Widl Raba I Qatifian [

{*) Generalized cultural- ; historical sequence that does not address unresolved regional variation

Figure 3! Different cultural-historicalorganizational schemes for the Near Eastern Neolithic.

ment of the chronological-historicalterm Pre-Pottery Neolithic and on how radiocarbon data are reported in these essays. In the next few years it is likely that our understanding and reconstruction of cultural-historical sequences for the Neolithic of the Near East will be revised and refined through the calibration of all radiocarbon dates for the Aceramic Neolithic. This development will unquestionably render some of the debate on chronological sequences obsolete, and it should help us define individual periods of time and their time length and, perhaps most importantly, resolve existing data gaps. It will also allow us to determine how existing chronological sequences for the Near East are linked to "plateaus"in radiocarbon curves that hinder detailed chronological resolution (Bar-Yosef and Meadow 1995). It is, however, not possible to realistically anticipate such future changes; hence, it is necessary to present all cited dates in this volume in uncalibrated radiocarbon years before 1950, employing the 5,568-year half-life.

For readers not familiar with the cultural-historical framework of the Near East, it will probably come as somewhat of a surprise to learn that, despite Dame Kenyon's original intention, the term Pre-Pottery Neolithic does not suggest that ceramics were absent. Subsequent to the proposal and adoption of this cultural-historical sequence, archaeologicalfield research has illustrated that in the PPNC-Final Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period fired clay was employed, albeit in a very limited way. While this labeling system is therefore somewhat ironic, the authors in this volume continue to employ the term Pre-Pottery Neolithic for reasons of historical precedent and continuity in the literature. Ultimately, the documentation of limited ceramic materials for this period does not diminish the utility of this organizational framework as long as one is willing to recognize that the term is employed in a way that is more flexible than originally envisioned. (See Bar-Yosef 1991; Cauvin 1987; Moore 1985; Rollefson 1989 for more detailed discussions.)

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