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Classics Presents... Dr. Lisa Maher: "Persistent Place-Making in Prehistory..."

Monday, January 24, 2022
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

Lisa Maher, University of California, Berkeley

Persistent Place-Making in Prehistory: the Creation, Maintenance, and Transformation of Landscapes in Southwest Asia (and Beyond)
Few cultural developments have been as well-studied as when people began living in villages and producing their own food. Yet in Southwest Asia, during the preceding ten thousand years of prehistory, Epipalaeolithic (23,000-11,500 cal BP) hunter-gatherers initiated and experienced dramatic cultural transformations that included building the earliest permanent houses and villages, storing food, developing a rich and diverse artistic repertoire, establishing wide-ranging social networks, intensifying plant use, domesticating animals, and creating strong ties to specific places in the landscape as evidenced by some of the world’s earliest aggregation sites and cemeteries. These hunter-gatherer groups had highly complex, knowledgeable and dynamic relationships with their local environments. Ongoing work in Jordan and Cyprus is revising our knowledge of these periods with evidence that markers of social complexity have an earlier foundation and challenging our long-held assumptions about how hunter-gatherers here perceived and constructed spaces and places, and the intersections between them. Investigation of human-environment interactions, the role of technological knowledge in creating social networks, the use of large-scale aggregation sites, and symbolic features of human burials, for example...

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