Prepottery Neolithic C Period Ppnc

Although more than 800 m2 of PPNC deposits have been exposed at 'Ain Ghazal, they have been sampled deeply only for ca. 220 m2 in the South and North Fields. Despite the small sample for the LPPNB, there are clear differences in ritual activity in the first half of the eighth millennium bp.

Only a handful of figurines have been recovered from PPNC contexts, including at least eight humans, four identifiable animals (one each of cattle, sheep, goat, and equid; all but the last were domesticated species by the PPNC period), and about a dozen unidentifiable fragments. This paltry number contrasts sharply with the MPPNB, suggesting either that figurines played a different role or that they may have been disposed of differently.

One of the human figurines is a fertility statuette elegantly carved in pink limestone. The head is missing, as is the case with most PPNB specimens, and the preserved length is 13.5 cm (Figure 10). Whether "decapitated" fertility figurines are characteristic for the PPNC cannot be determined on this singular basis (no other fertility figurines are known for this phase), and it is possible that this particular piece may originally have derived from an LPPNB layer disturbed by PPNC inhabitants. The context of this figurine is intriguing: it lay facedown atop a small (ca. 20 x 20 cm) stone "platform" that was uphill of a line of smaller stone slabs that climbed stepwise uphill over a distance of more than a meter. The ensemble would appear to represent a miniature shrine, although in this case the "steps," "altar," and figurine assemblage could be the creation of children mimicking a scene borrowed from their elders.

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