Early Neolithic Southern Levant

From Anarchy In Action

In the Southern Levant's Pre-Pottery Neolithic period from around 10,500-6000 BCE, there appears to be an absence of gender hierarchy and class stratification. Grave goods are rare and, when present, do not signify different ritual treatment of men's and women's bodies. Skeletal remains suggest that men and women had similar amounts of work and similar levels of overall health. Figurines mostly portray women, consistent with other known Neolithic egalitarian societies.

Jane Peterson writes in Near Eastern Archaeology: "Altogether, the multiple lines of data here do not offer evidence of gender hierarchy among Pre-Pottery Neolithic societies in the southern Levant. Men and women jointly participated in physically demanding activities. There is no evidence indicative of one sex dominating or controlling production. Neither is there evidence of increasing spatial segregation of the sexes in either domestic or mortuary contexts. Examinations of grave goods and mortuary treatments indicate that men and women shared access to ritual realms critical to status and prestige."[1]

  1. Jane Peterson, "Woman’s share in Neolithic society: a view from the Southern Levant," Near Eastern Archaeology 79 (3): 132– 9.