"The end of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic in the middle Euphrates Valley. The lithic assemblages of Mezraa Teleilat, southeastern Turkey
by Coskunsu, Guner, Ph.D., HARVARD UNIVERSITY, 2007, 610 pages; 3298782
The thesis explores the nature of the transitional period from Pre-Pottery to the Pottery Neolithic period through detailed analysis of the flint and obsidian assemblages of Mezraa Teleilat, a mound on the bank of the Euphrates Valley, in southeastern Turkey.
The rapid decline of Pre-Pottery Neolithic B entities in the Levant, a phase also known as the PPNC, caused a stratigraphic gap in many sites. Hence, the chronological and the cultural record of the ‘transition’ remains poorly known and is interpreted as either recording a cultural continuity or a cultural disruption, recently called “the PPNB collapse”.
Only at a few sites among many Neolithic excavations provide evidence for occupation during these two periods and can potentially elucidate the nature of the cultural transition. Mezraa Teleilat is a large mound where major exposures were excavated producing rich PPN and Pottery Neolithic deposits. Thus the site has the potentials to resolve the riddle of the “cultural transition”. Given the stratigraphic observations and architectural remains the lithic assemblages of Mezraa Teleilat were worthy of an in-depth lithic investigation.
In order to achieve the aims of the thesis I analyzed lithics from the three Neolithic phases in the site including phases in the site including the LPPNB Phase IV, the middle Phase III is considered as the “Transitional phase” and the uppermost (Phase II) is of Pottery Neolithic age.
Raw material, technological, and typological analysis of flint and obsidian chipped stones uncovered two methods of lithic production at Mezraa Teleilat: local and non-local. Local production was attested by the technical attributes of most flint debitage and tools. Non-local production characterizes all obsidian and a few flint tools. Both types of production continued from Late PPNB to the PN.
In addition to the stratigraphic evidence and radiometric dates, technological, typological, and spatial analysis of lithic assemblage also demonstrate that Mezraa Teleilat was not abandoned until the end of the PN. Indeed, the cultural continuity of seemingly the same population that lasted for several centuries, from the late 9th to early 8th millennia is demonstrated by the current study."