Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic gazelle hunting in the Badia of north-east Jordan. Reconstruction of seasonal movements of herds by stable isotope and dental microwear analyses

Elizabeth Henton, Joe Roe, Louise Martin, Andrew Garrard, Oliver Boles, Jamie Lewis, Matthew Thirlwall, and Anne-Lise Jourdon
Levant 50(1): 1–13
doi:10.1080/00758914.2019.1598764

Abstract

In the north-east Jordan steppe, gazelle were of considerable economic importance to human groups during the Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic. An influential model argues that gazelle herds migrated through the region and were only seasonally available to hunters. This study tests that model, asking whether gazelle were indeed highly seasonally mobile during these time frames, or whether they could have remained more local, adapted to periodically resource-rich habitats, and thus been available to hunters throughout the year. Interpretation of animal location, diet and season, through stable isotope analyses and microwear studies of archaeological gazelle teeth from ten chronologically and spatially varied sites, suggests herds did not migrate. Rather, gazelle appear to have had relatively local year-round habitats in the steppe during the Epipalaeolithic at least, while possibly ranging further and becoming more mobile in the Neolithic.

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