Sites & cities that bear the name of Teleilat el Ghassul

Teleilat el Ghassul

Today in : Jordan
First trace of activity : ca. 4,400 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 3,500 B.C.E
Recorded names : Tulaylât al-Ghassûl

Description : Teleilat el Ghassul (Tulaylât al-Ghassûl) is the site of several small hillocks containing the remains of a number of Neolithic and Chalcolithic villages in Jordan. It is the type-site of the Ghassulian culture, which flourished in the Southern Levant during the Middle and Late Chalcolithic period (c. 4400 – c. 3500 BC). It is located in the lower eastern Jordan Valley, opposite and a little to the south of Jericho and 5-6 kilometers northeast of the Dead Sea. Teleilat el Ghassul was occupied for a relatively long period of time during the Chalcolitic era - 8 successive Chalcolithic phases of occupation were identified there, most of them belonging to the Ghassulian culture. Late-Neolithic Architecture The earlier, Late Neolithic settlers, built semi-subterranean, ovoid houses, that contained a single room. Most of one such housing unit was excavated by Hennessy, suggesting its dimensions were around 4 x 2.5 meters. The lower parts of the walls were made of pisé, with upperworks of less permanent materials. Also, exterior storage pits, patches of pebble paving and semi permanent built features were discovered, suggesting a modest sophistication of the external built environment. Chalcolithic Architecture It was concluded that Teleilat el Ghassul had been the site of several small Chalcolithic villages that subsisted on agriculture and on animal husbandry. Their houses were rectilinear, built of manually shaped dried mud bricks laid on stone foundations. The houses had yards and rooms of various sized which contained different appliances. They display an increased sophistication over time, in construction techniques, in building size and built fittings - internal and external - and a growing regulation and sequestration of exterior spaces. Chalcolithic Tools and Pottery Many flint tools were discovered in Teleilat el Ghassul, mainly axes, hoes and sickles, which had probably been used for agriculture. Particularly worthy of note are the fan scrapers - a flat flint tool shaped as a fan - which were mainly used for skinning and butchering animals, and for hide working, but possibly also for working bone and for cutting wood. They may have also had ritualistic significance. The pottery assemblage is particularly rich, utilizing different shapes and decorations. Also, a vessel that was probably used as a butter churn was found on site. It is a large, broad, vessel, with a handle at each end. Much of the Ghassulian pottery was made standing on mats, which left an imprint of the mat design on the bottom of the vessels.

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