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The oldest evidence of food storage rituals has been found by researchers from the University of Haifa and the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Berlin during excavations at the prehistoric site of Tel Tsaf: an unusual pottery vessel. The vessel, which is over 7,000 years old, reveals for the first time the ritual and political significance of large scale food storage in the Ancient Near East.
"Until now, discussions of the early transition to complex societies in this area have focused mainly on later periods and on the connection between the development of socioeconomic elites and the ability of certain individuals or families to store large quantities of food, beyond their own needs for survival. In this context, the findings at Tel Tsaf provide first hand evidence of the early connection between food storage on a large scale and the observance of a ritual associated with the successful storage and preservation of agricultural yields," explains Prof. Danny Rosenberg of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa, who heads the research project at Tel Tsaf together with Dr. Florian Klimscha from the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin for the last five years.
Tel - Tsaf - Site - Jordan - Valley
Tel Tsaf archaeological site is located in the Jordan Valley, at the Jordan River and Israel's border with the Kingdom of Jordan. The site was first documented in the late 1940s and has been excavated since the late 1970s, and later in 2004-2007. Since 2013, Rosenberg and Klimscha lead a multidisciplinary project at the site, one that focuses on the site's economy and its ancient environment, with the assistance of an international team of experts and the use of advanced scientific methods.
Of the unique findings at Tel Tsaf, notable are the numerous silos used for large-scale grain storage, found in the courtyards of the buildings. The silos are...
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