024, Biozentrum (Building 304), Zülpicher Str. 47b, Cologne

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