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Lost for words: an extraordinary structure at the early Neolithic settlement of WF16

Mithen, S. (2020) Lost for words: an extraordinary structure at the early Neolithic settlement of WF16. Humanities and Social Science Communications, 7 (1). 125. ISSN 2662-9992

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1057/s41599-020-00615-7


Extraordinariness is a useful concept for everyday life and for academic research, frequently invoked within archaeology. In this contribution I explore how this term might be defined and whether it is appropriate for a large early Neolithic structure excavated at the site of WF16 in the southern Levant, dating to c. 11,200 BP. I draw on research regarding categorisation, concepts and their relationships to words, to suggest that Structure O75 can usefully be considered as ‘extraordinary’ because it does not comfortably fit into a category of finds currently used by Neolithic archaeologists. To do so, a brief review of the history of Neolithic research is required because that has shaped the categories that archaeologists bring to the archaeological record and hence what might be viewed as either ordinary or extraordinary discoveries. I conclude that extraordinary objects such as Structure O75 are likely to have played an active role in the conceptual and linguistic developments that was associated with the transition from mobile hunting and gathering to sedentary farming communities.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:93433
Publisher:Springer Nature


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