El Wad - trading evidence?

Prehistoric inhabitants of the Levant carved giant mortars out of the local bedrock, but the pestles at El Wad turn out to be volcanic rock that didn’t exist on Mount Carmel

Quaffing and hunting aside, one of the hallmarks of Natufian culture was giant mortars. Some were stand-alone specimens that could be moved around, but most were fixed in place, carved out of the dolomite bedrock of the region. That's how we know what rock the giant mortars were made of, and when they were carved out of the local bedrock.

The pestles, however, are another story. It was clear they were made of volcanic basalt, but where was the rock sourced from? This is mainly of interest for the light it could shed on Natufian mobility and social mores.

Having elucidated that the pestles originated from 60 to 120 kilometers away from the terrace, the next question was how the horseless and wheel-less Natufians obtained the source material.

The team postulates two models: the "exchange obtaining model" and the "direct procurement model." Did the Natufians living on the terrace actually go that far afield personally and obtain the rock, worked it in situ and brought home pestles, or was the rock traded along a chain? Of course, they point out, both could have applied.


Images from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nahal_Me%27arot_Nature_Reserve
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