RELIGION AND MATERIAL CULTURE Studying

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Religion and Material Culture: Studying Religion and Religious Elements on the Basis of .... aspects of religion manifest in a material way are its symbols, rituals ...

RELIGION AND MATERIAL CULTURE Studying Religion and Religious Elements on the Basis of Objects, Architecture, and Space Proceedings of  an International Conference held at the Centre for Bible and Cultural Memory (BiCuM), University of  Copenhagen and the National Museum of  Denmark, Copenhagen, May 6-8, 2011 Edited by Lisbeth Bredholt Christensen and Jesper Tae Jensen

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© 2017, Brepols Publishers n.v., Turnhout, Belgium.

All rights reserved. No part of  this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission of  the publisher.

D/2017/0095/103 ISBN 978-2-503-56900-0 Printed on acid-free paper.

CONTENTS

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LIST OF  FIGURES

Lisbeth Bredholt Christensen and Jesper Tae Jensen Preface

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Lisbeth Bredholt Christensen and Jesper Tae Jensen Introduction

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METHODOLOGY Lisbeth Bredholt Christensen Between Mental and Material: Looking for the Origins of Religion in Archaeological Material

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Morten Warmind What is a God?

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David A. Warburton The Importance of  the Origins of  Abstraction and Discourse

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ARCHAEOLOGY Emmanuel Anati Prehistoric Art and Religion

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Marion Benz Making the Invisible Visible: Steps Towards a Ritualized Corporate Identity

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CONTENTS

Bo Dahl Hermansen Death, Feasting, and Memory Culture at Early Neolithic Shkārat Msaied, Southern Jordan Flemming Kaul The Shape of the Divine Powers in Nordic Bronze Age Mythology Mads Kähler Holst At the Scene of   Cosmology Construction: The Religious Effects of  Barrow Building in the Nordic Bronze Age Klavs Randsborg Kivig – Kivik: A Bronze Age Collage

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TEXT Izaak J. de Hulster Religion, Pictoriality and Materiality: A Hebrew Bible Perspective Trine Bjørnung Hasselbalch Matter and Meaning in  the Dead Sea Scrolls: Reading the Genesis Apocryphon as a Palimpsest Lars Östman Language and Materiality: Stolpersteine in  Light of   Roman Archaic Religion

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INDEX

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CONTRIBUTORS

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MARION BENZ*

MAKING THE INVISIBLE VISIBLE: STEPS TOWARDS A RITUALIZED CORPORATE IDENTITY

Introduction Many distinguished scholars have tried to  reconstruct changes in  early Neolithic religion and ideology in  order to  explain the transition from foraging to  farming.1 Trevor Watkins, citing the works of  Jacques Cauvin, Anthony Cohen, and Merlin Donald, even suggested that at the beginning of  the Neolithic there was a  major step in  the evolution of   mental capacities for storing information externally by the use of   symbolic devices.2 Recent excavations at Göbekli Tepe, Wadi Faynan, and other ritual sites seem to  underline the importance of   rituals and communality during this transitional period.3 But many attempts to interpret * I am very thankful to Lisbeth Bredholt Christensen and Jesper Tae Jensen for the invitation to the conference and for the opportunity to contribute to this interesting volume. This article represents the version which was handed in September 2011, with only minor revisions where new archaeological data required an up-date. Many thanks are due to Craig Crossen for his thoughtful editing and to Moritz Kinzel and Lee Clare for their invaluable criticism. Large part of the research for this contribution was done during a two-year research project at the University of Freiburg. I  am grateful to Marlies Heinz, head of the Department, for her support. I  am also indebted to the BadenWürttemberg Stiftung for the financial support of this research project by the Elite-programme for Postdocs. 1 For example Cauvin, Naissance des Divinités – Naissance de l’Agriculture; Hodder, The Domestication of  Europe. 2 Watkins, ‘Changing People, Changing Environments’, pp.  106–14 (esp. pp. 110–11). 3 Schmidt, Sie bauten die ersten Tempel; Finlayson and others, ‘Architecture, Sedentism, and Social Complexity at Pre Pottery Neolithic A WF16, Southern Jordan’, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1017642108; Güler and others, Religion and Material Culture: Studying Religion and Religious Elements on  the Basis of   Objects, Architecture, and Space, ed.  by L. Bredholt Christensen, J. Tae Jensen, Turnhout, 2017 (ASH, 3), pp. 121–167 © FHG DOI 10.1484/M.ASH-EB.5.114430

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the mythological content of   the symbolic traditions run the risk of projecting modern or  rather pre-modern concepts onto early Holocene societies. I hope to avoid this by focusing on two neglected aspects of  the symbolic material remains: mediality and the emotions evoked by the symbolism. The title of   my contribution, ‘Making the Invisible Visible’, has two meanings. The first is methodological: I will show how we can gain more information from the material culture by focusing on the mediality by which symbols4 were presented in public, and on the emotional reactions these symbols probably brought about. There are basic anthropological patterns that make such interpretations possible despite culturally determined differences. These two features implicit in  the material remains will help us understand social and psychological processes not directly observable in the archaeological record. The second is empirical. Here, I will focus on the phenomenon of the increase of   symbolic representations during the early Holocene in the Near East and argue that the so-called ‘revolution of symbols’ (Cauvin) was above all a  revolution in  mediality. With increased sedentarism it became necessary to  make a  corporate identity5 visible and thereby manifest it in some concrete manner. This does not mean that symbols had not previously existed, but that they had earlier been fixed on  bodies, wood, or  other perishable materials. Until this time it had not been considered necessary to  enhance social commitment by means of a fixed repertoire of symbols engraved for ‘eternity’ on durable objects. ‘New Pre-Pottery Neolithic Sites and Cult Centres in  the Urfa Region’, pp. 292–97. 4 The definition of  ‘symbol’ varies widely, see e.g. Bader, ‘Was ist eigentlich ein Symbol?’; Wagoner, ‘Introduction’, pp.  1–15 (esp. pp.  13–14). I  will use Wagoner’s basic idea of  a symbol as something that ‘is used to represent another’, wherein the main aspect of   the symbol is  person-centred. A  symbol can only exist when at least two people have a  convergent opinion about its meaning. The characteristics of  the represented can, but need not, be inherent in the symbol itself. Anything (persons, objects, actions, space, etc.) can be turned into a symbol. 5 The concept of   Neolithic corporate identities was elaborated during a workshop at the 9th ICAANE in 2014, at Basle, see Neolithic Corporate Identities, ed. by Benz and others.

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Definitions If we wish to learn more about how material culture might have triggered the development of  religion during the early Neolithic, it is necessary to give some definitions. For conventional reasons I  will continue using the terms Pre-Pottery Neolithic A and B, even if it has been shown that the early Holocene cultures of the Middle and Upper Euphrates-Tigris region have their own cultural characteristics. PPNA does not necessarily imply any domestication of  plants and animals: in a strict biological sense, the term Neolithic would thus be misleading. But if we understand Neolithisation as  a  long process of   increasing commodification, as has recently been convincingly argued,6 it is possible to retain the terminus Pre-Pottery Neolithic. The second expression requiring a  definition is  mediality. ‘Media’ is a term reserved in the social sciences for the modern mass media. However, ‘mediality’ concerns not only the characteristics of a medium itself through which information is communicated to a  public, but it also includes the relationship of   the people to a  medium, and the context in  which a  certain medium can be used.7

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Gebel, ‘Commodification and the Formation of   Early Neolithic Social Identity. The Issues as Seen from the Southern Jordanian Highlands’, pp. 35–80. 7 The discussion on  the influences of   different media on  the human construction of  reality has been going on for more than 2500 years. This everexpanding debate is  beyond the scope of   the present paper. Most important for our analysis is  the often-quoted statement of   Marshall McLuhan: ‘medium is the message’ (cited in  Sale, ‘Do Media Determine Our Situation? Kittler’s Application of Information Theory to  the Humanity’, pp.  136–48, esp. p.  140). Although mediality is  only one way in  which communication (which includes symbolic behaviour and therefore world making) is  influenced, it is  clearly visible in  the archaeological record. Other important influences on  communication, such as  discourse networks, are very difficult to  reconstruct without written sources and require precise information on  who used which media and symbols, and what these symbols meant in  different contexts. Such a  contextual analysis would be desirable, but the requisite data are not systematically available in  the strictly material record of   prehistoric Near Eastern communities For an overview and some critiques on  communication theory and mediality, see Eliassen, ‘Remarks on  the Historicity of   the Media Concept’, pp. 119–35; Neumann and Zierold, ‘Media as Ways of  Worldmaking’, pp. 103–18.

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The third term under consideration is  much more difficult to define, namely religion. I will not venture to review all the different definitions given by more qualified specialists in religious research but simply focus on  some aspects of   the recent definition of   religion given by Lisbeth Bredholt Christensen, which might be of  relevance for the interpretation of  Neolithic material remains. She pointed out that: ‘Religion’ […] can be said to  consist of   a system of symbols, where something is  being said in  myths and acted out in rituals that pertains to the moral order and cosmological structure of the world, as sanctioned or determined by transcendent powers. […] religion involves an institutional aspect: morals, dogma, hierarchy. Supernatural powers are often gods. They inhabit the ‘other world’. Our knowledge of the supernatural powers and the cosmological system comes primarily from myths and visions from authorities. Communication with powers takes place via rituals. Rituals function symbolically.8

From the point of   view of   this definition of   religion, the only aspects of   religion manifest in  a  material way are its symbols, rituals, authorities/hierarchies, modes of   communication, and institutions. All of  its other features are invisible or intangible. Another perhaps implicit point (‘dogma’) in  this definition is the relation of   religion to  time: one of   the characteristics of communities based on a common ideology is their creation of  a foundation myth describing their formation, and prophesying their future prosperity. In such myths, past, present, and future are blurred into one ‘eternity’, giving the sense of  stability despite personal and political mutability. This illusion of   stability is visualized and enhanced by a fixed code of  symbols, rituals, and standards in how to use space.9

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Bredholt Christensen, ‘ “Spirituality” and “religion” – Meaning and Origin’, pp. 23–31 (esp. p. 24) (italics by author). 9 Halbwachs pointed to this important aspect of  religion (Wetzel, Maurice Halbwachs, p. 82). The creation and (ab-)use of  ‘history’ by ideologically based communities would deserve its own book and cannot be elaborated here (see Benz, ‘ “Little Poor Babies” – Creation of   History Through Death at the Transition from Foraging to Farming’, pp. 169–82.

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I will therefore begin my analysis by examining the various symbolic and ritual archaeological remains. I will consider three types of  symbols: 1. Constructed symbols, here focussing on  communal buildings, because the analysis of  domestic buildings as  symbolic devices is fraught with difficulties 2. Ritual symbols. Rituals are symbols in action. Normally every step of  a ritual is fixed, loaded with meaning, and has the purpose of  making invisible things visible 3. The displayed symbols used during the beginning of  the Holocene

Methodology The analysis of  these three types of  symbols will not focus on the iconography and meaning of  the representations. Many researchers have tried to determine the meaning, or idea, behind a symbol. But when attempting to do so, we risk projecting modern or ancient literary concepts on prehistoric material, especially because written sources are not available to guide us. As research on symbols has shown, there are many hurdles that must be cleared. The idea that the meaning of  a symbol depends on its context is, of  course, not new.10 But I would like to point out that symbols are also intersubjective: 11 not only does every individual perceive each symbol in a different way – which is in fact one of  the strengths of  symbols 12 – but symbols principally gain their strength from their effect on  people. And this effect can be quite different depending on  the context, on  the mood, and on  who communicates the symbol to  whom. Therefore the idea and the meaning, behind our symbolic actions do not only depend on  personal perception, cultural conventions, and experiences, but they are also intersubjective. To comprehend

10 For an illustrative discussion on the problems of  interpretation of symbols in archaeology, see Gallay, L’Archéologie Demain, pp. 183–200. 11 Gillespie, ‘The Intersubjective Nature of  Symbols’, pp. 24–37 (esp. p. 29). 12 Cohen, The Symbolic Construction of  Community, p. 55, p. 73.

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Fig. 1 Beside context and intersubjectivity, meaning, mediality, and emotions influence the impact of  symbolic actions on society. Drawing by the author.

the meaning of  a prehistoric symbol is – in my view – therefore very difficult, if not impossible. However, there is a way out of this dilemma. Not only the meaning of a symbol determines its impact on society – mediality and emotions do so as well (Fig. 1). By adding considerations of mediality and the emotions evoked by the symbols to  iconographic analyses, we can gain some information on their impact, even if we do not know their actual meaning. According to recent cognitive research, emotions have long been underestimated in  cognitive 126

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science.13 Of  course, emotions also depend on the context and the relation of  subjects; yet, there are some features that will be perceived in  a  similar way or  will have similar effects on  most humans. The structural aspects of  symbols include the following: 1. Iconic repertoire: the degree of   standardization, of   abstraction, and of  ubiquity/exclusivity 2. Mediality: the scale of the medium, its permanence, the standardization, the material, production efforts and quality, ubiquity and exclusivity and reflexivity (by which I mean the ability and opportunity for people to interfere with the medium) 3. Emotions: the perception of   and emotional reactions to  the symbols This list could probably be expanded; but for our analysis it will suffice to  concentrate on  the three points listed above. In  the following, I  will investigate the material remains of symbolic behaviour in  the PPNA and PPNB cultures of   the Near East.

Constructed Symbolism As was mentioned above, I  will focus on special buildings (Fig.  2) because it is  easier for us to  perceive the conventionalized world views implicit in  such buildings than in domestic architecture, influenced by individual preferences and site requirements.14 13

Salvatore and Venuleo, ‘The Unconscious as Symbol Generator – a Psychodynamic-Semiotic Approach to Meaning-Making’, pp. 59–74. 14 This is  not to  say that the shape of   domestic houses is  not often based on  ideological concepts. Indeed, in  traditional societies domestic houses may represent the cosmic order (Kent, ‘A Crosscultural Study of   Segmentation, Architecture and the Use of  Space’, pp. 127–52 (esp. p. 128). But the risk that individual styles skew the picture is very high. Thus the number of  private houses required for a  meaningful statistical analysis concerning the cosmological concept of  domestic architecture would have to be very large. Although public and private buildings cannot always be easily differentiated for the early Neolithic in the southern Levant, the architecture of  all of  the above mentioned buildings clearly differs from typical dwellings.

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Fig. 2 Communal or special buildings of  Upper Mesopotamia: I. Round ‘polyvalente’, II. Round to oval without room division a. with wooden pillars, b. with stone/ clay pillars, III. Rectangular with pillars. PPNA-Middle PPNB. I  2–IIa 2 and IIb 2 are reproduced at the same scale as I 1. Where possible orientation has been standardized to the north. For figures without a  north-arrow, no orientation was given in  the original publication. I  1. Mureybet M 47, Syria; I  2–3; IIa  1.  Jerf el-Ahmar, EA 7, EA 30, EA 53, Syria. Modified after Stordeur and Ibañez 2008, fig. 26 and Stordeur and others 2000, fig. 5, fig. 9; I. 4. Wadi Tumbaq, EA-6, niveau 4, Syria. After Abbès 2014: fig. 8.2; I. 5. Dja’de, Syria. Schematic redrawing after Coqueugniot 2014: fig. 7; IIa 2. ‘Abr 3. After Yartah 2005, fig. 8.2; IIb 1. Göbekli Tepe, Turkey. Modified after Schmidt 2006, fig. 76; IIb 2. Çayönü, BM1, Turkey. Modified after Schirmer 1990, fig. 11; IIb 3–III 1. Nevalı Çori, Turkey. After Hauptmann 1999, fig. 9); III 2. Göbekli Tepe, Lion-Pillar-Building. Modified after Schmidt 2006, fig. 76; III 3. Çayönü, Flagstone Building, Turkey. Modified after Schirmer 1990, fig. 11.

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Some of  the earliest special or (as they have been termed by Danielle Stordeur) communal buildings were excavated at Mureybet15 and Jericho16 in  the 1950s and 1960s. The tower and wall of Jericho remain unique in  the southern Levant. The same holds true for the large oval placa or  building (for the moment it is not clear whether or not the 22 m × 19 m oval structure was covered by a  roof) found recently at Wadi Faynan.17 However, the round compartment building of   Mureybet is  duplicated by two other, nearly identical, round compartment buildings at Jerf el-Ahmar, just about 40 kilometres north of   Mureybet; 18 and two exemplars at Wadi Tumbaq 3, in the Bal’as Mountains in central Syria.19 They all have diameters of   roughly 6–7.40  m and include several smaller chambers assumed to have been used for storage, though they are almost devoid of   material (which makes this interpretation problematic). At Jerf el-Ahmar other special buildings have been excavated, and the chronological sequence shows a  development from compartment buildings to buildings with one very large room (Fig. 3).20 The special round building of   Dja’de 21 about 20  km north of Jerf el-Ahmar represents a transitional type. Its compartments are separated by impressively painted buttresses but no walls. Buildings of  the second type of  the more recent transitional phase from the PPNA to the PPNB were found in ‘Abr 3, about 45 kilometres upstream on the Euphrates.22

Stordeur and Ibañez, ‘Stratigraphie et répartition des architectures à Mureybet’, pp. 33–95. 16 Ronen and Adler, ‘The Walls of  Jericho Were Magical’, pp. 97–103. 17 Finlayson and others, ‘Architecture, Sedentism, and Social Complexity at Pre-Pottery Neolithic A WF16, Southern Jordan’, p. 2. 18 Stordeur and others, ‘Les bâtiments communautaires de Jerf el-Ahmar et Mureybet’, pp. 29–44. 19 Abbès, ‘Bal’as: un autre scénario de la néolithisation du Proche-Orient’, pp. 17–20, fig. 8. 20 Stordeur, ‘Symboles et imaginaire des premières cultures néolithiques du Proche-Orient (Haute et Moyenne Vallée de l’Euphrate)’, pp. 15–37, fig. 2. 21 Coqueugniot, ‘Dja’de (Syrie) et les représentations symboliques au IXe millénaire cal. BC’, pp. 97–101, fig. 7. 22 Yartah, ‘Les bâtiments communautaires de Tell ‘Abr 3 (PPN A, Syrie)’, pp. 3–9. 15

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Fig. 3 Development of  communal buildings in relation to domestic architecture, Jerf el-Ahmar, Syria. PPNA. Modified after Stordeur 2003, fig. 2.

Further east, near the modern town of  Şanliurfa, the monumental hill-top constructions of   Göbekli Tepe,23 to  which we will refer later, give important clues for our analysis. On typological grounds the special buildings of   Nevalı Çori, despite their rectangular shape, can be seen as the successors of  Göbekli Tepe.24 The oldest phase of  the ‘Skull Building’ at Çayönü resembles the round construction of   Göbekli, although instead of   the large stone pillars, buttresses subdivide the wall. The ‘Flagstone Building’ is similar to  the later ‘Lion-Pillar’ Building of   Göbekli and the communal building of  Nevalı Çori.25 Most of   these special buildings have in  common that they lay on  the edge of   their settlement. There may have been some space between these structures and the normal dwellings, but the distance was not great. The only exception so far seems to be the early phase of   Göbekli Tepe. Its dominating position on a  hilltop without access to  water makes it a  rather exceptional site, seemingly a territorial symbol of  power and/or spiritual authority. But already during the later phase the Lion-Pillar Building – which is similar to the large round construction, but square and smaller – is surrounded by many smaller buildings. Interpretation 23 24 25

Schmidt, Sie bauten die ersten Tempel. Hauptmann, ‘Nevalı Çori’, pp. 99–110. Özdoğan, ‘Çayönü’, pp. 35–63 (esp. pp. 41–54).

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of  these smaller buildings has to await the final publication, but they might have been normal dwellings. It has been proven that in Jerf el-Ahmar the communal buildings outlasted the other structures and were still round when other structures became rectangular. This means that there was a  fixed plan, a  regional building tradition, reserved for this kind of  building.26 Access to  these buildings could easily have been controlled and restricted to a limited number of  people. Their interiors must have been quite dark because most of   them were dug into the ground or the flank of  a hill. Again, Göbekli Tepe might be an exception, because it is uncertain, whether or not, it was covered. The plan of   these buildings was standardized in  any given region, but there were differences between regions. Even Göbekli Tepe was not unique: at least five other sites in this region seem to  have had architectural elements similar to, though smaller than, its T-shaped pillars.27

Ritual Symbolism The most striking ritual of   the early Holocene is  skull burial. I  will therefore focus my analysis on  this specific subject.28 The practice of detaching skulls from the dead and reburying them in groups or singly existed from the Natufian to the PPNB. According to our present information, this burial tradition began in  the Levant and spread south to  the far southern Levant and north to southeast Anatolia. It was later practised also in central Anatolia, but that region and period is outside the scope of  my analysis.29

26 A similar observation for the Upper Tigris region has already been made by Özdoğan, ‘Çayönü’, p. 47. 27 Most of   these sites have not been explored archaeologically, except for Nevalı Çori. Thus, it is  not clear whether they were located near a  village or whether they were isolotated on hill tops, see Güler and others, ‘New Pre-Pottery Neolithic Sites and Cult Centres in the Urfa Region’, pp. 292–97. 28 A detailed description of   these burials has been published elsewhere, so it will be sufficient here simply to  summarize the main points (Benz, ‘Beyond Death – the Construction of  Social Identities at the Transition from Foraging to Farming’, pp. 249–76). 29 Kodas, ‘Contexte Architectural des Crânes Surmodelés’, pp. 13–19.

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Fig. 4 Group of  plastered skulls associated with the skeleton of  a newborn, Aswad, Syria. PPNB. Photo courtesy of  the Fouille franco-syrienne de Tell Aswad. Co-directed by Danielle Stordeur and Bassam Jamous. Mission El Kowm-Mureybet du Ministère des Affaires étrangères France. Photo by Laurent Dugué.

During the middle PPNB the old tradition of   skull burial was elaborated by the plastering of  the skulls (Fig. 4). Plastered skulls have been found exclusively in the Levant and nowhere in upper Mesopotamia. Because of   the striking reality of   the plastered faces, skull burials have been excavated and recorded in  great detail. Thus we know much more about these burials than about normal burial practices. The skulls were separated from the rest of the bodies sometime after interment. Some of   them were then painted and/or plastered. Some were also decorated with collagen, to which perishable organic materials probably had been fixed. After a  period of   display, the skulls were reburied singly 132

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or in caches of  two or more. Grouping by age and sex was common, but groups of   different sexes and ages are also recorded. Most of the plastered skulls are from young adults. Analyses of  ancient a-DNA so far have failed to confirm familial relationships within the skull groups.30 For our analysis the important point is that these skulls were venerated and even after their reburying remained a  community focus.31 In  some cases an association of   skull burials with skeletons of babies or small children has been observed.32 It might be that the reburying of   a skull was the occasion for an infant sacrifice; but it seems more plausible that the death of  a beloved child was one possible reason for the reburial of   the skulls or that the child was placed above these skulls long after in  order to demonstrate a  relationship. In  any case a  trans-generational ‘affiliation’ – which could be independent of blood relationship – was intentionally affirmed. This veneration of  special persons was a more common practice in the Levant than in upper Mesopotamia, and the plastering of   the skulls was a  quite conventionalized ritual over the large region from the southern Dead Sea to the Damascus Basin.

Representations of  Symbols Finally, I will describe some of  the wealth of  symbols used during the PPNA and early PPNB. The decorated shaft-straighteners and pebbles from the Levant and the Upper Euphrates provide good examples of  the symbolic repertoire. In  Upper Mesopotamia they are quite standardized in size and shape (Figs 5–6), but in the Levant none of  the published pebbles and shaft straighteners has naturalistic decorations 30 A familial relationship due to  an epigenetic morphological skull marker has been suggested by Röhrer-Ertl, Die Neolithische Revolution im Vorderen Orient, p. 244, but the a-DNA is so badly preserved that no systematic analysis could be done (Bonogofsky and Malhi. ‘Sex-based DNA Analysis of  8,500 Year Old “Ancestor” Skulls from the Levant’). 31 Stordeur and Khawam, ‘Les crânes surmodelés de Tell Aswad (PPNB, Syrie). Premier regard sur l’ensemble, premières réflexions’, pp. 5–32. 32 Benz, ‘ “Little Poor Babies” – Creation of  History through Death at the Transition from Foraging to Farming’.

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Fig. 5 Figurative decoration of  shaft-straighteners and pebbles from Upper Mesopotamia. PPNA-EPPNB. All items are reproduced at the same scale. 1. ‘Abr 3. After Yartah 2004, fig. 18.3; 2. After Yartah 2005, fig. 7.3; 3. Göbekli Tepe. After Köksal-Schmidt and Schmidt 2007, p. 107; 4.-9. Jerf el-Ahmar. After Akkermans and Schwartz 2003, fig. 3.18.

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Fig. 6 Decorated pebbles and shaft-straighteners, Tell Q aramel, Syria. PPNA. All items are reproduced at the same scale. 1.–2. After Mazurowski and Yartah 2001, fig. 11; 3.–4. After Mazurowski 2004, fig.  10; 5.–6. After Mazurowski and Yartah 2001, figs  10.630,  10.636; 7. After Mazurowski 2003, fig.  12; 8. After Mazurowski and Yartah 2001, fig.  10.638; 9. After Mazurowski 2002, p. 328.

but only geometric patterns (Fig.  7); 33 however, naturalistic images on  pebbles and shaft straighteners from the Middle and Upper Euphrates-Tigris region are very common. As I will show, the latter are based on a collective repertoire common from the Middle Euphrates to South-Eastern Anatolia. 33 Some decorations interpreted as  representations of   faces might instead be parts of   geometric patterns (Noy, ‘Art and Decoration of   the Natufian at Nahal Oren’, pp. 557–68, esp. p. 563, fig. 4.5). Pebbles decorated with geometric shapes have also been found in Upper Mesopotamia, e.g. at Mureybet, Çayönü, Cafer Höyük, and Tell Q aramel (Cauvin, ‘Le Néolithique de Cafer Höyük’, pp.  123–33, fig.  2; Cauvin and others, ‘The Pre-Pottery Site of   Cafer Höyük’, pp.  114, fig.  32; Akkermans and Schwartz, The Archaeology of   Syria, fig.  18.3; Mazurowski, ‘Tell Q aramel Excavations, 2003’, pp.  355–70, fig.  11). Some of the pebbles with figurative decorations from Tell Q aramel have been found in a  secondary Bronze Age context and are therefore of   uncertain date. Except for one, they are not considered in  this study (Mazurowski and Jamous, ‘Tell Q aramel. Excavations 2000’, pp. 327–41, esp. pp. 338–41, figs 7–8).

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Fig. 7 Geometrically decorated shaft-straighteners and pebbles, the Levant. Natufian to Late PPNB. All items are reproduced at the same scale unless otherwise stated. 1. Netiv Hagdud. After Ofer Bar-Yosef and Avi Gopher 1997, fig. 5.18; 2. Zahrat Adh-Dhra’ 2, limestone. After Edwards and others 2002, fig. 5; 3. Nahal Oren. After Noy 1999, fig.  2.5; 4. Ghuwayr  I. After Simmons and Muhammed Najjar 2003, fig.  8; 5.–6. Shkârat Msaied, steatite, objects 51201 and 51304. After Harpelund 2011, drawing 16; 7.–8. Basta, steatite. After Gebel and others 2004, figs 14.4, 14.6; 9.–10. Ramad R 66.131, basalt, R 65.252, limestone. After Contenson 2000, figs 89.1, 92.4; 11. Aswad Ad 71.115, limestone. After Conentson 1995, fig. 111.

The Variety of  Threatening Animals and Abstract Symbols During the PPNA snakes become a  ubiquitous symbol represented on a variety of  media, including pebbles at Jerf el-Ahmar, Tell ‘Abr 3, and Tell Q aramel and stone vessels at Körtik Tepe.34 They are shown crawling up the pillars of   Göbekli and Karahan Tepe, on a totem pole of  Göbekli,35 and on the back of  the Stordeur, ‘Symboles et imaginaire des premières cultures néolithiques du Proche-Orient (Haute et Moyenne Vallée de l’Euphrate), p.  28; Mazurowski and Yartah, ‘Tell Q aramel. Excavations, 2001’, pp.  295–307, esp. p.  305; Özkaya, ‘Excavations at Körtik Tepe. A  New Pre-Pottery Neolithic A Site in Southeastern Anatolia’, pp. 3–8, fig. 8; Coşkun and others, ‘Living by the Water – Boon and Bane for the People of  Körtik Tepe’, pp. 59–71. 35 Schmidt, Sie bauten die ersten Tempel, p. 91, p. 96; Köksal-Schmidt and 34

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Fig. 8 Nevalı Çori, southeastern Turkey, Head with snake; limestone. Şanlıurfa Müzesi. Early to Middle PPNB. Photo courtesy of  Euphrat-Archiv, Berlin-Heidelberg.

head of   a near-human-size figure at Nevalı Çori (Fig.  8).36 Vultures, lions/panthers, foxes, and scorpions belong to this animal repertoire as  well, and are again represented on  a  variety of media.37 Less common but present are aurochs (mostly in the very abstract form of  the bucranium), sheep, and goat/gazelle/ibex. Schmidt, ‘The Göbekli Tepe “Totem Pole”. A  First Discussion of   an Autumn 2010 Discovery (PPN, Southeastern Turkey)’, pp. 74–76, esp. pp. 74–75. 36 Hauptmann, ‘The Urfa Region’, pp. 65–86, esp. p. 75, fig. 10. 37 For a  possible interpretation of   this figurative repertoire, see Benz and Bauer, ‘On Scorpions, Birds, and Snakes – Evidence for Shamanism in Northern Mesopotamia during the Early Holocene’, pp. 1–15.

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A circular, ‘sun-like’ sign is  common too, appearing on  pebbles at Tell Q aramel west of   the Euphrates, on  two large stone slabs at Tell ‘Abr 3 on  the Euphrates,38 and on  stone vessels at Körtik Tepe39 (Fig.  9). It should not be automatically assumed to  be a  solar or  lunar sign: it might also represent something like a  settlement or  a  waterhole (and thus perhaps be a  symbol for life) with paths leading to it.

Fig. 9 ‘Sun-like’ symbols on different media. Early to late PPNA. 1. ‘Abr 3. After Yartah 2004, fig. 14.1; 2. Tell Q aramel. After Mazurowski and Jamous 2000, fig. 7; 3. Körtik Tepe. After Coşkun and others 2010, fig. 2a.

Thus, there is a shared tradition of  symbols throughout northern Mesopotamia during the early Holocene. During the Epipalaeolithic, naturalistic representations had been rare, small,

38 Yartah, ‘Tell ‘Abr 3, un village du néolithique précéramique (PPNA) sur le Moyen Euphrate. Première approche’, pp. 141–58, fig. 14. 39 Coşkun and others, ‘Living by the Water – Boon and Bane for the People of  Körtik Tepe’, fig. 2.

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individualistic, and almost exclusively of   animals.40 But in  the early Holocene a  great variety of   representations/of symbols appears, displayed on everything from very tiny scrapings to very large, labour-intensive, stone reliefs. Some of   the stone reliefs of   Göbekli Tepe and Jerf el-Ahmar are exceptional.41 They are carved in such a three-dimensional way that they seem to come out of   the pillar, thus enhancing their presence and dominance of  the space created around them. The panther or lion crawling downwards on  Pillar P27 of   Göbekli Tepe is  lurking, its head sunken between the shoulders, baring its teeth as if about to jump on its victim (Fig. 10). The degree of  abstraction is highly variable: some of  the snakes are depicted with heads, eyes, and a forked tongue or ‘antennae’; 42 others are simply a  zig-zag line with a  stylized triangle for the head. The position of  some zig-zags within a standardized combination of  signs on stone vessels from Körtik Tepe implies that they, too, represent snakes (Fig. 9.2). Some abstract symbols are used at some sites so  frequently that they have been suggested to represent the first ‘hieroglyphs’.43 Most animals are either represented in a threatening attitude, such as the boars and the lions/panthers of  Göbekli Tepe, or they are intrinsically dangerous creatures like scorpions or  snakes.44 This makes a  strong contrast to  the Epipalaeolithic figurines, which represent mostly game animals. Finally, I will consider the representations of  humans. A small clay female figurine from Mureybet suggested to  Cauvin the ‘birth of  the gods’ before the advent of  the Neolithic. There are

Cauvin, Naissance des Divinités – Naissance de l’Agriculture, p.  38; Noy, ‘Art and Decoration of  the Natufian at Nahal Oren’, pp. 564–67. 41 Schmidt, Sie bauten die ersten Tempel, figs  25–26, fig.  86; Hauptmann, ‘Urfa Region’, figs  27,  29,  31; Schmidt, ‘Animals and a  Headless Man at Göbekli Tepe’, pp.  38–40, figs  1a–1b; Stordeur, ‘Symboles et imaginaire des premières cultures néolithiques du Proche-Orient (Haute et Moyenne Vallée de l’Euphrate)’, fig. 7.3. 42 Stordeur, ‘Symboles et imaginaire des premières cultures néolithiques du Proche-Orient (Haute et Moyenne Vallée de l’Euphrate)’, p. 28. 43 Schmidt, Sie bauten die ersten Tempel, pp. 221–26. 44 Stordeur, ‘Symboles et imaginaire des premières cultures néolithiques du Proche-Orient (Haute et Moyenne Vallée de l’Euphrate)’, pp. 22–30; Schmidt, Sie bauten die ersten Tempel, p. 235. 40

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Fig. 10 Relief of  a lion or panther, in a crouching position on pillar P27, Göbekli Tepe, southeastern Turkey. Late PPNA/Early PPNB. Photo courtesy of  the German Archaeological Institute, Nico Becker.

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other, approximately contemporary, figurines from elsewhere in the Levant, but their sex is  not always clear and some of   them were probably male.45 Although it is not obvious whether these human figures represent gods or simply powerful persons, Cauvin is  correct that there was an increase in  human representation. Some human figures were made already during the early phases of   Göbekli Tepe: a  headless human depicted on  a  stone pillar is possibly a  symbol of   death, and a  1.90  m-high totem pole of stone shows at least two humans threatened by either a predator (feline or bear) or a human dressed in a cape of  fur with the head of such a predator – variations on the threatening-animal theme depicted elsewhere at the site.46 At Jerf el-Ahmar a headless human corpse is carried by a bird with a large beak, probably a vulture.47 Some – if not all – of  the pillars also depict humans or humanoid creatures (supernatural beings?).48 The pillars with arms, fingers, and sometimes a  scarf are called the ‘Nevalı Çori type’ because they were first discovered at that site. From the initial phase at Göbekli Tepe three pillars exist of  this type, all of  them in Round C, and two of  them at its centre. These pillars are surrounded by an army of  dangerous animals. From the later phase, at least 9 of   53 pillars have arms; and many fragments of   other pillars with arms were found, though not in situ.49 In addition many small figurines as well as miniature pillars have been found. During the PPNB at Nevalı Çori, the size of  the representations of   humans increase to  near-human size, but many small human figurines also exist.50 At Göbekli Tepe a  30  cm tall woman, probably giving birth, was scratched into one of  the stone 45 Benz, Die Neolithisierung im Vorderen Orient. Theorien, archäologische Daten und ein ethnologisches Modell, pp. 90–96. 46 Schmidt, ‘Animals and a  Headless Man at Göbekli Tepe’, pp.  39–40; Köksal-Schmidt and Schmidt, ‘The Göbekli Tepe “Totem Pole”. A First Discussion of  an Autumn 2010 Discovery (PPN, Southeastern Turkey)’, pp. 74–75. 47 Stordeur, ‘Symboles et imaginaire des premières cultures néolithiques du Proche-Orient (Haute et Moyenne Vallée de l’Euphrate)’, p. 30. 48 Morenz and Schmidt, ‘Große Reliefpfeiler und kleine Zeichentäfelchen – Ein frühneolithisches Zeichensystem in Obermesopotamien’, pp. 13–31. 49 Schmidt (personal communication). 50 Hauptmann, ‘Urfa Region’, pp. 75–76, figs 10–19; Morsch, ‘Magic Figurines? Some Remarks About the Clay Objects of  Nevalı Çori’, pp. 149–58.

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slabs of a bank in the Lion-Pillar Building.51 A near-human-size figure of a man was found many years ago in the centre of Urfa.52 It is similar to the discoveries at Nevalı Çori and Göbekli Tepe and may therefore be dated to the early Neolithic, too. Summing up, there is  throughout the area a  common repertoire of  symbols, with some local variations. For example, many birds are represented at Göbekli Tepe, while deer and some images that might be larvae are unique to Körtik Tepe.53 Every site has its own style, but within each style there seem to  have existed firm rules of design. Köksal-Schmidt and Schmidt remark regarding Göbekli Tepe ‘[…], so  gibt es doch viele Wiederholungen, die in  ihrer Gleichartigkeit wie einem Musterbuch entnommen oder wie nach Schablone gearbeitet erscheinen.’54 ‘[…] there are many repetitions, which in  their similarity seem to have been taken from a pattern book or drawn from a stencil.’

In contrast to  the Epipalaeolithic ones, Neolithic symbols are integrated into compositions that are perhaps whole narratives. The high degree of   abstraction of   some signs underlines the existence of   conventions for their interpretation and hints at a network of  collective cultural memory. It is striking that in the Levant geometric patterns dominate the iconographic repertoire, whereas in  Upper Mesopotamia a great variety of  naturalistic figures appears. Especially relevant for our purposes is  the fact that the mediality of   these symbols changes from perishable materials to stone and clay, and in size from small to monumental, thus increasing both temporal durability and spatial extent. This holds true not only for the special buildings and the symbolic engravings and reliefs in  stone, but also for the secondary skull burials, which should possibly link 51

Schmidt, Sie bauten die ersten Tempel, pp. 238–39. Schmidt, Sie bauten die ersten Tempel, p. 199, pp. 201–03. 53 Özkaya and San, ‘Körtik Tepe: Bulgular Işığında Külturel Doku Üzerine Ilk Gözlemler’, pp. 21–36, fig. 19. 54 Köksal-Schmidt and Schmidt, ‘Perlen, Steingefäße, Zeichentäfelchen – Handwerkliche Spezialisierung und steinzeitliches Symbolsystem’, pp.  97–109, esp. p. 97. 52

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generations and thus create a sense of  personal relationship over an extended time. Labour investment in  the creation of   collective symbols increased dramatically in the Near East, during the early Holocene and, at least in the case of  the monumental buildings of Göbekli Tepe, community effort became necessary. The emotional effects of  the figurative representations clearly show that the increase of   human representations was only a second step. At first, during the early Holocene, the representations of   animals became threatening and dangerous. Men were surrounded by animals. It has also been shown that personal relations probably played a  more important role in  the Levant than in  Upper Mesopotamia, where territorial commitment was demonstrated by large cult centres like Göbekli, Karahan, Hamzan, and Sefer Tepe.55 Only in a second step humans emancipated themselves from their natural environment.

Discussion Two fundamental changes can be observed in the symbolic material remains of  the early Holocene: The first is a change in mediality, especially regarding the materials used in  buildings, burials, and figurative representations. Whereas mobile hunter-gatherers had probably used natural sacred places, now buildings for ritual or political assemblies were planned and built of   stone and clay. The buildings were placed either at the edge of   the village, or  on  an eminence, as  Göbekli Tepe. Access to  the new communal buildings could be controlled or  restricted. Thus, they became a  symbol of   the power of a circumscribed group. Membership of   this group may have been defined by territorial, familial, or  other criteria, which are difficult to determine without any written sources.56 Once the architecture had been fixed it fostered conventionalized behaviour by those who wanted to  belong to  the 55 Benz, ‘Beyond Death – the Construction of  Social Identities at the Transition from Foraging to Farming’, pp. 262–70. 56 Alt and others, ‘Earliest Evidence for Social Endogamy in the 9,000-YearOld-Population of  Basta, Jordan’.

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community and practice its rituals.57 Every ritual follows a conventionalized choreography, yet, changes are easier in contexts without fixed space because built space reduces flexibility.58 Similarly, burial rituals have a  fixed sequence of   behaviour, material equipment, and investments in the burial itself. The burial rituals of  the PPNA were deeply rooted in the traditions of  the Epipalaeolithic, but during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic there was an increase in secondary collective burials (e.g. in Abu Hureyra 59) and in detached skulls reburied in groups. This trend culminated during the middle PPNB in the displaying and reburial of  single or  groups of   plastered skulls.60 Thus, the reburial of   skulls was nothing new; but the plastering attempted to preserve the social status quo beyond death. The exhibition of  skulls probably aimed at a communal veneration. This veneration of  selected individuals, the ritualized treatment of  the plastered skulls, and the communal efforts to  perpetrate the special status of   these individuals even after death also hint at the existence of  at least some authorities. Thus in the Levant, collective memory was not guided by collectively fixed symbols but by relations among people. This does not necessarily mean that the plastered skulls were intended to  perpetuate the memory of   specific individuals; the purpose might also have been to exalt the memory of  an anonymous collective of  ancestors. And even after reburying, there seems to have been intentional efforts to  perpetuate memory.61 For example, on the PPNB site of  Tell Aswad Danielle Stordeur and her colleagues proved that the place where the skulls were reburied must 57

I will not argue that architecture imposes a  certain kind of   behaviour. As the change of   use of   many churches proves, form does not entirely dictate content: churches may become music halls or  museums, even if nothing is changed on  their facade. However, their architecture favours large assemblies, access to the building can be controlled, and, if the architecture is closed, people can be excluded from participating in  – and even from watching – the rituals. On the other hand, a structure of  small rooms, which cannot be used for communal rituals will never become a temple or a town hall. 58 Watkins, ‘Architecture as  “Theatres of   Memory” in  the Neolithic of Southwest Asia’, pp. 97–106. 59 Molleson, ‘The People of  Abu Hureyra’, pp. 301–24. 60 Benz, ‘Beyond Death – the Construction of  Social Identities at the Transition from Foraging to Farming’. 61 See Kuijt, ‘The Regeneration of   Life. Neolithic Structure of   Symbolic Remembering and Forgetting’, pp. 171–97.

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have been visible as a small elevation, and some later inhumations were clearly positioned in relation to the skulls.62 At other sites, e.g. Ramad and Jericho, the skulls were often reburied in relation to  architectural features, which were probably visible.63 Some of   the isolated skulls were reburied inside the houses, others were reburied in  open, probably public, spaces. Also, the time invested in burial practices and permanence was increased by the plastering of  the skulls. At only a few sites of  the Middle and Upper Euphrates-Tigris – such as  Körtik Tepe,64 Halula,65 Dja’de,66 Abu Hureyra,67 Nevalı उori,68 and उayönü 69 – a sufficient number of burials have been excavated to conduct a reliable analysis of  burial traditions in that region, and most of  these sites await a detailed, final publication of  their burials. For the moment, we can only notice that although the tradition of  skull burials existed there too, a regionwide tradition of   skull-plastering did not.70 And in  contrast to the Levant, every site had its own particular burial traditions. An interesting trend can be observed in the Euphrates-Tigris region concerning the mediality of  the figurative representations. Besides painted pictures, which probably existed long before the Neolithic, during the a-ceramic Neolithic, many representations are worked in  stone, either incised or  in  high relief. In  contrast Stordeur and Khawam, ‘Les crânes surmodelés de Tell Aswad (PPNB, Syrie). Premier regard sur l’ensemble, premières réflexions’, pp. 5–32. 63 Benz, ‘Beyond Death – the Construction of   Social Identities at the Transition from Foraging to  Farming’, pp.  254–61, p.  265. It should be noted that many skull burials were excavated in  the 1950s to  1980s, without clear descriptions of   the surrounding deposits. Thus, a  more precise documentation of  the context might prove, that the observations made at Tell Aswad are the rule rather than the exception. 64 Özkaya, ‘Excavations at Körtik Tepe. A New Pre-Pottery Neolithic A Site in Southeastern Anatolia’, p. 5. 65 Guerrero and others, ‘Seated Memory’, pp. 379–91. 66 Coqueugniot, ‘Dja’de el Mughara (Ja’det al-Moghara)’, pp. 65–70. 67 Molleson, ‘The people of  Abu Hureyra’, pp. 301–24. 68 Hauptmann, ‘Urfa Region’, pp. 70–74. 69 Özdoğan, ‘Çayönü’, pp. 35–63. 70 This does not mean that the methods of  plastering were identical everywhere in the Levant (Goren and others, ‘The Technology of  Skull Modelling in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB)’, pp. 671–90), but simply that the ritual of skull-plastering was a common practice in the region from the southern Dead Sea region to Damascus Basin. 62

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to  paintings, which can be simply painted over, it is  difficult to erase a  relief. Klaus Schmidt observed a  small number of alterations and erasures on the pillars of  Göbekli Tepe,71 but in most cases carved stones in ritual places were made for ‘eternity’. Changes could be made only through deliberate destruction, as  happened to  many of   the communal buildings, or  abandonment.72 Collective memory was thus fixed in  stone and could be erased only by intentional, time-consuming, effort. The past became a  created medium actively influencing the present and the future, unless it was intentionally erased or  destroyed. Yet to do so demanded a high degree of  self-confidence: fixing symbolic traditions in stone fosters conservative thinking by making change difficult. This establishment of   a fixed repertoire of   symbols on  stone had important effects on  the behaviour of   the people. In  the same manner that architecture influences the perception of   a landscape and the behaviour of people, a fixed collective symbolic repertoire influences the behaviour and the memory of   people. The fixing of  symbolism on stone and the plastering of  the dead restricted the flexible and reflexive use of   symbolic actions and dictated more ritualized and standardized social interactions.73 Recent neurobiological studies show that memory can be guided and even falsified by representations of   collectively accepted memory.74 This means that by collective repetition and public demonstration of   some distinctive symbols and topics, the perception and the focus of  people can be influenced and channelled in certain directions. Control over the representation of  symbols is  thus one of   the most important means of   creating corporate identity. 71 Schmidt, Sie bauten die ersten Tempel, p. 125, p. 141, p. 184; Morenz and Schmidt, ‘Große Reliefpfeiler und kleine Zeichentäfelchen – Ein frühneolithisches Zeichensystem in Obermesopotamien’, p. 22. 72 Özdoğan, ‘Çayönü’, p. 47, p. 52; Yartah, ‘Tell ‘Abr 3, un village du néolithique précéramique (PPNA) sur le Moyen Euphrate. Première approche’, p.  142; Rollefson, ‘Ritual and Social Structure at Neolithic ’Ain Ghazal’, pp. 165–90, esp. p. 179. 73 Interestingly, this trend is  also mirrowed in  other accessories: the use of   semi-precious stones for jewellery increased and other stone objects were recylced for jewellry; see Alarashi, ‘Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic Personal Adornments from Syria (12th–7th Millennium BC)’, pp. 46–47. 74 Edelson and others, ‘Following the Crowd’, pp. 108–11.

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But this is  only one aspect of   the observed change in mediality. As has been shown above, the same symbols or signs were represented on  very different media: large stone pillars, stone vessels and plates, and even small bone amulets. The presence of the same motives on several media and in many different places not only increased their influence on the collective memory, but also implied a  large communicative network and a  fixed basic common sense. The high degree of  abstraction of  some symbols underlines this. Within this network every group developed its own unique figures. A third aspect concerning the new mediality should not be forgotten: investment of   time and work. Not only was permanence increased but also the investment of   time and work in symbolic behaviour. This was especially true for the large stone pillars of  Göbekli Tepe; but the plastered skulls and the elaborate decorated stone vessels of the Upper Euphrates-Tigris region were also labour-intensive objects. Investment in  something enhances one’s relationship to  it; and if this work is  done collectively, it also enhances collective relationships and memory. Collective activities in common symbolism enhance collective cultural memory.75

Power and Fear – Emotional Aspects The second change concerns the emotions evoked by the representations. Most of  the animals depicted at ‘PPNA-’sites in the Middle and Upper Euphrates-Tigris region are frightening and display power, especially male power, with sharp teeth, wide opened mouths, erect penises, or aggressive poses. Some of  them, such as  scorpions and snakes, are intrinsically lethal. Details of interpretation of   such animals can differ from one culture to another: snakes, for example, were sometimes associated with reincarnation or with the cycle of  death and life.76 But in general, these creatures are always viewed as dangerous, threatening aniThe importance of   symbols for the collective memory has already been emphasized by Maurice Halbwachs, see Wetzel, Maurice Halbwachs, pp. 76–77. 76 Bader, ‘Was ist eigentlich ein Symbol?’, pp. 18–19. 75

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mals, especially if one thinks about the ‘highly venomous vipers from the Urfa region’.77 Whereas in  the Palaeolithic, wild animals for hunting and pregnant/well-fed women (perhaps originally symbols of fertility and reproduction) were pictured, in the Holocene we see, besides carnivores and hunted wild animals such as boars, small animals like snakes, spiders, or scorpions – all bound to the ground. These animals did not appear in  the repertoire of  Palaeolithic huntergatherers but are nearly ubiquitous in the early Holocene cultures of the Euphrates and Tigris region. Even if these representations were actually not frightening (anymore), there may have been emotional reactions because once in  human history such encounters, e.g. with a  poisonous snake, were frightening.78 Even the mere picture of  a lion rearing up with wide-open jaws can create a sense of  respect or a certain amount of  fear. By contrast, the presence of  a lion cub, with its round eyes and small mouth, causes in most people a warm sense of  affection. None of   these figurative themes has been found so  far in the symbolic repertoire of   the PPNA communities in  the Levant. Figurative representations there are mostly restricted to three-dimensional clay, plaster, or  stone figurines. This is of importance when it comes to  the different ways in  which corporate identity and collective memory were created in  the Euphrates-Tigris region and in  the Levant – a  topic I  have discussed elsewhere.79

The Process of  Sedentarization as Seen from the Perspectives of  Neurobiology and Social Science The advent of  the Holocene is characterized by a concentration of  sites, especially near permanent water sources, and an increase

77 Peters and Schmidt, ‘Animals in  the Symbolic World of   Pre-Pottery Neolithic Göbekli Tepe, South-eastern Turkey’, pp. 179–204, esp. p. 183. 78 Andreas Mühlberger cited in Kraft, ‘Der Angst auf den Fersen’, pp. 33–38, esp. p. 34. 79 Benz, ‘Beyond Death – the Construction of  Social Identities at the Transition from Foraging to Farming’.

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in average site size.80 In these villages communal structures were very common,81 and at the same time the mediality and emotional content of   the symbols changed. Fear, power, and permanence are expressed in  the symbolic repertoire of   the early Holocene in the Euphrates and Tigris region. From a  psychological point of view, the changes in  mediality and emotional commitment at the beginning of   the Holocene are striking. In  the following I  will interpret these changes in  the light of   recent research in the social sciences and neurobiology. Both the fear of  relative deprivation and its actual condition are two motors of   our motivations and behaviour.82 Whether or  not we experience actual social or  material deprivation, if our situation is  at odds with our expectations, we normally try to change it. Therefore, what matters is not the actual situation, but our perception of   it. Expectations are created by personal experience, by past events, or  by comparison with the situation of   others. Consider, for example, a  wealthy person born into a rich family and educated in an exclusive prep school. For such an individual, wealth is ‘normal’ and if he would lose it he would feel hardship and he might be afraid of   being excluded from his peer-group. Presumably he will do all he can to  avoid this. By contrast, an individual who never had true wealth would probably not feel deprived unless brought into close social contact with wealthy people. It would then depend on the social system whether or  not this relatively poor individual would be shunned by his new associates or  socially accepted and treated with respect. Hardly less important than material deprivation is  social deprivation. By constitution, humans are not able to live without the cooperation of   other people. Many studies show that social deprivation has fundamental biological and social consequences for our lives, from the first glimpse of light (probably even before Benz, Die Neolithisierung im Vorderen Orient, pp. 68–69. Finlayson and others, ‘Architecture, Sedentism, and Social Complexity at Pre-Pottery Neolithic A WF16, Southern Jordan’; Yartah, ‘Les bâtiments communautaires de Tell ‘Abr 3 (PPN A, Syrie)’; Stordeur and others, ‘Les bâtiments communautaires de Jerf el Ahmar et Mureybet, Horizon PPNA. Syrie’; Schmidt, Sie bauten die ersten Tempel. 82 Giddens, Sociology, p. 628. 80

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birth) until the days before death. Babies lacking someone upon whom they can rely will have difficulties forming long-lasting social relationships later in  life. This is  not only a  psychological effect but it changes the physiology of   our brain.83 It is  well known, that people who experience social deprivation, who are being bullied, or  excluded from their peer groups, will react with fear or  aggressiveness. A  loss of   confidence, for example because of increased anonymity or  misbehaviour, leads to a decrease in our capacity for empathy. The physiological effects are very illuminating: confidence promotes the flow of oxytocin, a hormone that enhances the capability for empathy, whereas distrust inhibits the flow of   oxytocin and increases the flow of testosterone, which is  well-known for enhancing the level of aggression.84 If we properly understand the social consequences of   sedentarization and increased population density (Fig. 11), we may be able to interpret the symbols in a more fundamental way. Immediate, probably unintended, consequences of   sedentarization may (inner grey ring) include: 1. An increase in  illnesses, and the rise of   new illnesses resulting from the increase in population density. This would have increased the fear of the unknown, since the real cause of illnesses was unknown 2. Anonymity would have increased because of   the increase in population and settlement area. In consequence, fear of social isolation, and aggressive behaviour due to  depersonalisation might have increased 85 83

Bauer, Prinzip Menschlichkeit. Warum wir von Natur aus kooperieren. Although several studies demonstrate that the administration of  oxytocin enhances abilities in  affective ‘mindreading’ in  both sexes, sexual dimorphism in  reactions to  social stimuli have to  be expected. Whereas an attenuating effect of   oxytocin on  the amygdala activity has been observed for men, further research is needed to determine the reactions of  women, who seem to react with an increased amygdala activity when presented with fearful faces (Domes and others, ‘Oxytocin Improves “Mind-Reading” in  Humans’, pp.  731–33; Domes and others, ‘Effects of   Intranasal Oxytocin on  Emotional Face Processing in Women’, pp. 83–93, esp. p. 84, pp. 92–93; Bauer, Schmerzgrenze. Vom Ursprung alltäglicher und globaler Gewalt, p. 188). 85 Bauer, Schmerzgrenze. Vom Ursprung alltäglicher und globaler Gewalt, p. 176, pp. 187–88. 84

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Fig. 11 Possible social and mental consequences of  increased sedentarism. Drawing by the author.

3. A reduction in birth spacing within sedentary hunter-gatherer societies has been observed in ethnography.86 If this was also the case for prehistoric hunter-gatherers who became sedentary, it may have resulted in  a  decrease of   the intensity and duration of  infant care.87 If babies cannot establish a confidential relationship to  other persons, a  decrease in  neurological capacities to  establish permanent social relations may be the consequence.88 This may have led to  an increase of   anxious,

86

Benz, Die Neolithisierung im Vorderen Orient, pp. 111–14. This effect does not depend on the total number of  children in families, it depends on the number of  children delivered within a short period of  time, and it may also occur with an increased workload of  the adults responsible for infant care. For example, a social organisation of  extended families may have absorbed this effect. 88 Bauer, Prinzip Menschlichkeit. Warum wir von Natur aus kooperieren, pp. 36–37, p. 80. 87

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aggressive, and impulsive behaviour.89 The consequence would be an increase in  fissional tendencies and an increase in  the number of  people searching for social acceptance: such people are vulnerable to religious and political manipulation90 4. Misconduct against the local mores became easier as  social control decreased in larger groups91 These basic changes may have led to important social challenges with interdependent emotional reactions: 1. Sharing, which is a basic, culturally trained behaviour in small mobile groups of   hunter-gatherers,92 was no longer possible with everybody, and was probably restricted to  a  smaller group within larger communities.93 The decrease of   social control and the increase of   anonymity made it easier to cheat. The social networks/risk management was threatened, hence the fear of   social deprivation and material deprivation increased for some persons/groups living in  less favourable conditions 2. The ability of   sedentary hunter-gatherers to  store goods resulted in the decline of   the moral of   sharing and made it possible to establish social inequality permanently. Yet, when material inequality is  allowed to  develop independent of personal merit, this inequality will be experienced as unfair. Humans have an innate sense of   justice. If this sense is  not satisfied, feelings of   aggression will arise. The process of commodification 94 – the assignment of   values not only to material goods, but also to  services, landscapes, etc. by convention – increased this trend. Both, the sense of   injus-

89 Bauer, Schmerzgrenze. Vom Ursprung alltäglicher und globaler Gewalt, p. 86, pp. 119–20. 90 Krohne, Psychologie der Angst. Ein Lehrbuch, p. 366. 91 Benz, Die Neolithisierung im Vorderen Orient, pp, 127–28. 92 Property and Equality – Ritualisation, Sharing, Egalitarianism, ed.  by Widlok and Tadesse; Guenther, ‘Sharing among the San, Today, Yesterday, and in the Past’, pp. 105–36. 93 Benz, ‘The Principle of  Sharing – An Introduction’, pp. 1–18. 94 Gebel, ‘Commodification and the Formation of   Early Neolithic Social Identity. The Issues as Seen from the Southern Jordanian Highlands’, pp. 44–45.

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tice and the denial of certain commodities, probably resulted in increased aggression 3. Confidence decreased, with behavioural and biological consequences,95 and the fear of  the ‘other’ increased 96 Fear, aggression, and a  sense of   deprivation would have made the new system unbearable for those living under it, unless new morals and social systems absorbed the aggressiveness. It should be emphasized that the above listed consequences are hypothetical considerations, not established facts. Every effect may have been counteracted by new social and moral rules.97 But even if traditional moral and social systems, like the ‘principle of sharing’, would still have survived increased population density and increased territorial commitment would probably have led to  conflicts, frustration, as  well as  other, major social problems. However, the material remains suggest that the use of   a conventionalized repertoire of   symbols and ritual practices helped ameliorate the social stress resulting from an increased population density.

Making the Invisible Visible How does all this relate to  the increased use of   symbols, the increase in  fear-evoking images, and the establishment of   a common symbolic repertoire during the early Holocene? 1. A  general feeling of   fear and uncertainty because of   the loss of   social relations might be the reason for the increase of threatening animals in  the symbolic repertoire. As elaborated elsewhere, the transition from a  weak to  a  strong commitment to a place was not possible without the reduction of  the principle of   sharing to  include only a  small, circumscribed group.98 This meant the loss of  secure social bonds and material equality 95

p. 119.

Bauer, Schmerzgrenze. Vom Ursprung alltäglicher und globaler Gewalt,

Lacan cited in Widmer, ‘Angst und Furcht’, pp. 18–22. For evidence of   conflict mitigation in  early Neolithic communities, see Gebel, ‘Conflict and Conflict Mitigation in  Early Near Eastern Sedentism. Reflections’, pp. 32–35, esp. p. 34. 98 Benz, Die Neolithisierung im Vorderen Orient, pp. 122–32. 96 97

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for some people. The threatening attitude of  some depicted animals, like e.g. the boars, might be explained by the damage they can cause in the fields or to the herds of  incipient farmers. In the same vein, the representations of   snakes and scorpions might be explained by a  changed focus of   former hunter-gatherers to farmers working the earth. Yet, the threatening gestures of many of  the animals cannot be explained solely by this. The represented animals – be it their threatening gestures or their death-bringing nature – might be interpreted as  symbols for a  different type of fear: transfer of   fear and guilt is  a  common psychological phenomenon.99 The darkness in  some of   the communal buildings may have increased the aggressive and threatening appearance of   the animals. Fear not only makes people aggressive, but insecure people look for acceptance and assistance from more dominant people; therefore they will more easily and willingly accept the authority and control of such individuals.100 Maybe the hunters and gatherers of the Early Neolithic tried to liberate themselves from these fears by the depiction of  dangerous animals, thus demonstrating their power over them. These representations of  threatening animals fit well with the increasingly numerous representations of   humans, because in a dangerous situation fearful people concentrate more on themselves and their reactions, as  they search for solutions to  the problems confronting them.101 On the other hand, powerful agencies might have realized the role of  fear in human motivations and intentionally used the threatening animals to create a climate of  fear in order to enhance the need felt by the group for the assistance of   that person or clique. This scenario seems less probable in  a  world of huntergatherers and shamans, in which the personal dominance of one person outside his/her personal range and skills is unimaginable. Such political reasoning has only been proven for social systems

99

Krohne, Psychologie der Angst. Ein Lehrbuch, pp. 200–01. Krohne, Psychologie der Angst. Ein Lehrbuch, pp. 365–67. 101 Krohne, Psychologie der Angst. Ein Lehrbuch, pp. 343–44. 100

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with already established inequalities.102 Nevertheless, it cannot be excluded for early Holocene communities that an ambience of  fear was intentionally created for political reasons. Anthony Cohen has noted that the use of   symbols, regardless of type, is enhanced if communities perceive a threat to their socio-political or  geophysical order in  times of   fundamental change.103 2. The above mentioned social consequences of   increasing site permanence and population density carry a  high potential for dissatisfaction and aggression. This aggression and the resulting tendency for social groups to  fission can only be avoided through cultural means. Even if deep feelings of  aggression arise, our rationality, which is  guided by moral and social conventions, can keep us from reacting on the basis of  those feelings.104 If new moral and social systems were applied to influence emotional reactions, negative emotions could be at least partly diminished. People in  the Neolithic saw themselves challenged by the new living conditions and had to  prevent aggressive behaviour. I therefore argue that they had to find new moral and social systems and that the increase of  symbols – the search for a common imagery to make communication in larger networks possible and meaningful – can be explained as a first step in creating permanent commitment and in  accepting social and material inequalities. Once the symbolic repertoire (architectural, ritual, and figurative) had been fixed, people had to accept these codes in order not to be ostracised from communication and social networks. Watkins attributes the increase of  symbols to enhanced cognitive capacities.105 Yet, the flexible social structures of modern hunter-gatherers106 rather suggest that symbolic devices only became necessary when sedentary life was adopted. Only then did

102 103 104

p. 107.

See e.g. Assmann, ‘Altägyptische Ängste’, pp. 59–73, esp. p. 68. Cohen, The Symbolic Construction of  Community, pp. 99–109. Bauer, Schmerzgrenze. Vom Ursprung alltäglicher und globaler Gewalt,

Watkins, ‘Changing People, Changing Environments’, pp. 110–11. For example, see Guenther, ‘Sharing among the San, Today, Yesterday, and in the Past’, p. 127. 105 106

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it become necessary to find social media for increased mediation and group commitment. I suggest that prehistoric hunter-gatherers in  transition to a Neolithic way of  life decided to demonstrate their social commitment to  others and fix their communal commitment for ‘eternity’ in order to prevent their communities from breaking up. Above all, fear and possibly the exploitation of  this fear by some potent individuals, be it shamans, priests or  other mediators, became a topic of  public discourse. Therefore, it is not important to  our understanding of   them whether the threatening animals were depicted in order to demonstrate the danger itself or rather the overcoming of  the dangers, whether the animals represented (apotropaic) symbols of/against an invisible danger (illness, death, demons), or  rather a  demonstration of   human dominance over these dangerous animals. What is important is that people experienced a  collective fear (whether real or  not) that had to  be overcome collectively. The ethologist Tomasello has pointed out that ‘the best way to motivate people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy’107 and we may add that the successful collective victory over such a  danger/enemy is  an even stronger argument for an increased commitment to  a  group or  even for the acceptance of  social hierarchies.

Conclusion Returning to  the question of   the visible and the invisible, I  have argued that we can learn more about the religious and spiritual aspects of   prehistoric life if we do not limit ourselves to the content of  symbolic behaviour – in which I include constructed, ritual, and representational symbolism – but instead also consider mediality and the emotions evoked by the symbols. Anthropological and neurobiological theories help us interpret and better understand two fundamental changes at the beginning of   the Holocene: the change in  mediality from a  rather flexible use of  symbols to a fixed repertoire in stone, plaster and clay; and the change in  symbols from emotionally rather neutral (or  not 107

Tomasello and others, Why We Cooperate, p. 100.

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openly aggressive) symbols to symbols that represent power and/ or evoke fear. Whether this fear was caused by social instability or  was intentionally created or  enhanced by self-interested individuals or power-blocs in the community, remains an interesting but academic question. In any case, a powerful individual or  more probably a  group of   individuals108 could have used the socially fragile situation to their own advantage by exploiting the fear of  the other group members and their sense of  the need for strong leadership respectively.109 In an interdependent process, sedentarization created new morals and social values. In a sedentary community, the potential of  aggression was enhanced. Yet, as long as no cooperative workloads were necessary to  guarantee survival, spontaneous fission was not problematic. However, with increased social differentiation and/or incipient farming, dependence on  other group members increased. Additionally, as population density increases, generalized reciprocity must be limited to  a  certain group of people. It thus became necessary to create media, which enhanced the corporate identity of   a circumscribed group, in  order to avoid uncontrolled fissions. Social instability and resulting fears probably favoured the acceptance of   some kind of   authority. By the creation and expression of  a fixed repertoire of  symbols, these fears could be made visible and extended from a  personal psychological problem to a collective external one. The corporate identity could thus be enhanced above the level of ‘intimate’ or ‘effective cooperation’.110 108 Benz, ‘Beyond Death – the Construction of   Social Identities at the Transition from Foraging to  Farming’, pp.  269–70; Rollefson, ‘Blood Loss’, pp. 183–202. 109 Krohne, Psychologie der Angst. Ein Lehrbuch, p. 379. 110 Watkins, ‘Changing People, Changing Environments’, p.  111; Krämer, ‘Einige Überlegungen zur “verkörperten” und “reflexiven” Angst’, pp.  25–34, esp. p.  29. There is  no need to  posit an increase in  brain capacity to  explain the increase in the use of  symbols. The danger of  circular reasoning in such an evolutionistic argument is  obvious: archaeological data are used for the reconstruction of   the development of   social capacities of   homo sapiens sapiens, and then archaeologists use the hypotheses of  neurobiologists to explain the changes in archaeological data. There is an on-going discussion especially concerning the appearance of   art between 40,000–30,000 (For example Gamble and others, ‘The Social Brain and the Shape of  the Palaeolithic’, pp. 115–35). The new social challenges caused by permanent cohabitation required new mental capacities. Our brain and our genes are not immutable, and thus in  a  dialectical process

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In the Levant, collective memory relied basically on personal relationships, whereas in the Middle and Upper Euphrates-Tigris region collective commitment was expressed through a  fixed symbolism in  architecture and figurative art. Although without any written sources we will not be able to  prove that any particular image represents a  deity (Warmind, this volume), the material remains from the earliest Holocene suggest that the new mediality linked to fear paved the way to the rise of  powerful authorities with the exclusive power to  create and interpret symbols, memory, and moral codes, which of   course is  the base of  religious institutions.111 Collective memory became a dictum. The sedentary hunters and gatherers of  the early Holocene thus paved the way to religion through the acceptance of  standardization and authority, and by making the invisible visible and even tangible.

Bibliography Abbès, Frédéric, ‘Bal’as: un autre scénario de la néolithisation du Proche-Orient’, in  Actes du colloque «  Transitions en Méditerranée, ou comment des chasseurs devinrent agriculteurs  », Muséum de Toulouse, 14–15 avril 2011, ed. by Claire Manen and others (Arles et Toulouse: Éditions Errance et Archives d’Écologie Préhistorique, 2014), pp. 13–26 Akkermans, Peter M. M. G. and Glenn M. Schwartz, The Archaeology of Syria: From Complex Hunter-Gatherers to Early Urban Societies (c. 16,000–300 bc), Cambridge World Archaeology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003) new challenges develop new capacities to  communicate in  a  symbolic way, see Bauer, Das kooperative Gen. There simply had been no previous need to fix and demonstrate the collective memory in  public before, see Cohen, The Symbolic Construction of  Community. 111 Bredholt Christensen, ‘From “Spiritiuality” to  “Relgion” – Ways of Sharing Knowledge of   the “Other World” ’, pp.  149–58. Analogies with many modern hunter-gatherers recorded all over the world suggest that social ideologies of prehistoric mobile hunter-gatherers may have also been those of   social equality and sharing. These social ideals of   small mobile bands are not natural facts but highly advanced and adaptive social systems of  organization, assurance, and economy (Benz, ‘The Principle of  Sharing – An Introduction’, pp. 10–13; Bauer, Schmerzgrenze. Vom Ursprung alltäglicher und globaler Gewalt, pp. 142– 90; Bredholt Christensen and Warburton, ‘Theories, Definitions and Goals’, pp. 163–73, esp. p. 170).

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Hodder, Ian, The Domestication of  Europe: Structure and Contingency in Neolithic Societies (Oxford and Cambridge, Massachusetts: Basil Blackwell, 1990) Kent, Susan, ‘A Crosscultural Study of   Segmentation, Architecture and the Use of   Space’, in  Domestic Architecture and the Use of Space, ed. by Susan Kent (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 127–52 Kodas, Ergul, ‘Contexte Architectural des Crânes Surmodelés: Diversité Contextuelle et Funéraire’, Neo-Lithics 1/15 (2015), pp. 11–23 Köksal-Schmidt, Çiğdem and Klaus Schmidt, ‘Perlen, Steingefäße, Zeichentäfelchen – Handwerkliche Spezialisierung und steinzeitliches Symbolsystem’, in  Vor 12 000 Jahren in  Anatolien – Die ältesten Monumente der Menschheit, ed.  by Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe (Stuttgart: Theiss, 2007), pp. 97–109 Köksal-Schmidt, Çiğdem and Klaus Schmidt, ‘The Göbekli Tepe “Totem Pole”. A First Discussion of  an Autumn 2010 Discovery (PPN, Southeastern Turkey)’, Neo-Lithics, 1 (2010), pp. 74–76 Krämer, Sybille, ‘Einige Überlegungen zur “verkörperten” und “reflexiven” Angst’, in Angst. Dimensionen eines Gefühls, ed. by Thomas Kisser and others (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 2011), pp. 25–34 Kraft, Ulrich, ‘Der Angst auf den Fersen’, Bild der Wissenschaft, 7 (2007), pp. 33–38 Krohne, Heinz W., Psychologie der Angst. Ein Lehrbuch (Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 2010) Kuijt, Ian, ‘The Regneration of  Life. Neolithic Structure of  Symbolic Remembering and Forgetting’, Current Anthropology, 49/2 (2008), pp. 171–97 Mazurowski, Ryszard F., ‘Tell Q aramel. Excavations, 2002’, Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 14 (2002), pp. 315–20 Mazurowski, Ryszard F., ‘Tell Q aramel. Excavations, 2003’, Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 15 (2003), pp. 355–70 Mazurowski, Ryszard F., ‘Tell Q aramel. Excavations, 2004’, Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 16 (2004), pp. 497–510 Mazurowski, Ryszard F. and Bassam Jamous, ‘Tell Q aramel. Excavations 2000’, Polish Archaeology in  the Mediterranean, 12  (2000), pp. 327–41 Mazurowski, Ryszard F. and Thaer Yartah, ‘Tell Q aramel. Excavations, 2001’, Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 13 (2001), pp. 295–307 Molleson, Theya, ‘The people of   Abu Hureyra’, in  Village on  the Euphrates: From Foraging to  Farming at Abu Hureyra, ed.  by

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Andrew M. T. Moore and others (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 301–24 Morenz, Ludwig D. and Klaus Schmidt, ‘Große Reliefpfeiler und kleine Zeichentäfelchen – Ein frühneolithisches Zeichensystem in Obermesopotamien’, in  Non-Textual Marking Systems, Writing and Pseudo Script from Prehistory to Modern Times, ed. by Petra Andrássy and others, Lingua Aegyptia – Studia monographica, 8 (Göttingen: Seminar für Ägyptologie und Koptologie, 2009), pp. 13–31 Morsch, Michael, ‘Magic Figurines? Some Remarks about the Clay Objects of  Nevalı Çori’, in Magic Practices and Ritual in the Near Eastern Neolithic, ed. by Hans Georg K. Gebel and others, Studies in Early Near Eastern Production, Subsistence, and Environment, 8 (Berlin: ex oriente, 2002), pp. 149–58 Neolithic Corporate Identities. Proceedings of  the 9th, ICAANE Workshop, Basle 2014, ed. by Marion Benz and others, Studies in Near Eastern Production, Subsistence, and Environment, 20 (Berlin: ex oriente, 2017) Neumann, Birgit and Martin Zierold, ‘Media as  Ways of   Worldmaking: Media-specific Structures and Intermedial Dynamics’, in Cultural Ways of  Worldmaking. Media and Narratives, ed. by Vera Nünning and others (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2010), pp. 103–18 Noy, Tamar, ‘Art and Decoration of   the Natufian at Nahal Oren’, in The Natufian Culture in  the Levant, ed.  by Ofer Bar-Yosef and François  R. Valla, International Monographs in  Prehistory, Archaeological Series, 1 (Ann Arbor: International Monographs in Prehistory, 1991), pp. 557–68 Özdoğan, Aslı, ‘Çayönü’, in Neolithic in Turkey. Cradle of  Civilization, ed. by Mehmet Özdoğan and Nezih Başgelen (Istanbul: Arkeoloji ve Sanat Yayinları, 1999), pp. 35–63 Özkaya, Vecihi, ‘Excavations at Körtik Tepe. guerrero’, Neo-Lithics, 2 (2009), pp. 3–8 Özkaya, Vecihi and Oya San, ‘Körtik Tepe: Bulgular Işığında Külturel Doku Üzerine Ilk Gözlemler’, Türkiye ‘de Neolitik Dönem. Yeni kazılar, yeni bulgular, ed. by Mehmet Özdoğan and Nezih Başgelen (Istanbul: Arkeoloji ve Sanat Yayınları, 2007), pp. 21–36 Peters, Joris and Klaus Schmidt, ‘Animals in  the Symbolic World of Pre-Pottery Neolithic Göbekli Tepe, South-Eastern Turkey: a Preliminary Assessment’, Anthropozooloigca, 39/1 (2004), pp. 179–204 Property and Equality – Ritualisation, Sharing, Egalitarianism, Vol. 1,

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ed. by Thomas Widlok and Wolde Gossa Tadesse (New York and Oxford: Berghan Books, 2007) Röhrer-Ertl, Olaf, Die Neolithische Revolution im Vorderen Orient (Munich and Vienna: R. Oldenburg Verlag, 1978) Rollefson, Gary O., ‘Ritual and Social Structure at Neolithic ‘Ain Ghazal’, in Life in Neolithic Farming Communities. Social Organization, Identity, and Differentiation, ed. by Ian Kuijt, Fundamental Issues in Archaeology (New York, Boston, Dordrecht, London and Moscow: Kluwer Academic Publishers/Plenum Publishers, 2000), pp. 165–90 Rollefson, Gary O., ‘Blood Loss: Realignment in Community Social Structure During LPPNB of   Highland Jordan’, in  The Principle of  Sharing. Segregation and Construction of  Social Identities at the Transition form Foraging to Farming, ed. by Marion Benz, Studies in Early Near Eastern Production, Subsistence, and Environment, 14 (Berlin: ex oriente, 2010), pp. 183–202 Ronen, Avraham and Dani Adler, ‘The Walls of  Jericho Were Magical’, Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia, 2/6 (2001), pp. 97–103 Sale, Stephan, ‘Do Media Determine Our Situation? Friedrich Kittler’s Application of  Information Theory to the Humanity’, in Cultural Ways of   Worldmaking. Media and Narratives, ed.  by Vera Nünning and others (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2010), pp. 136–48 Salvatore, Sergio and Claudia Venuleo, ‘The Unconscious as Symbol Generator – A Psychodynamic-Semiotic Approach to  MeaningMaking’, in  Symbolic Transformation. The Mind in  Movement through Culture and Society, ed. by Brady Wagoner (London and New York: Routledge, 2010), pp. 59–74 Schirmer, Wulf, ‘Some Aspects of Building at the “Aceramic-Neolithic” Settlement of  Çayönü Tepesi’, World Archaeology, 21/3 (1990), pp. 363–86 Schmidt, Klaus, Sie bauten die ersten Tempel. Das rätselhafte Heiligtum der Steinzeitjäger (Munich: C. H. Beck, 2006a) Schmidt, Klaus, ‘Animals and a Headless Man at Göbekli Tepe’, NeoLithics, 2 (2006b), pp. 38–40 Simmons, Alan H. and Muhammed Najjar, ‘Ghuwayr  I, A  Pre-Pottery Neolithic B Settlement in  Southern Jordan: Report of   the 1996–2000 Campaigns’, Annual of  the Department of  Antiquities of  Jordan, 47 (2003), pp. 407–30 Stordeur, Danielle, ‘Symboles et imaginaire des premières cultures néolithiques du Proche-Orient (Haute et Moyenne Vallée de

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l’Euphrate)’, in Arts et symboles du Néolithique à la Protohistoire, ed. by Jean Guilaine (Paris: Errance, 2003), pp. 15–37 Stordeur, Danielle and Juan J. Ibañez, ‘Stratigraphie et répartition des architectures à Mureybet’, in Le site néolithique de Tell Mureybet (Syrie du Nord), Vol. I, ed. by Juan J. Ibañez, BAR International Series, 1843 (II) (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2008), pp. 33–95 Stordeur, Danielle and Rima Khawam, ‘Les crânes surmodelés de Tell Aswad (PPNB, Syrie). Premier regard sur l’ensemble, premières réflexions’, Syria, 84 (2007), pp. 5–32 Stordeur, Danielle and others, ‘Les bâtiments communautaires de Jerf el Ahmar et Mureybet, Horizon PPNA. Syrie’, Paléorient, 26/1 (2000), pp. 29–44 Tomasello, Michael and others, Why We Cooperate (Cambridge, Massachusetts and London: The MIT Press, 2009) Wagoner, Brady, ‘Introduction: What Is a Symbol’, in Symbolic Transformation. The Mind in  Movement through Culture and Society’, ed. by Brady Wagoner (London and New York: Routledge, 2010), pp. 1–15 Watkins, Trevor, ‘Architecture as  “Theatres of  Memory” in  the Neolithic of Southwest Asia’, in Rethinking Materiality: The Engagement of   Mind with the Material World, ed.  by Elisabeth DeMarrais and others (Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2005), pp. 97–106 Watkins, Trevor, ‘Changing People, Changing Environments’, in Landscapes in Transition, ed. by Bill Finlayson and Graeme Warren, Levant Supplementary Series, 8 (Oxford and Oakville: Oxbow Books, 2010), pp. 106–14 Wetzel, Dietmar J., Maurice Halbwachs, Klassiker der Wissenssoziologie, 15 (Konstanz: UVK, 2009) Widmer, Peter, ‘Angst und Furcht’, in Angst. Dimensionen eines Gefühls, ed. by Thomas Kisser and others (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 2011), pp. 13–24 Yartah, Thaer, ‘Tell ‘Abr 3, un village du néolithique précéramique (PPNA) sur le Moyen Euphrate. Première approche’, Paléorient, 30/2 (2004), pp. 141–58 Yartah, Thaer, ‘Les bâtiments communautaires de Tell ‘bât 3 (PPN A, Syrie)’, Neo-Lithics, 1 (2005), pp. 3–9 Yartah, Thaer, ‘New Data on  Symbols of   Early Farmers’, Al-Adyat Magazine Fall-Winter (2010), pp. 26–42

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Abstract Ever since Robert Braidwood coined his phrase ‘culture was not ready’, mental, religious, and social factors have often been emphasized as the conditions necessary for the adoption of farming. Well-known authorities like Jacques Cauvin,112 Ian Hodder,113 and Brian Hayden114 suggested that religious and socio-ideological changes prompted the domestication of  plants and animals, and tried to reconstruct the content of early Neolithic religion and ideology. But their conclusions were based upon a projection of much later conditions back into early Holocene societies and are thus highly speculative. I will argue that the mediality of, and the emotions evoked by, the symbolism of the early Holocene societies can tell us much about those societies’ mental conditions. In  the Middle and Upper Euphrates and Tigris regions at the beginning of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A, a fairly standardized repertoire of architectural and figurative symbols appears. In  the southern Levant, the elaborate plastered skull burials point to  large networks of  communication from the southern Dead Sea to  the Damascus Basin. An increase in  the permanence of  symbolism and its public display, as  well as  an increased investment of   labour and time in  symbolic activities (architecture, rituals, figurative art) can be observed. On the basis of  new anthropological and neurobiological research, I will argue that this increased use of   symbolism not only created a  corporate identity above the group level, but it was also a first step toward the institutionalisation of  moral and social codes, and toward authority, domination, and ultimately religion.

112

Cauvin, Naissance des Divinités – Naissance de l’Agriculture. Hodder, The Domestication of  Europe. 114 Hayden, ‘Contrasting Expectations in  Theories of   Domestication’, pp. 11–19. 113

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