Program

Research Programs: Collaborative Research

Period of Performance

3/1/2018 - 8/31/2023

Funding Totals

$200,000.00 (approved)
$200,000.00 (awarded)


Archaeological Investigation of Hunter-Gatherer Aggregation and Movement in Prehistoric Jordan

FAIN: RZ-255635-17

University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA 94704-5940)
Lisa Ann Maher (Project Director: December 2016 to present)
Danielle A. Macdonald (Co Project Director: January 2017 to present)

Excavation and analysis of early settlements of hunter-gatherers at the Paleolithic site of Kharaneh in eastern Jordan. (36 months)

The transition from hunter-gather to food-producing societies in southwest Asia was a pivotal shift in prehistory. The 20,000-year-old hunter-gatherer aggregation site of Kharaneh IV exhibits multi-seasonal, prolonged and repeated habitation, making it the largest Paleolithic site in the region and one that evidences emerging sedentism and settlement, economic intensification, and ritual behaviors associated with dwelling, almost 8,000 years earlier than previously known. As a central hub of occupation for groups from throughout the region, this site is uniquely able to inform us about the construction of communities and interaction networks across a broad social landscape by exploring the nature and motivations for aggregation by reconstructing the spatial organization of domestic and symbolic activities, and undertaking comparative analyses of material culture at contemporary sites to trace how the site’s inhabitants were integrated into broader spheres of social interaction.



Media Coverage

Funeral Practices Pushed Back in Middle East Some 9,000 Years (Media Coverage)
Publication: Archaeology Magazine
Date: 2/17/2021
Abstract: News coverage of: Maher, Lisa A., Danielle A. Macdonald, Emma Pomeroy, and Jay T. Stock (2021). Life, death, and the destruction of architecture: hunter-gatherer mortuary behaviors in prehistoric Jordan. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. 61 101262. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2020.101262
URL: https://www.archaeology.org/news/9477-210217-jordan-hunter-gatherer

A body burned inside a hut 20,000 years ago signaled shifting views of death (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Bruce Bower
Publication: Science News
Date: 2/16/2021
Abstract: Linking the dead with human-built structures may have brought the dead and living closer.
URL: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/ancient-body-burned-burial-jordan-death-views

Book Review: Brian N. Andrews & Danielle A. Macdonald (ed.). 2022. More than shelter from the storm: hunter gatherer houses and the built environment. Gainesville: University Press Florida; 978-0-8130-6937-1 (Review)
Author(s): Ashley Lemke
Publication: Antiquity
Date: 11/21/2022
Abstract: book review of More Than Shelter from the Storm in an international academic journal
URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/antiquity/article/abs/brian-n-andrews-danielle-a-macdonald-ed-2022-more-than-shelter-from-the-storm-hunter-gatherer-houses-and-the-built-environment-gainesville-university-press-florida-9780813069371-hardback-90/34154DFA525E4AD316C0CA7D6BD3ED27

Book Review: More Than Shelter from the Storm: Hunter-Gatherer Houses and the Built Environment. Brian N. Andrews and Danielle A. Macdonald, eds. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2022, 296 pp. $90.00, cloth. ISBN 9780813069371. (Review)
Author(s): Bill Finlayson
Publication: Journal of Anthropological Research
Date: 7/1/2023
Abstract: book review of More Than Shelter in international academic journal
URL: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/724473?journalCode=jar

Review: More Than Shelter from the Storm: Hunter- Gatherer Houses and the Built Environment (Review)
Author(s): Ashley Hampton
Publication: California Archaeology
Date: 6/19/2023
Abstract: book review of More Than Shelter in a national academic journal
URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/1947461X.2023.2223491

Book Review: More than Shelter from the Storm: Hunter-Gatherer Houses and the Built Environment. Brian N. Andrews and Danielle A. Macdonald, editors. 2022.xi+283pp. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. $90.00 (hardcover), ISBN978-0-8130-6937-1 (Review)
Author(s): Raven Garvey
Publication: American Antiquity
Date: 8/30/2023
Abstract: book review of More Than Shelter
URL: https://doi.org/10.1017/aaq.2023.62

What did human communities looks like 20,000 years ago? Prehistoric Archaeology as a Career (Review)
Author(s): Lisa Maher, Danielle Macdonald
Publication: Futurum Careers
Date: 5/31/2022
Abstract: Much of the evidence of past human activities has perished over time – which is why the work of Dr Lisa Maher, at the University of California, and Dr Danielle Macdonald, at the University of Tulsa, in the US, is extremely important. Using artefacts left by humans living 20,000 years ago, they are giving us an insight into how one of the earliest societies lived.
URL: https://futurumcareers.com/what-did-human-communities-look-like-20000-years-ago

Rethinking Revolutions: New Insights into Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers. Part 2. (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Lisa Maher
Publication: Ask An Archaeologist Podcast (ARF Youtube))
Date: 7/14/2020
Abstract: Podcast on UC Berkeley's Archaeological Research Facility Youtube Channel
URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJ17UQPeCgc

Rethinking Revolutions: New Insights into Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers. Part 1. (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Lisa Maher
Publication: Ask An Archaeologist Podcast
Date: 6/16/2020
Abstract: Podcast for UC Berkeley's Archaeological Research Facility Youtube Channel.
URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKfruxuw5Ko



Associated Products

Kharaneh IV Project (Web Resource)
Title: Kharaneh IV Project
Author: Lisa Maher
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Abstract: The Kharaneh IV project explores the nature of interaction and aggregation at the end of the Pleistocene through the multi-component Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic site Kharaneh IV, Jordan. The high density of artifacts, repeated occupation, and the presence of multiple habitation structures suggests that Kharaneh IV was a hunter-gatherer aggregation site—a focal point on the landscape for community interaction. To address long-term changes and explore the nature of hunter-gatherer behavior at the cusp of agriculture, this project examines the high-resolution archaeological record of multi-season, prolonged, and repeated habitation of the region’s largest and densest hunter-gatherer aggregation site.
Year: 2015
Primary URL: https://kharaneh.com/
Primary URL Description: Kharaneh IV Project Website

Flintknapping: Merging Body and Mind (Film/TV/Video Broadcast or Recording)
Title: Flintknapping: Merging Body and Mind
Writer: Felicia De Pena
Director: N/A
Producer: N/A
Abstract: "Flintknapping: Merging Mind and Body", ARF Brownbag (UC Berkeley), 4 April 2018. My work is focused on situating the transmission of flintknapping knowledge between mobile Epipaleolithic (20,000 - 10,500 BP) hunter-gatherer peoples of the Levant through chaîne opératoire. By refitting bladelet cores at Kharaneh IV, Jordan, I strive to identify how individuals learned to flintknap, from raw material acquisition through the production of the final tool. I view the knowledge transmission process as a proxy for culture, as apprentices took on new ideas and identities to fit within a community of practice, the apprentice may have lost (or maintained) kinship ties yet subscribed to a more meaningful relationship within their community of practice. Kharaneh IV is an Early and Middle Epipaleolithic aggregation site well -situated for this research to examine the learning process due to its well-preserved stratigraphy numerous caches, and hut structures, which allows for observation of repetitive practices and identification of changes in technique. Current (and future) experimental flintknapping events in conjunction with 3D imaging and core refitting have been employed to establish baseline knowledge regarding the relationship between skill level and social structures that influence the production process.
Year: 2018
Primary URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=CD0F7VWxdvI
Primary URL Description: YouTube recording of public talk.
Access Model: Open access
Format: Video

2018 Excavations at the Epipalaeolithic Site of Kharaneh IV (Report)
Title: 2018 Excavations at the Epipalaeolithic Site of Kharaneh IV
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Abstract: From June 9-July 12 2018, the Epipalaeolithic Foragers of Azraq Project (EFAP), University of California, Berkeley and University of Tulsa, conducted excavations at the Epipalaeolithic site of Kharaneh IV. The 2018 excavation at Kharaneh IV is the seventh field season at the site, focused on exploring the nature of prehistoric (Late Pleistocene) occupation of Kharaneh IV. During this season we completed excavation on an Early Epipalaeolithic hut structure (Structure 2) discovered in the 2010 season. The goal of the 2018 excavation season was to fully excavate Structure 2 to understand the distribution of artifacts with the structure and the relationship between the structure and the surrounding deposits. This year’s excavations have prepared us for targeting specific new areas for work, namely continuing to excavate several hut features during future field seasons.
Date: 7/30/2018
Access Model: Subscription Only

Reconstructing Daily Life in Prehistory: Using micromorphology to explore the use of space. (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Reconstructing Daily Life in Prehistory: Using micromorphology to explore the use of space.
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Abstract: Ethnographic studies of hunter-gatherer societies reveal a richness of lifeways that weave together interrelated aspects of society, economy, technology and symbolism. Yet, reconstructions of the lifeways of Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers often involves working from a highly fragmented and only partially preserved archaeological record. Here, I assess our current understandings of the Palaeolithic and Epipalaeolithic of Southwest Asia based on the contributions of several foundational interdisciplinary long-term research projects in the region, with a specific focus on those employing microscale analyses.
Date: 12/15/2018
Conference Name: Cultural history of PaleoAsia: Integrative research on the formative processes of modern human cultures in Asia

Living Landscapes (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Living Landscapes
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Abstract: How can knowledge of the past be developed and transformed so that it informs understandings of the present and future? The Center for Japanese Studies at UC Berkeley presents the workshop Living Landscapes: Time, Knowledge and Ecology. This workshop invites researchers in archaeology, anthropology, agroecology, sociology and geography to explore the ways in which different forms of environmental knowledge persist through time, are manifest in landscapes, and remain relevant to contemporary sustainability challenges.
Date: 11/9/2018
Primary URL: http://events.berkeley.edu/index.php/calendar/sn/townsend.html?event_ID=121057&date=2018-11-09
Conference Name: Living Landscapes: Time, Knowledge and Ecology

How Do We Identify a Hunter-Gatherer? Is There a Mismatch Between an Archaeological and an Anthropological Hunter-Gatherer? (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: How Do We Identify a Hunter-Gatherer? Is There a Mismatch Between an Archaeological and an Anthropological Hunter-Gatherer?
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Abstract: In Southwest Asia, the archaeological record of the late Pleistocene exhibits a wide diversity of economic, technological, social and symbolic practices, providing an increasingly nuanced picture of prehistoric behavior. Traditional approaches that focused on the distinctions between hunter-gatherers and food-producers are proving overly simplistic as economic categories are blurred, and the social and ideological practices of these peoples are emphasized. Isolating economic events are difficult, as are reconstructing the impetuses and processes by which these events might have occurred. Much research on contemporary hunter-gatherers has abandoned economic labels in favor of understanding and contextualizing hunter-gatherer ontologies. With a rich dataset over the transition from hunter-gatherer to food-producer in Southwest Asia, we are beginning to explore the value of focusing on the social and ideological worlds of these Pleistocene groups. Much of this work, however, relies on ethnographic analogy and requires a critical approach to its use. With recognition of a ‘long Neolithic’ (and debates about whether this is a valid approach to transition), one must ask whether there is a mismatch between archaeological and anthropological usage of the term ‘hunter-gatherer’? Is ethnoarchaeology and ethnography relevant for identifying, defining and interpreting the behavior of archaeological hunter-gatherers? These issues are explored here using the Epipalaeolithic site of Kharaneh IV and the concept of place-making as a case study.
Date: 7/23/2018
Conference Name: Hunter-Gatherers, Farmers and the Long Neolithic’. Twelfth International Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies (CHAGS 12)

Artistic Traditions in the Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic: Kharaneh IV in Perspective (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Artistic Traditions in the Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic: Kharaneh IV in Perspective
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Abstract: Artistic objects are thought to be one of the hallmarks of the Natufian period, marking a florescence of artistic behavior appearing prior to the origins of agriculture. However, with continuing research into Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic sites in the Levant, new discoveries of ‘symbolic’ artifacts are increasing our understanding of even earlier artistic and symbolic pursuits. In this paper we present an engraved plaquette from the Middle Epipalaeolithic context of Kharaneh IV, eastern Jordan. Using white-light confocal microscopy, we analyze manufacturing traces to identify the gestures and tools used to create the plaquette. This artifact, although the only engraved piece recovered from Kharaneh IV thus far, links into wider networks of Epipalaeolithic interaction and cultural exchange. Placing the Kharaneh IV engraved object into regional context with other Early/Middle Epipalaeolithic artistic artifacts, we explore wider networks of interaction prior to the Natufian.
Date: 4/11/2018
Conference Name: Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting

Becoming Neolithic or Being a Hunter-Gatherer? Reframing the origins of agriculture through a longue durée perspective (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Becoming Neolithic or Being a Hunter-Gatherer? Reframing the origins of agriculture through a longue durée perspective
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Abstract: Searching for the origin points of major cultural revolutions and transitions has long been a driver of archaeological research, yet led to research focused on perceived boundaries, rather than continuity. Research into the origins of so-called modern human behavior, the origins of social complexity, the earliest domesticates, among others, all focus on defining moments of change that may be undetectable in the archaeological record. Perhaps some of the most enduring archaeological questions revolve around the ‘origins of agriculture’. In this paper, we explore changing historical conceptions of the ‘origins of agriculture’ in Southwest Asia in archaeological discourse and how, through the lens of the longue durée, we can trace aspects of material culture, human action, and complex human-landscape dynamics in deep time. Using examples from the Epipalaeolithic of eastern Jordan, we address current debates on Neolithization by exploring the implications of perspectives that focus on ‘becoming’ Neolithic and ‘being’ a hunter-gatherer. Through this perspective we discuss different scales of material culture analysis; from the ‘ethnographic’ lens identifying individual behaviors in the past, to the longue durée of material culture trends. This multi-scalar perspective gives insights into how we construct cultural boundaries and understand change during the ‘origins of agriculture’.
Date: 4/12/2018
Conference Name: Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting

Meat outside the freezer: Drying, smoking, salting and sealing meat in fat at an Epipalaeolithic megasite in eastern Jordan (Article)
Title: Meat outside the freezer: Drying, smoking, salting and sealing meat in fat at an Epipalaeolithic megasite in eastern Jordan
Author: Anna Spyrou
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Author: Louise Martin
Author: Andrew Garrard
Abstract: Even though pivotal for understanding many aspects of human behaviour, preservation and storage of animal resources has not received great attention from archaeologists. One could argue that the main problem lies in the difficulties of demonstrating meat storage archaeologically due to the lack of direct evidence. This paper represents an attempt to refine zooarchaeological methods for the recognition of meat preservation and storage at prehistoric sites. Drawing on the faunal assemblage from Kharaneh IV, an Early/Middle Epipalaeolithic aggregation site in eastern Jordan, this study demonstrates that a combination of taphonomic and contextual analyses alongside ethnographic information may indeed lead archaeologists to insights not directly available from the archaeological record. The empirical evidence presented here contributes to the archaeological visibility of meat preservation and storage, providing a clearer concept of the nature of these practices in preagricultural societies.
Year: 2019
Primary URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2019.02.004
Primary URL Description: Article in Journal of Anthropological Archaeology
Access Model: Subscription Only
Format: Journal
Publisher: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology

Life, death, and the destruction of architecture: hunter-gatherer mortuary behaviors in prehistoric Jordan (Article)
Title: Life, death, and the destruction of architecture: hunter-gatherer mortuary behaviors in prehistoric Jordan
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Author: Emma Pomeroy
Author: Jay T. Stock
Abstract: The end of the Pleistocene in Southwest Asia is widely known for the emergence of socially-complex huntergatherers— the Natufians—characterized by a rich material culture record, including elaborate burials. In comparison, human interments that predate the Natufian are rare. The discovery and excavation of a hut structure at the 20,000-year-old Epipalaeolithic site of Kharaneh IV in eastern Jordan reveals the remains of an adult female intentionally placed in a semi-flexed position on one of the structure’s floors. The structure was burned down shortly after her deposition, extensively charring the human remains. The burying of the dead within structures and the burning of domestic structures are well-known from later Neolithic periods, although their combination as a mortuary practice is rare. However, for the Early Epipalaeolithic, the burning of a structure containing the primary deposition of human remains is novel and signifies an early appearance for the intentional burning of bodies as a mortuary treatment and symbolic behaviors associated with the interrelated life histories of structures and people.
Year: 2021
Primary URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2020.101262
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology
Publisher: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology - Elsevier

Mobile Homes and Persistent Places: An Introduction to Hunter-Gatherer Houses (Book Section)
Title: Mobile Homes and Persistent Places: An Introduction to Hunter-Gatherer Houses
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Author: Brian Andrews
Editor: Brian Andrews
Editor: Danielle A. Macdonald
Abstract: The central role of the architecture for structuring cultural patterns and behaviors is well known for complex sedentary societies. In contrast, hunter-gatherer’s relationship to the built environment, particularly mobile hunter-gatherers, is not often discussed in anthropological or archaeological literature (although see Cuenca-Solana, et al. 2018 and references therein; Maher and Conkey 2019; Milner, et al. 2018; Zubrow, et al. 2010). In contrast to the houses of sedentary peoples, hunter-gatherer houses are often described as ephemeral utilitarian shelters without further investigation into their cultural importance. The papers in this volume seek to reframe the conversation around hunter-gatherer houses through exploration of the diversity of hunter-gatherers’ interaction with the built environment. The papers span broad temporal and cross-cultural ranges to understanding hunter-gatherer houses, exploring the use of architecture across time and space. Through these collected ideas, we hope that readers gain a new understanding of the importance of both ephemeral and persisting architecture for hunter-gatherer communities and cultures. Creating a sense of home is not limited to sedentary communities who construct permanent houses; mobile peoples also have meaningful relationships with architecture and use the built environment to help structure their world view.
Year: 2022
Primary URL: https://search.worldcat.org/title/1287752049
Primary URL Description: Worldcat.org site for the book
Secondary URL: https://upf.com/book.asp?id=9780813069371#
Secondary URL Description: University Press of Florida publisher's website
Access Model: book
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Book Title: More Than Shelter from the Storm: Hunter-Gatherer Houses and the Built Environment
ISBN: 9780813069371

A Space for Living and Dying: The Life-History of Kharaneh IV Structures (Book Section)
Title: A Space for Living and Dying: The Life-History of Kharaneh IV Structures
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Editor: Brian Andrews
Editor: Danielle A. Macdonald
Abstract: The built environment delineates space for daily actions and important moments. Separating the occupants from the external world, walls can create barriers between the outside or can build communities within them. In archaeological literature, the term ‘house’ often describes the architecture of settled peoples, painting visual images of sturdy stone structures dotting the landscape in perpetuity. In part, this image is constructed as the result of archaeological preservation; stone houses have longevity, with foundations and walls standing for thousands of years. In contrast, ephemeral and organic structures such as tents and brush huts are rarely preserved, and thus escape our conceptions of house and home in the past (Maher and Conkey, 2019). Issues of visibility are also intertwined with site function; what is visible archaeologically may be activity areas that do not relate to the domicile, which may be at a different location, and thus not identified in the archaeological record (Briz i Godino et al., 2013, Zubrow et al., 2010). This has led to a bias where mobile peoples are often forgotten in discussions of household archaeology, with a primacy placed on people who build permanent architecture. However, despite our modern biases, hunter-gatherers did (and do) have structures. Furthermore, as recently argued by Maher and Conkey (2019), these structures can convey a sense of ‘home’, a concept usually reserved for sedentary people. Homes are where ‘life happens’, where people interact with each other and with the objects in their lives. Not only are homes loci for ‘life’, they themselves also live, undergoing changes, evolving with the inhabitants, and transitioning through rites of passage (Tringham, 1995). Recent excavations of two structures at Kharaneh IV, an Epipalaeolithic site in Eastern Jordan, provides a window into the lifeways of a hunter-gatherer community by reconstructing the life-history of the structures. These structures are ephemeral brush hut
Year: 2022
Primary URL: http://search.worldcat.org/title/1287752049
Primary URL Description: worldcat.org site for the book
Secondary URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv2t8b7bc
Secondary URL Description: JSTOR entry for the book
Access Model: book
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Book Title: More Than Shelter from the Storm: Hunter-Gatherer Houses and the Built Environment
ISBN: 9780813070186

Diversity in Hunter-Gatherer Architecture (Book Section)
Title: Diversity in Hunter-Gatherer Architecture
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Author: Brian Andrews
Author: Brook Morgan
Editor: Metin Eren
Editor: Briggs Buchanan
Abstract: Diversity in the architecture of sedentary and complex societies is well-studied, but an emphasis on the role of mobility in hunter-gatherer adaptation has resulted in a lack of discussion of the built environment among these communities. Here we take a temporally broad and cross-cultural approach to document variability in archaeologically known hunter-gatherer architecture, focusing on diversity in form and function and the relationship between variability in architectural elements and environmental conditions, subsistence strategies, and social organization.
Year: 2022
Primary URL: https://search.worldcat.org/title/1302333141
Primary URL Description: worldcat.org website entry for the book
Secondary URL: https://www.berghahnbooks.com/title/ErenDefining
Secondary URL Description: Berghahn Books publisher's website
Access Model: subscription
Publisher: Berghahn Books
Book Title: Defining and measuring diversity in archaeology: Another step toward an evolutionary synthesis of culture
ISBN: 9781800734296

The Formation Of Early Neolithic Communities in the Central Zagros: An 11,500 Year-Old Communal Structure at Asiab (Article)
Title: The Formation Of Early Neolithic Communities in the Central Zagros: An 11,500 Year-Old Communal Structure at Asiab
Author: Tobias Richter
Author: Hojjat Darabi
Author: SAJJAD ALIBAIGI
Author: AMAIA ARRANZ-OTAEGUI
Author: PERNILLE BANGSGAARD
Author: SHOKOUH KHOSRAVI
Author: Lisa Maher
Author: PEDER MORTENSEN
Author: PATRICK PEDERSEN
Author: Joe Roe
Author: Lisa Yeomans
Abstract: Communal buildings have been reported from a number of early Neolithic sites from the Levant and Anatolia, but none were known from the central Zagros. Here we report on the recent excavations at Asiab, Kermanshah province, Iran, and argue that the principal feature found during Robert Braidwood’s excavation at the site in 1960 should be interpreted as an example of a communal building. We discuss the results of the previous and recent excavations, highlight the key features of this building, and the implications for our understanding of the early Neolithic in the ‘eastern wing’ of the Fertile Crescent.
Year: 2021
Primary URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/ojoa.12213
Primary URL Description: publisher's website
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Oxford Journal of Archaeology
Publisher: Wiley

Kharaneh IV (2018-2019) (Article)
Title: Kharaneh IV (2018-2019)
Author: Lisa Maher
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Abstract: The site of Kharaneh IV, located in eastern Jordan, was occupied by hunter-gatherers from 18,600 to 19,800 years before present. It was an aggregation site, where hunter-gatherer groups from throughout the region took advantage of lush environmental conditions in the once wetland area, rich in a diverse array of flora and fauna, to congregate repeatedly and for prolonged periods for a variety of economic and social reasons. The unique nature of the deposits, including the presence of several hut structures, highlights the importance of this site for understanding the nature of human behavior prior to the origins of agriculture. From June 15 to July 18, 2019, the Epipalaeolithic Foragers in Azraq Project conducted archaeological excavations at the site of Kharaneh IV, the eighth field season at the site. The goals of the 2019 excavation season were to fully excavate the spaces around several hut structures to understand the relationship between the structures and the surrounding deposits, as well as explore architectural features in previously underexplored sections of this large site.
Year: 2020
Primary URL: https://publications.acorjordan.org/articles/kharaneh-iv-2018-2019/
Primary URL Description: ACOR website with open-access publication
Access Model: Open access
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Archaeology in Jordan
Publisher: American Center of Research (ACOR)

Evaluating the effects of parallax in archaeological geometric morphometric analyses (Article)
Title: Evaluating the effects of parallax in archaeological geometric morphometric analyses
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Author: Kyleigh Royal
Author: Briggs Buchanan
Abstract: Geometric morphometrics is a powerful set of techniques that can be used to visualize and analyze the shape of artifacts. With the growing use of geometric morphometrics in archaeology, it is important to understand and identify limitations in the method. One such limitation is the accumulation of measurement error. Here, we investigate the impact of parallax or the effect of the position of an object in relation to the camera. We designed an experiment to assess the effect of parallax on measurements of artifact morphology by photographing a sample of artifacts at close range (50 cm) and systematically shifting the fixed angle of the camera relative to the artifact in five steps: 90°, 95°, 100°, 105°, and 110°. We took digital images of geometric microliths from three Jordanian Epipalaeolithic sites at each of the camera angles. We then digitized the outline of each artifact using 24 sliding landmarks. Our subsequent analyses of microlith shapes grouped by camera angle show that they are statistically indistinguishable from each other, which suggests that within these parameters, parallax has little effect on geometric morphometric measurements. While taking digital images directly above artifacts is ideal, the angle at which previously published photographs of artifacts is sometimes unknown. Our findings suggest that small deviations of the camera angle (up to 20° from horizontal) will not significantly impact geometric morphometric analyses.
Year: 2020
Primary URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-020-01111-4
Primary URL Description: DOI
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Publisher: Springer

Communities of Interaction: Tradition and Learning in Stone Tool Production Through the Lens of the Epipaleolithic of Kharaneh IV, Jordan (Book Section)
Title: Communities of Interaction: Tradition and Learning in Stone Tool Production Through the Lens of the Epipaleolithic of Kharaneh IV, Jordan
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Author: Danielle A. Macdonald
Editor: Huw Groucutt
Abstract: Between 23 and 11.5 ka Epipaleolithic groups of Southwest Asia initiated and experienced dramatic changes —on a previously unprecedented scale—in economy and settlement, with the appearance of semi-sedentary villages and intensified interdependent relationships with each other and specific plants and animals. These events provide a rare opportunity to study the long-term development of social processes in the region and the increasingly obvious fact that social, economic and technological changes were manifested as complex, entangled and non-linear developments. Most recent attempts to explain change in the material culture record typically highlight the earliest evidence for plant management or cultivation, ritual funerary practices, and dwelling and architecture. While these are important contributions that serve as the foundation for challenging our traditional notions of hunter-gatherer to farmer transitions, they center on changes in the economic or symbolic realms of prehistoric life, arguably downplaying the role of technology. This paper attempts to explore the role of technology in our reconstructions of the lifeways of hunter-gatherers by examining the social role of technology, the centrality of the technological process to everyday practice, and the transmission of technological knowledge (and, thus, culture) through communities of practice. We use chipped stone tools and their associated debris from the site of Kharaneh IV, eastern Jordan, as an illustrative case study of how we currently study chipped stone tools in this region. Using a chaîne opératoire approach to the study of EP assemblages, we consider how different groups of knappers at the EP site of Kharaneh IV, and beyond, interacted in fluid and ever-changing interactions to share knowledge or reinforce existing social traditions.
Year: 2020
Primary URL: https://search.worldcat.org/title/1181840400
Primary URL Description: worldcat.org site for the book
Secondary URL: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-46126-3
Secondary URL Description: Spring publishers site
Access Model: subscription
Publisher: Springer
Book Title: Culture History and Convergent Evolution: Can We Detect Populations in Prehistory?

@kharaneh (Web Resource)
Title: @kharaneh
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Author: Lisa Maher
Abstract: Social media account for project
Year: 2021
Primary URL: https://twitter.com/Kharaneh
Primary URL Description: X (Twitter) account

Kharaneh IV Archaeological Project (Web Resource)
Title: Kharaneh IV Archaeological Project
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Author: Lisa Maher
Abstract: Facebook account for project
Year: 2021
Primary URL: https://www.facebook.com/Kharaneh-IV-Archaeological-Project-1914843865473369/
Primary URL Description: link for facebook page

What did human communities looks like 20,000 years ago? Prehistoric Archaeology as a Career. (Course or Curricular Material)
Title: What did human communities looks like 20,000 years ago? Prehistoric Archaeology as a Career.
Author: Futurum Careers
Author: Lisa Maher
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Abstract: Much of the evidence of past human activities has perished over time – which is why the work of Dr Lisa Maher, at the University of California, and Dr Danielle Macdonald, at the University of Tulsa, in the US, is extremely important. Using artefacts left by humans living 20,000 years ago, they are giving us an insight into how one of the earliest societies lived.
Year: 2022
Primary URL: https://futurumcareers.com/what-did-human-communities-look-like-20000-years-ago
Primary URL Description: Website for Futurum Careers article
Audience: K - 12

Ancient Hunter-Gatherer Seafaring Explorers of Cyprus: Traversing Land and Sea during the Epipalaeolithic (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Ancient Hunter-Gatherer Seafaring Explorers of Cyprus: Traversing Land and Sea during the Epipalaeolithic
Abstract: The past several years has produced convincing evidence for Epipaleolithic (or earlier) occupations of some Mediterranean islands. Yet, conventional wisdom was that most islands were only occupied during the Neolithic or later, and were peripheral to regional cultural developments during prehistory. Cyprus has strong evidence for an Epipaleolithic presence, beginning with the occupation of Akrotiri Aetokremnos at ca. 12,000 B.P., and perhaps earlier, bringing it into the forefront of research on Late Epipalaeolithic hunter-gatherer and Early Neolithic movements and colonization, as well as their associated technological innovations and impacts on shaping newly settled landscapes. Evidence for Epipalaeolithic occupation of Cyprus remains limited, however, with only a handful of sites known and only one chronometrically dated. Here, I highlight discoveries from 2018 and 2019 survey seasons by the Ancient Seafaring Explorers of Cyprus Project (ASEC), which documented several probable Epipaleolithic sites and compare this to what we know about the Epipalaeolithic on the mainland, especially in Jordan.
Author: Lisa Maher
Date: 2/4/2022
Location: University of Toronto, Canada

Persistent Place-Making in Prehistory: The creation, maintenance and transformation of landscapes in Southwest Asia (and Beyond). (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Persistent Place-Making in Prehistory: The creation, maintenance and transformation of landscapes in Southwest Asia (and Beyond).
Abstract: Few cultural developments have been as well-studied as when people began living in villages and producing their own food. Yet in Southwest Asia, during the preceding ten thousand years of prehistory, Epipalaeolithic (23,000-11,500 cal BP) hunter-gatherers initiated and experienced dramatic cultural transformations that included building the earliest permanent houses and villages, storing food, developing a rich and diverse artistic repertoire, establishing wide-ranging social networks, intensifying plant use, domesticating animals, and creating strong ties to specific places in the landscape as evidenced by some of the world’s earliest aggregation sites and cemeteries. These hunter-gatherer groups had highly complex, knowledgeable and dynamic relationships with their local environments. Ongoing work in Jordan and Cyprus is revising our knowledge of these periods with evidence that markers of social complexity have an earlier foundation and challenging our long-held assumptions about how hunter-gatherers here perceived and constructed spaces and places, and the intersections between them. Investigation of human-environment interactions, the role of technological knowledge in creating social networks, the use of large-scale aggregation sites, and symbolic features of human burials, for example, all support a longer chronology of cultural development and continuity and in situ change among hunter-gatherers here that significantly predates the Neolithic. Indeed, it suggests that the features and practices often considered hallmarks of the Neolithic were enacted within a hunter-gatherer world and worldview.
Author: Lisa Maher
Date: 1/24/2022
Location: Queen's University, Canada

Prehistoric Archaeology, Art and Religion: Q & A (Course or Curricular Material)
Title: Prehistoric Archaeology, Art and Religion: Q & A
Author: Lisa Maher
Abstract: Introduction to prehistoric archaeology for Ethics and Religious Culture Program, Grade 8. Rosemount High School, Montreal, QC.
Year: 2021
Audience: K - 12

Leaving Home: The Abandonment of Kharaneh IV (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Leaving Home: The Abandonment of Kharaneh IV
Author: Lisa Maher
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Abstract: For over 1,000 years, the Epipalaeolithic site of Kharaneh IV was a focal point on the landscape for hunter-gatherer groups, acting as an aggregation site for Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic peoples. Located in the eastern desert of Jordan, at the time of occupation the site was a lush wetland surrounded by a rich grassland environment, providing abundant of food and resources for the site’s occupants. However, over time the wetland began to dry up and by 18,600 cal BP Kharaneh IV was abandoned. In this paper we discuss the final occupation of Kharaneh IV, linking the site’s abandonment to increasing aridification of eastern Jordan. Environmental change is linked to social transformations and the eventual collapse of Kharaneh IV as an aggregation locale.
Date: 5/25/2021
Conference Name: Risky Business: Comparative Approaches to Risk and Resilience in Arid Landscapes Workshop

Teaching Geoarchaeology Beyond Anthropogenic Deposits (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Teaching Geoarchaeology Beyond Anthropogenic Deposits
Author: Lisa Maher
Abstract: Discussant for invited forum “Teaching and Training in Geoarchaeology”. Society for American Archaeology
Date: 4/17/2021
Conference Name: Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting (Virtual)

International Obsidian Conference (Conference/Institute/Seminar)
Title: International Obsidian Conference
Author: Luke Johnson
Author: Nicholas Tripcevich
Abstract: Co-Organizer for Annual IOC Conference.
Date Range: 4/30/2022-5/2/2022
Location: Archaeological Research Institute, University of California, Berkeley, CA

Early Epipalaeolithic Artistic Traditions: An incised stone plaquette from Kharaneh IV, eastern Jordan (Book Section)
Title: Early Epipalaeolithic Artistic Traditions: An incised stone plaquette from Kharaneh IV, eastern Jordan
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Author: Lisa Maher
Editor: Y. Elayan
Abstract: Artistic objects are thought to be one of the hallmarks of the Natufian period, marking a florescence of artistic behavior appearing prior to the origins of agriculture. However, with continuing research into Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic sites in the Levant, new discoveries of ‘symbolic’ artifacts are increasing our understanding of even earlier artistic and symbolic pursuits. In this paper we present an engraved plaquette from the Middle Epipalaeolithic context of Kharaneh IV, eastern Jordan. Using imaging confocal microscopy, we analyze manufacturing traces to identify the gestures and tools used to create the plaquette. This artifact, although the only engraved piece recovered from Kharaneh IV thus far, links into wider networks of Epipalaeolithic interaction and cultural exchange. Placing the Kharaneh IV engraved object into regional context with other Early/Middle Epipalaeolithic artistic artifacts, we explore wider networks of interaction prior to the Natufian.
Year: 2022
Publisher: Department of Antiquities of Jordan
Book Title: Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan XIV: Cultures in Crisis: Flows of People, Artifacts and Ideas. Proceedings of the International Conference on the History and Archaeology of Jordan

From Wetlands to Deserts: The Role of Water in the Prehistoric Occupation of Eastern Jordan (Book Section)
Title: From Wetlands to Deserts: The Role of Water in the Prehistoric Occupation of Eastern Jordan
Author: AJ White
Author: Jordan Brown
Author: Felicia De Pena
Author: Christopher Ames
Author: Lisa A. Maher
Editor: Michael Carson
Abstract: In many parts of the Middle East, both in the past and present, sustainable occupation is dependent on highly variable water resources within sensitive local ecosystems. In the Azraq Basin of eastern Jordan, dramatic landscape changes from wetlands to desert resulted in major shifts in settlement and land use over time. Within the last few decades, several springs in the central Azraq Oasis have ceased to flow and the once-rich marshland is drying up, with devastating effects for local communities. Palaeoenvironmental research in the Azraq Basin suggests that, like today, water availability was a crucial factor for past populations. Changing environmental conditions throughout the Pleistocene and Holocene had significant impacts on human population movements and land use. Recent work at the site of Kharaneh IV (19.8–18.6 kya) indicates settlement of this intensively used aggregation site around the end of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; 26.5–19 kya) and abandonment by the start of a second drying period, Heinrich Stadial 1 (HS1; 18–15.5 kya).
Year: 2022
Primary URL: https://search.worldcat.org/title/1262677969
Primary URL Description: worldcat.org site for the book
Secondary URL: https://www.routledge.com/Palaeolandscapes-in-Archaeology-Lessons-for-the-Past-and-Future/Carson/p/book/9780367689056#:~:text=Description,case%20studies%20around%20the%20world.
Secondary URL Description: publisher's website for the book
Access Model: subscription
Publisher: Routledge
Book Title: Palaeolandscapes in Archaeology: Lessons for the Past and Future
ISBN: 9780367689032

More than shelter from the storm: hunter-gatherer houses and the built environment (Book)
Title: More than shelter from the storm: hunter-gatherer houses and the built environment
Editor: Brian Andrews
Editor: Danielle Macdonald
Abstract: The relationship of hunter-gatherer societies to the built environment is often overlooked or characterized as strictly utilitarian in archaeological research. Taking on deeper questions of cultural significance and social inheritance, this volume offers a more robust examination of houses as not only places of shelter but also of memory, history, and social cohesion within these communities. Bringing together case studies from Europe, Asia, and North and South America, More Than Shelter from the Storm utilizes a diverse array of methodologies including radiocarbon dating, geoarchaeology, refitting studies, and material culture studies to reframe the conversation around hunter-gatherer houses. Discussing examples of built structures from the Pleistocene through Late Holocene periods, contributors investigate how these societies created a sense of home through symbolic decoration, ritual, and transformative interaction with the landscape. Demonstrating that meaningful relationships with architecture are not limited to sedentary societies that construct permanent houses, the essays in this volume highlight the complexity of mobile cultures and demonstrate the role of place-making and the built environment in structuring their worldviews.
Year: 2022
Primary URL: https://search.worldcat.org/title/1287752049
Primary URL Description: worldcat.org site
Secondary URL: https://upf.com/book.asp?id=9780813069371
Secondary URL Description: publisher's site
Access Model: book for purchase or library loan
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Type: Edited Volume
ISBN: 9780813070186
Copy sent to NEH?: No

Burning Down the House: Epipalaeolithic Mortuary Behaviors with Links to Architecture in Prehistoric Jordan (Book Section)
Title: Burning Down the House: Epipalaeolithic Mortuary Behaviors with Links to Architecture in Prehistoric Jordan
Author: Lisa Maher
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Editor: Dana Ackerfeld
Editor: Avi Gopher
Abstract: Despite decades of research, human remains from the earliest phases of the Epipalaeolithic period, prior to the Natufian, remain rare. In 2015–2016, the discovery and excavation of a brush hut structure at the 20,000-year‑old site of Kharaneh IV in eastern Jordan revealed the remains of an adult female in a semi‑flexed position within the structure. We suggest here that the burning of the structure after interment of the woman suggests that the wellknown Neolithic mortuary practice of associating individuals with structures and the burning of these structures appeared several millennia earlier than previously known. We detail here the early evidence of the practice of burying the dead in architectural spaces within a settlement at Kharaneh IV and suggest it demonstrates a connection between people and constructed spaces pre-dating commonly accepted notions of ‘permanent’ architecture. The hut structures at Kharaneh IV represent—to‑date—the earliest architecture in Jordan. Detailed microstratigraphic and microartifact analyses of these structures show their maintenance and re-use; the subsequent interment of a person inside a structure may signify the interrelatedness of the end of the life of the structure and the individual buried inside, marked with parallel life histories. This demonstrates that presumably mobile hunter-gatherers had long-term and symbolic connections to constructed spaces since at least 20,000 years ago and highlights the significance of ‘place‑making’ for hunter-gatherers of the past and the archaeological visibility of these places.
Year: 2022
Primary URL: https://www.exoriente.org/bookshop/detail.php?b=00069
Primary URL Description: publisher's website
Secondary URL: https://search.worldcat.org/title/1371807441
Secondary URL Description: worldcat.org site
Access Model: subscription
Publisher: ex Oriente
Book Title: Dealing with the Dead: Studies on Burial Practices in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic Levant
ISBN: 9783944178202

Leaving Home: Technological and Landscape Knowledge as Resilience at Pre-Holocene Kharaneh IV (Article)
Title: Leaving Home: Technological and Landscape Knowledge as Resilience at Pre-Holocene Kharaneh IV
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Author: Lisa Maher
Abstract: Humanity’s relationship with the environment during the Holocene, and into the Anthropocene, is structured around our dependance on agricultural production, which has resulted in risk mitigation strategies that include intensive landscape modifications, among other tactics. However, to understand broader patterns of human resilience and the shifts in human/environment relationships, we need to look further back in time. Through this paper, we explore cultural strategies of risk management and resilience in pre-Holocene communities and how these practices allowed hunter-gatherer communities to adapt to a changing environment. For over 1000 years, the Epipalaeolithic site of Kharaneh IV was a focal point on the landscape for hunter-gatherer groups, acting as an aggregation site for Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic peoples. Located in the eastern desert of Jordan, at the time of occupation the site was a lush wetland surrounded by a rich grassland environment, providing abundant food and other resources for the site’s occupants. However, over time the wetland began to dry up and by 18,600 cal BP Kharaneh IV was abandoned. In this paper, we discuss the final occupation of Kharaneh IV, linking the site’s abandonment to the increasing aridification of eastern Jordan. Environmental change led to the eventual abandonment of Kharaneh IV and other nearby sites, as people relocated within the Azraq Basin in search of new water resources during the Holocene. Flexible technological strategies and knowledge of the landscape created resilient cultural practices that allowed these communities to use population movement as a risk management strategy.
Year: 2022
Primary URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/09596836221121784
Primary URL Description: DIO for article
Access Model: subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Holocene
Publisher: Sage Journals

Assessing Change over Time at Kharaneh IV through the Chaîne Opératoire (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Assessing Change over Time at Kharaneh IV through the Chaîne Opératoire
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Author: Lisa Maher
Author: Theresa Barket
Author: Naomi Martisius
Author: Ahmad Thaher
Abstract: In this presentation, we explore changes in lithic technology at the site Kharaneh IV from the Early to the Middle Epipalaeolithic. Changes in the chaîne opératoire through Epipalaeolithic phases at Kharaneh IV illuminate the different strategies employed by the inhabitants at the site, and when paired with other aspects of the archaeological record, highlight changes in these communities and their adaptations to a dynamic and changing landscape.
Date: 3/30/2023
Conference Name: Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting

Approaches to Lithic Technology: How Archaeological Practice Influences Interpretation of Past Lifeways through the lens of Kharaneh IV (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Approaches to Lithic Technology: How Archaeological Practice Influences Interpretation of Past Lifeways through the lens of Kharaneh IV
Author: Lisa Maher
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Author: Theresa Barket
Author: Naomi Martisius
Author: Ahmad Thaher
Abstract: This paper explores how archaeological practice influences the interpretations of ancient peoples through using examples from Kharaneh IV.
Date: 3/30/2023
Conference Name: Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting

Quantifying Aesthetics: Using Confocal Microscopy for the Analysis of Epipalaeolithic Artistic Objects (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Quantifying Aesthetics: Using Confocal Microscopy for the Analysis of Epipalaeolithic Artistic Objects
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Author: Lisa Maher
Abstract: Continuing research into Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic sites has revealed a wealth of artistic and ‘symbolic’ artifacts, increasing our understanding of early artistic pursuits in the Levant. This paper presents the ‘symbolic’ artifacts from Kharaneh IV, eastern Jordan, with a focus on an engraved plaquette from the Middle Epipalaeolithic occupation at the site. Using white-light confocal microscopy, manufacturing traces are analyzed to identify the gestures and tools used to create the plaquette, highlighting how quantitative microscopy can contribute to our understanding of non-utilitarian objects. This artifact, along with other symbolic artifacts from Kharaneh IV, link into wider networks of Epipalaeolithic interaction and cultural exchange across the region. Placing the Kharaneh IV ‘symbolic’ objects into regional context with other Early/Middle Epipalaeolithic artistic artifacts, we explore wider networks of cultural interaction.
Date: 10/18/2022
Conference Name: 10th International Conference of the Chipped and Ground Stone Industries of the Near East

It’s All Going According to Plan: An Investigation of the Chaîne Opératoire of Kharaneh IV (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: It’s All Going According to Plan: An Investigation of the Chaîne Opératoire of Kharaneh IV
Author: Lisa Maher
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Author: Felicia De Pena
Author: Theresa Barket
Author: Ahmad Thaher
Abstract: The multi-component Epipalaeolithic site of Kharaneh IV, located in the Azraq Basin of eastern Jordan, documents just over 1000 years of occupation by hunter-gatherer groups during the end of the Last Glacial Maximum. Multiple lines of geomorphological, faunal, and archaeobotanical evidence indicate that the environs around the site were well-watered, lushly vegetated, and rich in a wide variety of animal species, clearly drawing human populations to the area. Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic groups congregated repeatedly and for prolonged periods in this verdant landscape, perhaps coming as far as the Mediterranean and Red Seas. Focusing on lithic technology, we explore some of the strategies of these eastern Jordanian groups that resulted in particular patterns of settlement, subsistence and interaction, including the re-occupation of Kharaneh IV. This paper will discuss changes in lithic technology at the site from the Early to the Middle Epipalaeolithic. These changes will be examined through the conceptual framework of the chaîne opératoire; where the entire production, use and discard sequence is considered as integral to understanding how stone tools were developed and maintained at such a unique aggregation site. Changes in the chaîne opératoire from the Early to the Middle Epipalaeolithic illuminate the different strategies employed by the inhabitants of Kharaneh IV, and when paired with other aspects of material culture, highlight changes in these communities over time and their adaptations to a dynamic landscape unlike that of today.
Date: 08/3/2022
Conference Name: 15th International conference on History and Archaeology of Jordan

Top-notch bone implements: exploring the technology and symbolism of incised bones at the Epipalaeolithic site, Kharaneh IV (Jordan) (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Top-notch bone implements: exploring the technology and symbolism of incised bones at the Epipalaeolithic site, Kharaneh IV (Jordan)
Author: Naomi Martisius
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Author: Lisa Maher
Abstract: Hunter-gatherer aggregation and interaction during the Late Pleistocene highlight the complexities of movement and community prior to sedentism. At the Epipalaeolithic site of Kharaneh IV in the Azraq basin of eastern Jordan, there is evidence for intensive occupation across multiple strata with a wide diversity of material culture including quotidian objects like lithics and unique cultural items such as engraved stone ‘art’ and shell beads, indicating that hunter-gatherers returned to this location over thousands of years. Environmental reconstructions show that the area was a lush wetland supporting diverse flora and fauna immediately available to the human inhabitants. While gazelle appears to have been the predominant prey, faunal remains from aurochs, horse, fox, tortoise, hare, and various bird species indicate a diverse diet. Among the faunal remains are a number of enigmatic bone objects, which are found across the Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic occupations (c. 24,000–15,000 cal BP). These modified bone ‘tools’ exhibit series of patterned notches, incised into diverse modified and unmodified skeletal elements from taxa such as gazelle and aurochs. Previous excavations at Kharaneh IV as well as Jiita II and Ohalo II, other Epipalaeolithic sites in southwest Asia, have produced similarly incised bone objects. Earlier Paleolithic deposits in Eurasia and Africa with incised artifacts have been interpreted as hunting tallies, calendars, notation devices, or artistic expression, among other possible uses, however, the cultural function of the Epipalaeolithic items is unknown. To further explore the Kharaneh IV bone objects, we present the results of microwear analysis using light-microscopy and confocal microscopy to both image and measure the manufacturing traces used to make the notches. Identifying patterns in notching, we ask whether these objects were notational devices, potentially linked to trace movements, interactions, or events at Kharaneh IV.
Date: 04/06/2022
Conference Name: Association of Archaeological Wear and Residue Analysts (AWRANA) Conference

Identification of Kharaneh IV Bone Tool Use through Tip Breakage (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Identification of Kharaneh IV Bone Tool Use through Tip Breakage
Author: Hilda Torres
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Author: Lisa Maher
Abstract: The Early-Middle Epipaleolithic site Kharaneh IV, located in the Azraq Basin of eastern Jordan, has a wealth of material culture, including lithics, bone tools, and perforated shells. The plethora of the objects at the site, as well as the variability, suggests that Kharaneh IV may have functioned as an aggregation locale during occupation for hunter-gatherers in the region. In this study, we explore the chaîne opératoire of the pointed bone tools from the site, reconstructing the biographies of these objects, beginning with the choice of raw materials, to their use, and eventual discard. The pointed bone tools from Kharaneh IV analyzed in this study are made from a variety of elements, including the metapodials and ribs of gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa). Building from the raw material, stereo- and reflected-light microscopy was used to identify and interpret the manufacturing and use traces on the bone tools, comparing the traces among the faunal morphological categories. Manufacturing traces include marks from cleaning, splitting, and scraping bones, with evidence of striations, grooves, and polish, while the morphology of the fractures on the bone tool tips was examined to determine tool function. The bone tools were separated into four categories for the analysis which included tools made on distal metapodials, proximal metapodials, ribs, and unidentifiable elements. The use-wear conducted on the bone tools showed that distal metapodials have traces of piercing soft material, whereas the proximal metapodials were used for drilling, ribs for piercing soft materials, and the unidentifiable category of tools had traces related to drilling or piercing. Through reconstructing the chaîne opératoire of pointed bone tools at Kharaneh IV, this research shows that the people of Kharaneh IV were deliberately creating specialized bones tools, designed for specific and predetermined functions.
Date: 04/06/2022
Conference Name: Association of Archaeological Wear and Residue Analysts (AWRANA) Conference

Epipalaeolithic “Cultures”: Using variability to explore hunter-gatherer communities in the past (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Epipalaeolithic “Cultures”: Using variability to explore hunter-gatherer communities in the past
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Author: Lisa Maher
Abstract: In archaeological practice, cultures are usually defined by representative material ‘types’, whether it is a handaxe, a Levallois point, or a geometric microlith. However, the range of allowable variability within these types is often debated; how much variation is allowed before a new type must be defined? These debates factor strongly into Levantine Epipalaeolithic research, where the morphological variability of microlithic tools has been interpreted to represent distinct cultural or ethnic communities. This poster addresses lithic variability during the Middle Epipalaeolithic through the analysis of several Jordanian lithic assemblages. Although regionally disparate, the lithic assemblages from these hunter-gatherer sites are characterized by the same geometric microlith type: the trapeze-rectangle. The integration of typological, technological, and geometric morphometric analyses allows for the subtleties in material culture to be explored among these sites, exploring whether the variability we see in material culture is reflective of communities in the past.
Date: 04/01/2022
Conference Name: Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting

Notching bone in the Epipalaeolithic: a case study from Kharaneh IV tools (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Notching bone in the Epipalaeolithic: a case study from Kharaneh IV tools
Author: Naomi Martisius
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Author: Lisa Maher
Abstract: Hunter-gatherer aggregation and interaction during the Late Pleistocene highlights the complexities of movement and community prior to the sedentism. At the Epipalaeolithic site of Kharaneh IV, Jordan, there is evidence for intensive occupation with a wide diversity of material culture including quotidian objects like lithics and faunal remains, as well as unique cultural items such as engraved stone ‘art’ and shell beads. In this paper we explore a set of enigmatic bone objects from the Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic occupations at Kharaneh IV. These modified bone ‘tools’ exhibit series of patterned notches, incised into both modified and unmodified animal bone. Similar objects from Upper Paleolithic in Europe have been interpreted as notation devices or artistic expression, however the cultural function of these items during the Epipalaeolithic is unknown. To further explore these bone objects, we present the results of microwear analysis using light-microscopy and confocal microscopy to both image and measure the manufacturing traces used to make the notches. Identifying patterns in notching, we ask whether these objects were notational devices, potentially linked to tracing movements, interactions, or events at the aggregation site of Kharaneh IV, or served other cultural purposes.
Date: 04/01/2022
Conference Name: Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting

It’s All Going According to Plan: An investigation of the chaîne opératoire of Kharaneh IV (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: It’s All Going According to Plan: An investigation of the chaîne opératoire of Kharaneh IV
Abstract: The multi-component Epipalaeolithic site of Kharaneh IV, located in the Azraq Basin of eastern Jordan, documents just over 1000 years of occupation by hunter-gatherer groups during the end of the Last Glacial Maximum. Multiple lines of geomorphological, faunal, and archaeobotanical evidence indicate that the environs around the site were well-watered, lushly vegetated, and rich in a wide variety of animal species, clearly drawing human populations to the area. Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic groups congregated repeatedly and for prolonged periods in this verdant landscape, perhaps coming as far as the Mediterranean and Red Seas. Focusing on lithic technology, we explore some of the strategies of these eastern Jordanian groups that resulted in particular patterns of settlement, subsistence and interaction, including the re-occupation of Kharaneh IV. This paper will discuss changes in lithic technology at the site from the Early to the Middle Epipalaeolithic. These changes will be examined through the conceptual framework of the chaîne opératoire; where the entire production, use and discard sequence is considered as integral to understanding how stone tools were developed and maintained at such a unique aggregation site. Changes in the chaîne opératoire from the Early to the Middle Epipalaeolithic illuminate the different strategies employed by the inhabitants of Kharaneh IV, and when paired with other aspects of material culture, highlight changes in these communities over time and their adaptations to a dynamic landscape unlike that of today.
Author: Lisa Maher
Date: 09/07/2022
Location: Archaeological Research Facility Seminar Series, UC Berkeley
Primary URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K9e4PGkSQU&t=1477s

One Person’s Waste is an Archaeologist’s Treasure: Using Techno-Typological Analysis of Debitage for Epipalaeolithic Assemblages (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: One Person’s Waste is an Archaeologist’s Treasure: Using Techno-Typological Analysis of Debitage for Epipalaeolithic Assemblages
Author: Theresa Barket
Author: Lisa Maher
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Abstract: The Epipalaeolithic period in SW Asia, is distinguished from the preceding Upper Palaeolithic in the archaeological record by the preponderance of microlithic tool industries. It extends from the end of the Upper Paleolithic around 23 ka BP to the beginnings of the Neolithic period around 11.5 ka BP. This long span of time encompasses the transition from more dispersed hunter-gatherer groups to the beginnings of domestication and more settled living. Although the material record used to reconstruct our understanding of this time includes much more than just flaked stone tools, the lithic record remains the most abundant source of information for reconstructing the many changes in settlement, subsistence, and social organization that occurred throughout the Epipaleolithic. Given the importance of flaked stone tool industries in our reconstruction of the past, the approach taken for analysis is fundamental to our ability to compare assemblages and interpret the patterns we see in the lithic record, and therefore, it warrants periodic revisiting and updating.
Date: 04/01/2023

Lessons from Southwest Asia: Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherer Landscapes, Sustainability, and Transitions to Food Production (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Lessons from Southwest Asia: Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherer Landscapes, Sustainability, and Transitions to Food Production
Author: Lisa Maher
Abstract: Since the end of the Pleistocene and, especially with the development of agriculturally-based societies, humans have had cumulative and often irreversible impacts on natural landscapes and biotic resources worldwide. Considering the increasing archaeological evidence for these long-term changes, it is apparent that our current climate change and biodiversity crises are not exclusively developments of the industrial and post-industrial world. Through the lens of the prehistoric record of hunter-gatherers and early agriculturists of Southwest Asia, here I explore how these groups created and transformed their landscapes, in interrelated physical and social ways. Case studies from Jordan and Cyprus, in particular, illuminate the value of frameworks of transported landscapes and landscape learning in considering how these hunter-gatherers and early farmers engaged with the world around them. The lessons drawn from these archaeological examples can provide insights relevant to paleoenvironmental reconstructions writ large and allow us to draw connections between distant places and times to unravel the broad trends of human ecodynamics over the past 20,000 years.
Date: 04/04/2022

Taking it Up a Notch: Epipalaeolithic Bone Notching at Kharaneh IV, Jordan (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Taking it Up a Notch: Epipalaeolithic Bone Notching at Kharaneh IV, Jordan
Author: Naomi Martisius
Author: Lisa Maher
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Abstract: Discussion of the results of analysis of Kharaneh IV's bone tool assemblage.
Date: 04/03/2022

2018 Excavations at the Epipalaeolithic Site of Kharaneh IV (Article)
Title: 2018 Excavations at the Epipalaeolithic Site of Kharaneh IV
Author: Danielle Macdonald
Abstract: From 9 June to 12 July 2018, the Epipalaeolithic Foragers of al-Azraq Project (EFAP [University of California, Berkeley and University of Tulsa]) conducted excavations at the Epipalaeolithic site of al-Kharrānah IV. The 2018 excavation at al-Kharrānah IV is the seventh field season at the site, focused on exploring the nature of prehistoric (Late Pleistocene) occupation of al-Kharrānah IV. During this season we completed excavation of an Early Epipalaeolithic hut structure (Structure 2) discovered in the 2010 season. The goal of the 2018 excavation season was to fully excavate Structure 2 in order to understand the distribution of artifacts within the structure and the relationship between the structure and the surrounding deposits. This year’s excavations have prepared us for targeting specific new areas for work, namely continuing to excavate several hut features during future field seasons.
Year: 2022
Primary URL: https://publication.doa.gov.jo/Browse/1
Access Model: subscription only
Format: Journal
Publisher: Department of Antiquities of Jordan

Landscapes of the past: Creation of persistent places in hunter-gatherer landscapes of Southwest Asia and Japan (Article)
Title: Landscapes of the past: Creation of persistent places in hunter-gatherer landscapes of Southwest Asia and Japan
Author: Lisa Maher
Abstract: The archaeology of hunter-gatherers has much to tell us about how humans engaged with the world around them in complex and knowledgeable ways throughout prehistory. The advent of agriculture, often seen as a monolithic and monumentally new way of life, is used as a cultural and chronological marker for when humans began to have notable and lasting impacts on the environment. Some archaeologists suggest that the far-reaching and widespread effects of farming on local habitats, from landscape clearance to the domestication of plants and animals, should mark the beginning of the Anthropocene. Here, I explore some of the ways that we can approach and detect human-environment dynamics among prehistoric hunter-gatherers, using case studies from Southwest Asia and Japan, to explore the transformation of landscapes into social places that a) represent an early expression of behaviors thought to be novel to or typify a ‘Neolithic way of life’ and b) have remained detectable in the archaeological record for the last 20 000 years. These landscape practices highlight that the focus on ‘Neolithization’ is somewhat misleading as they were enacted within a hunter-gatherer world and worldview.
Year: 2021
Primary URL: https://www.jjarchaeology.jp/contents/archives/jja_2020_02.html
Access Model: open access
Format: Journal
Publisher: Journal of Japanese Archaeology