Introduction

However one chooses to define cultural complexity (e.g., Flannery 1972a; Service 1978;McGuire 1983),there was a time not so long ago when expectations concerning Neolithic lifeways were that they were anything but complex. Thus, the large size of the then newly discovered Neolithic sites of Jericho (Kenyon 1957) and CatalHoyuk (Mellaart 1967) was genuinely surprising, as were the public structures they contained and the elaborate ritual life they evidenced. Since then there has developed an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the factors producing cultural complexity in hitherto simpler societies (e.g., Price and Brown 1985;Upham 1990). This has produced the expectation that at least some minimal level of social complexity is present in virtually any sedentary society. Now, even the possible

MICHAEL rosenberg • Department of Anthropology, University Parallel Program, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19716. RICHARD w. redding • Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109.

Life in Neolithic Farming Communities: Social Organization, Identity, and Differentiation, edited by Ian Kuijt. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, 2000.

existence of hereditary status distinctions in the Levantine Natufian is the subject of legitimate debate (pro: Henry 1989; Wright 1978;con: Byrd and Monahan 1995;Kuijt 1996;Olszewski 1991).

General expectations, however, are not the same as a clear understanding of the specific configuration social complexity took at a given site or in a given prehistoric culture. This is no minor point, given recent suggestions that social forces-themselves implicitly predicated on the existence of a specific sociopolitical and economic milieu-were a factor in the development of both sedentary lifeways and food production (e.g., Bender 1978, 1985; Blanton and Taylor 1995;Hayden 1990, 1992; see also Marquardt 1985).Unfortunately, such a clear understanding of social specifics is generally lacking for Neolithic sites in southwestern Asia, both individually and collectively. This is because, with only a few very recent exceptions (e.g., Byrd 1994; Kuijt 1995), archaeologists investigating Neolithic social structure have tended to focus primarily on evidence for hereditary status distinctions and similar proxies for emergent political complexity (e.g., Henry 1989;Wright 1978). In keeping with the general theme of this volume, this chapter focuses on the general structure and organization of the society that once inhabited Hallan £emi, a proto-Neolithic site in the Taurus foothills of eastern Anatolia.

Hallan £emi is the oldest fully settled village site thus far known from eastern Anatolia. It represents the remains of an essentially sedentary hunter-gatherer society, albeit one on the threshold of animal domestication, that inhabited the upper reaches of the Tigris toward the end of the eleventh millennium bp (uncalibrated). More to the point, Hallan £emihas yielded an interesting array of material remains relating to the possible structure and organization of the society that once inhabited it (see Rosenberg and Davis 1992; Rosenberg 1994a, 1994c;Rosenberg et al., 1995).

Of particular interest are the elements strongly suggesting that the site's inhabitants engaged in recurrent activities involving the conspicuous, formalized preparation and consumption of food—in other words, feasting (see Hayden 1995).Of even greater interest are the other elements suggesting that any such feasting was less a medium of competition than one for establishing cooperative relationships in an otherwise highly competitive environment (cf. Rosenberg n.d.). That is, they suggest that any such feasting was more in the Yanomamo mold (see Chagnon 1983) than in the form proposed by Hayden (1990, 1992).

Finally, the site data suggest that the community that once inhabited this site already exhibited at least rudimentary forms of the organizational features that characterize the later, fully developed Neolithic societies of the region. This is despite Hallan ^emi's relatively small size and generally proto-Neolithic economy. That, in turn, suggests that the basic structure of

Neolithic societies emerged during the very earliest stages of the trend toward the development of food producing economies (i.e., with sedentism), not differentially in tandem with a growing dependence on food production (see Rosenberg 1994b). The reason for this is apparently that such organizational features are necessary for sedentary life, whatever type of subsistence base it is predicated on.

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