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ubiquitous, during the PPNA and PPNB. Recently it has been demonstrated that the tradition originated during the Late Natufian (Belfer-Cohen 1990). However, though rarer, there seems to be some evidence to indicate that it may have even begun sporadically during the Early Natufian, based upon Erq el-Ahmar, Mallaha (e.g., the skull of Homo 37 on the floor of Shelter 1), and 'Ainel-Saratan (Garrard 1991;Neuville 1951;Perrot and Ladiray 1988).

Seemingly applied in roughly equal proportions to male and female adults, there is solid evidence to indicate that it was applied to children and even neonatals, albeit less ubiquitous, from at least the PPNA (indicative of ascribed status). More elaborate treatment of a minority of (adult) skulls clearly reached a zenith during the Middle to Late PPNB, paralleling the increased sizes of some communities. This is one of the few obvious expressions of some form of ranking or hierarchy (attained status), interpreted as representing a cult of the "ancestors"or "heroes.'Many discussions focus exclusively upon the striking modeled or plastered skulls. While some physical anthropologists have argued that such treatment is exclusively reserved for males, others have suggested that women were also so treated. It has also been suggested that these individuals are more markedly brachycepha-lic than their contemporary population, and that there is an attempt to emphasize a gerontocracy (Arensburg and Hershkovitz 1989). I would venture that, while young males were certainly so treated, the status of women is open to debate. There is, however, little, if any, solid evidence for an emphasis on elder members of the community. In vivo skull deformation by bandaging or headgear may also account for some of the seeming pathological features, e.g. Bouqras (Meiklejohn et al.1992).

Indeed many studies have tended to overlook the variety of mortuary treatments accorded during the PPNB, which include

1. Primary burial with no skull removal (interestingly absent at Kfar haHoresh).

2. Primary burial with subsequent skull removal.

3. Caches of skulls either singly or in "nests"of variable numbers.

4. The daubing of pigment, whether black or red, upon the vault, as at PPNB 'Ain Ghazal. While no modeled skulls have been forthcoming to date from PPNA contexts, the daubing of pigment already occurs on a male adult in the Early Natufian at Ein el-Saratan (Garrard 1991).

5. The application of "wigs"or headgear of some resinous or bituminous substance, but no treatment of the facial region, as documented to date only from Nahal Hemar (perhaps due to taphonomic processes of preservation).

6. The full modeling of facial features in lime plaster and other materials but with the vault seemingly untreated, as known from Jericho,

Ramad, Beisamoun, 'Ain Ghazal, and, most recently, Kfar HaHoresh. In light of the Nahal Hemar skulls, the question arises as to whether the plastered skulls were originally adorned with some form of wig or cap of perishable material.

7. Secondary burial of disarticulated or partially articulated (usually postcranial) remains, commonly of several individuals. The contents beneath the plastered surface at Kfar HaHoresh and the charnel houses and sanctuaries at Nevali Cori and Cayonu represent obvious examples. However, the practice commonly appears elsewhere in less obvious contexts, e.g.Beisamoun Locus 188. Such treatment also occurs as early as the Late Natufian at Mallaha Graves 9 and 10 (Perrot and Ladiray 1988:85), Hayonim Cave Grave V (where, interestingly, the contents include a cache of mandibles; see Belfer-Cohen 1990),and even at El-Wad and Erq el-Ahmar.

Such varied and differential postmortem treatments during the PPNB would appear to represent some form of social and/or ritual ranking, the only obvious evidence to date for any manner of hierarchical ordering within the community, though to what extent it reflects status of the deceased premortem in the living community is moot.

Favissae as Repositories for Modeled Skulls

The possibility exists that those individuals designated for more elaborate treatment than simple skull removal were subsequently deposited in specially constructed installations. Whether these favissa at Kfar HaHoresh represent the final repositories for the skulls at the end of their "reincarnated life cycle" (see also Garfinkel 1994) or, perhaps more plausibly, whether they acted as temporary storage facilities while the modeled skulls were still 'incirculation' presently remains unclear. If Kfar HaHoresh functioned primarily as a ritual center, then it is likely that ceremonies utilizing the skulls were periodic and/or seasonal.

Although the precise setting of many of the plastered skulls at Jericho, Ramad, and 'AinGhazal remain vague (on and/or under floors, in installations, pits, though see Kuijt 1996), the two plastered skulls at Beisamoun were found in a vestibule at the back of the large rectangular structure, where several complete arrowheads were also recovered. In PPNA Netiv Hagdud some skulls were recovered from on the floor of a dwelling. What appears to be a somewhat similar, clay-coated installation to that at Kfar HaHoresh has been briefly described at 'Ain Ghazal (Simmons 1990). To date no conclusive evidence has been forthcoming concerning the placement or caching of detached skulls in Natufian contexts, beyond the afore mentioned skull (Homo 37) in front of the hearth of Shelter 1 at Mallaha (Perrot and Ladiray 1988).

Use of Lime Plaster to Integrate Profane and Symbolic Realms

The massive use of lime plaster for profane construction purposes is characteristic of most permanent PPNB settlements in the south-central Mediterranean Levant (Kingery et al. 1988; Goren and Goldberg 1991). As such it represents the first large-scale pyrotechnical production, probably manufactured on a family or clan basis. It has even been claimed that the technology was largely responsible for the ultimate demise of the PPNB, through major ecological degradation by deforestation for fuel and construction (Garfinkel 1987; Rollefson 1991; Rollefson and Kohler-Rollefson 1989). Though certainly a contributory factor, it is improbable that this was a primary cause. It has also been suggested that it probably reflects some form of social hierarchy (Garfinkel 1988). Its intensive use, involving considerable skill and investment of labor, is unrivaled until the Classical period. However, lime plaster probably also had a major symbolic significance, far beyond the mere utilitarian, as indicated by its elaborate use for modeling facial features on skulls and constructing large sculptures (Goren et al. n.d., 1993). Again, it is of interest to note that the earliest major use of lime plaster for construction purposes was in the Early Natufian, e.g.,the circular 'bench' in Shelter 1 at Eynan, on the floor of which a single skull was recovered. Though precise stratigraphic details are unclear this structure also overlays Cemetery A.

As noted, one of the subfloor inhumations at Kfar HaHoresh was sprinkled with lime plaster prior to construction of a surface (Fig. 9.6). CAT scans, thin sections, and other observations of both modeled skulls at Kfar HaHoresh have revealed that they were constructed in several elaborate stages, with at least three or four separate and distinctive mixtures applied to provide durability and to reach the desired final product (Figure 9.3). ,Bothmodeled skulls at Kfar HaHoresh appear to be directly associated with architectural plastered surfaces. And the sealing of burials by lime plaster is again common not only in the PPNB but also is documented in the Early Natufian. It seems plausible, then, to suggest that lime-plaster production may also be viewed as an attempt to simultaneously physically and symbolically segregate and integrate the realms of the quick and the dead.

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