Conference Paper

The end of the PPNA in southern Jordan: Insights from a preliminary analysis of chipped stone from WF16


Research on the PPNA of southern Jordan at WF16 suggests that a distinct Late PPNA phase develops at this site. It is visible in changes in lithic assemblages and architecture. Similar changes appear to occur at other sites in southern Jordan dated late in the PPNA. At WF16, the one site that appears to be occupied throughout the PPNA, the chipped stone assemblage appears to evolve during the later stages of the occupation, confirming that the process of transition is locally derived. The main features of the transition visible in the chipped stone at WF16 are a technological change, with an increasing focus on blade manufacture, and some evidence for the development of a bi-directional knapping strategy, and a change in typology. The earlier PPNA material contains both microliths and el-Khiam points. By the Late PPNA both artefact types have completely disappeared from the assemblage. While the difference between early and Late PPNA assemblages are clear, part of the evidence for a local transition is the presence of an assemblage that is intermediary in character, and always stratified between the early and late material. The chipped stone from WF16 has never supported the division of the southern Levantine PPNA into a short Khiamian followed by a long Sultanian phase that is associated with the development of sedentism. At WF16, the early phase appears to encompass the greater part of the PPNA, and to be associated with architecture from its outset, while the Late phase is a relatively short lived. The chipped stone from this Late PPNA phase is sufficiently similar to the preceding PPNA, and dissimilar to the EPPNB elsewhere to continue to describe it as form of PPN. Some of the distinctive traits of this phase, especially in blade production, parallel EPPNB developments elsewhere, and indicate that the southern Jordanian trajectory does not occur in isolation, but is informed by wider processes. We argue that this Late PPNA develops, with influences from elsewhere in the Levant, in particular the incorporation of Naviform technology, into the distinctive MPPNB of southern Jordan and that very early MPPNB dates from Beidha and Shkarat Msaiad support this local trajectory.

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Smith Sam
Finlayson Bill
Mithen Steven

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Social Sciences


Year of publication: 2019
Date of RADAR deposit: 2019-08-01

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Related resources

This RADAR resource is Part of Near eastern lithic technologies on the move : Interactions and contexts in neolithic traditions [ISBN: 9789925745531] / edited by Laurence Astruc, Carole McCartney, François Briois and Vasiliki Kassianidou.


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