The settlement at 'AinGhazal underwent an unprecedented history of uninterrupted habitation in the Levant for more than 2,000 years. During these
*See note, page 179.
two millennia, pressures on the once lucrative environment by a rapidly growing population of farmers and herders resulted in a series of adaptations in the overall cultural management of the landscape and the demands of the resident population. Ecological stresses within and beyond the 'Ain Ghazal territory necessarily involved accommodations in social organization. Ritual behavior is just one of the areas of social interaction that was affected, but like the architectural norms and subsistence economy at 'Ain Ghazal it underwent considerable change, to the point that by the end of the seventh millennium, a time traveler from the end of the ninth would have recognized little (if any) of the ritual forms.
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