Wadi hammeh 27 dating
But this rarely happened in transient camps – and it didn’t happen at all in Wadi Hammeh 27.
There the researchers found about half a million pieces of rubbish, including broken pestles and mortars, food scraps, stone chips from tool-making, and even the enigmatic remains of burnt human skulls (Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, vol 23, p 253).
But precisely when and why people made this transition is the subject of fierce debate.
“Virtually every possible explanation has been advanced,” says archaeologist Philip Edwards of La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.
Concepts of refuse behavior and site abandonment have been developed that show potential to distinguish degrees of mobility and sedentism among past human communities.
As well as ways to dispose of the garbage, of course.
He suspects that the people living at Wadi Hammeh 27 spent some of the year, particularly the hot, harsh summers, in higher, cooler regions.
Fast-forward a few thousand years to nearby sites of the early Neolithic period, and you find evidence of elementary efforts at rubbish disposal, as well as the first clear signs of agriculture.
Working out when people began to stay in the same place all year round is crucial, he says, and not only for exploring the origins of agriculture.
“The emergence of sedentism had such a profound impact on all aspects of life.