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La parure du Natoufien ancien en contexte funéraire : reconstitution des chaînes opératoires à Mallaha (Eynan), Israël

Abstract : At the end of the Levantine Epipaleolithic, at the beginning of the Natufian culture (14 900-13 700 BP cal.), some hunter-gatherer communities settle down. The formation of the first hamlets testifies to a new organization of the inhabited space that integrates the population of the deceased. The artistic representations and the personal ornaments appear in exceptional quantity and diversity on the scale of the Prehistory of the Levant. In some hamlets, part of the buried population was buried with personal ornaments but these assemblages have rarely been studied and sometimes even never inventoried. However, the personal ornaments discovered in funerary context could deliver important information on the organization of Natufian society and the role played by individuals. The objective of this work was thus to reveal the informative potential of the Natufian personal ornaments. To do this, we favored an approach not based on the interpretation of personal ornaments as a marker of a funeral practice but rather on its use in this closed set in time and the space that is the grave. The research, based on the interpretive framework initiated by M. Vanhaeren and F. d'Errico and an analytical approach adapted to the study of the ornaments in different raw materials (shell, bone) that we have developed, consists in the study of elements of ornaments associated with a primary burial because they offer a snapshot of the materials and techniques used at a certain time in the production of ornaments. Through a multi-disciplinary network of inferences from taphonomy, archaeozoology, technology and traceology, the “chaîne opératoire” is reconstructed to discover the behaviors involved in the acquisition, manufacture and use of various elements used in the ornaments. This approach makes it possible to reach the stages of the social life of the ornaments and to address the question of their role in the Natufian society. We thus studied the personal ornaments (1909 elements) associated with twelve early Natufian burials in the hamlet of Mallaha and compared the results with the elements discovered in the household layers of Mallaha and in the contemporary burials discovered elsewhere (el-Wad and Hayonim). These analyzes made it possible to highlight, for the first time, the individual “chaînes opératoires” of Natufian ornaments. Beyond the general principles of the functioning of the ornament on the scale of a Natufian group, it was possible to show, for the first time, the differences that exist between several social units within the group. These differences tend to indicate that some of the inhabitants of Mallaha wanted to distinguish themselves from others and express the peculiarity of their social status through its ornamental tradition.
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Laurent Davin. La parure du Natoufien ancien en contexte funéraire : reconstitution des chaînes opératoires à Mallaha (Eynan), Israël. Archéologie et Préhistoire. Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019PA01H046⟩. ⟨tel-02932302⟩

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