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, 106 (27), 10966-70

Evidence for Food Storage and Predomestication Granaries 11,000 Years Ago in the Jordan Valley

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Evidence for Food Storage and Predomestication Granaries 11,000 Years Ago in the Jordan Valley

Ian Kuijt et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.

Abstract

Food storage is a vital component in the economic and social package that comprises the Neolithic, contributing to plant domestication, increasingly sedentary lifestyles, and new social organizations. Recent excavations at Dhra' near the Dead Sea in Jordan provide strong evidence for sophisticated, purpose-built granaries in a predomestication context approximately 11,300-11,175 cal B.P., which support recent arguments for the deliberate cultivation of wild cereals at this time. Designed with suspended floors for air circulation and protection from rodents, they are located between residential structures that contain plant-processing instillations. The granaries represent a critical evolutionary shift in the relationship between people and plant foods, which precedes the emergence of domestication and large-scale sedentary communities by at least 1,000 years.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
The location of the prepottery Neolithic A site of Dhra′, other sites with granaries, and other significant sites from this period.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.
Structure 4, phase 1, Dhra′, Jordan looking north. The outer walls of the structure, which was constructed ≈11,300–11,200 B.P., are defined by a partially preserved mud wall. Inside the structure are used grinding stones in upright position that have been notched to hold wooden beams. With the exception of the back row, where the beams would have run from west to east, the other support beams would have run north to south and been bonded into the mud wall.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.
Structure 4, phase 1, Dhra′, showing the likely placement of major floor beams to hold up the suspended floor.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.
Interpretive reconstruction of Structure 4, phase 1, Dhra′, Jordan. The exposed area illustrates the upright stones supporting larger beams, with smaller wood and reeds above, and finally covered by a thick coating of mud. The suspended floor sloped at 7° and served to protect stored foods from high levels of moisture and rodents (Illustration by E. Carlson).
Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.
Life-history of Structure 4 granary Dhra′, Jordan. This illustration shows the cyclical process of construction, use, and abandonment over several hundred years (Illustration by E. Carlson).

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