Publications by authors named "Gideon Hartman"

10 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Climate stability and societal decline on the margins of the Byzantine empire in the Negev Desert.

Sci Rep 2020 01 30;10(1):1512. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, 199 Aba-Hushi Avenue, Haifa, 3498838, Israel.

Understanding past human settlement of inhospitable regions is one of the most intriguing puzzles in archaeological research, with implications for more sustainable use of marginal regions today. During the Byzantine period in the 4 century CE, large settlements were established in the arid region of the Negev Desert, Israel, but it remains unclear why it did so, and why the settlements were abandoned three centuries later. Previous theories proposed that the Negev was a "green desert" in the early 1 millennium CE, and that the Byzantine Empire withdrew from this region due to a dramatic climatic downturn. In the absence of a local climate archive correlated to the Byzantine/Early Islamic transition, testing this theory has proven challenging. We use stable isotopic indicators of animal dietary and mobility patterns to assess the extent of the vegetative cover in the desert. By doing so, we aim to detect possible climatic fluctuations that may have led to the abandonment of the Byzantine settlements. The findings show that the Negev Desert was not greener during the time period under investigation than it is today and that the composition of the animals' diets, as well as their grazing mobility patterns, remained unchanged through the Byzantine/Early Islamic transition. Favoring a non-climatic explanation, we propose instead that the abandonment of the Negev Byzantine settlements was motivated by restructuring of the Empire's territorial priorities.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-58360-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6992700PMC
January 2020

Geochemical Evidence for the Control of Fire by Middle Palaeolithic Hominins.

Sci Rep 2019 10 25;9(1):15368. Epub 2019 Oct 25.

Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA.

The use of fire played an important role in the social and technological development of the genus Homo. Most archaeologists agree that this was a multi-stage process, beginning with the exploitation of natural fires and ending with the ability to create fire from scratch. Some have argued that in the Middle Palaeolithic (MP) hominin fire use was limited by the availability of fire in the landscape. Here, we present a record of the abundance of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), organic compounds that are produced during the combustion of organic material, from Lusakert Cave, a MP site in Armenia. We find no correlation between the abundance of light PAHs (3-4 rings), which are a major component of wildfire PAH emissions and are shown to disperse widely during fire events, and heavy PAHs (5-6 rings), which are a major component of particulate emissions of burned wood. Instead, we find heavy PAHs correlate with MP artifact density at the site. Given that hPAH abundance correlates with occupation intensity rather than lPAH abundance, we argue that MP hominins were able to control fire and utilize it regardless of the variability of fires in the environment. Together with other studies on MP fire use, these results suggest that the ability of hominins to manipulate fire independent of exploitation of wildfires was spatially variable in the MP and may have developed multiple times in the genus Homo.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-51433-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6814844PMC
October 2019

Isotopic Evidence for Early Trade in Animals between Old Kingdom Egypt and Canaan.

PLoS One 2016 20;11(6):e0157650. Epub 2016 Jun 20.

Bar-Ilan University, Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, Ramat Gan, Israel.

Isotope data from a sacrificial ass and several ovicaprines (sheep/goat) from Early Bronze Age household deposits at Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel provide direct evidence for the movement of domestic draught/draft and husbandry animals between Old Kingdom Egypt (during the time of the Pyramids) and Early Bronze Age III Canaan (ca. 2900-2500 BCE). Vacillating, bi-directional connections between Egypt and Canaan are known throughout the Early Bronze Age, but here we provide the first concrete evidence of early trade in animals from Egypt to Canaan.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0157650PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4913912PMC
July 2017

Hunted gazelles evidence cooling, but not drying, during the Younger Dryas in the southern Levant.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2016 Apr 28;113(15):3997-4002. Epub 2016 Mar 28.

Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269;

The climatic downturn known globally as the Younger Dryas (YD; ∼12,900-11,500 BP) has frequently been cited as a prime mover of agricultural origins and has thus inspired enthusiastic debate over its local impact. This study presents seasonal climatic data from the southern Levant obtained from the sequential sampling of gazelle tooth carbonates from the Early and Late Natufian archaeological sites of Hayonim and Hilazon Tachtit Caves (western Galilee, Israel). Our results challenge the entrenched model that assumes that warm temperatures and high precipitation are synonymous with climatic amelioration and cold and wet conditions are combined in climatic downturns. Enamel carbon isotope values from teeth of human-hunted gazelle dating before and during the YD provide a proxy measure for water availability during plant growth. They reveal that although the YD was cooler, it was not drier than the preceding Bølling-Allerød. In addition, the magnitude of the seasonal curve constructed from oxygen isotopes is significantly dampened during the YD, indicating that cooling was most pronounced in the growing season. Cool temperatures likely affected the productivity of staple wild cereal resources. We hypothesize that human groups responded by shifting settlement strategies-increasing population mobility and perhaps moving to the warmer Jordan Valley where wild cereals were more productive and stable.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1519862113DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4839398PMC
April 2016

Early Upper Paleolithic chronology in the Levant: new ABOx-SC accelerator mass spectrometry results from the Mughr el-Hamamah Site, Jordan.

J Hum Evol 2015 Aug 12;85:157-73. Epub 2015 Jun 12.

Department of Anthropology, Emory University, 207 Anthropology Building, 1557 Dickey Dr., Atlanta, GA, 30322, USA.

Methodological developments and new paleoanthropological data remain jointly central to clarifying the timing and systemic interrelationships between the Middle-Upper Paleolithic (MP-UP) archaeological transition and the broadly contemporaneous anatomically modern human-archaic biological turnover. In the recently discovered cave site of Mughr el-Hamamah, Jordan, in situ flint artifacts comprise a diagnostic early Upper Paleolithic (EUP) assemblage. Unusually well-preserved charcoal from hearths and other anthropogenic features associated with the lithic material were subjected to acid-base-wet oxidation-stepped combustion (ABOx-SC) pretreatment. This article presents the ABOx-SC accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates on nine charcoal specimens from a single palimpsest occupation layer. Date calibration was carried out using the INTCAL13 radiocarbon calibration dataset. With the bulk of the material dating to 45-39 ka cal BP (thousands of years calibrated before present), the Mughr el-Hamamah lithic artifacts reveal important differences from penecontemporaneous sites in the region, documenting greater technological variability than previously known for this time frame in the Levant. The radiocarbon data from this EUP archaeological context highlight remaining challenges for increasing chronological precision in documenting the MP-UP transition.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.04.008DOI Listing
August 2015

Isotopic evidence for Last Glacial climatic impacts on Neanderthal gazelle hunting territories at Amud Cave, Israel.

J Hum Evol 2015 Jul 7;84:71-82. Epub 2015 May 7.

Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, Leipzig D-04103, Germany; Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, 6303 NW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC V6T1Z1, Canada.

The Middle Paleolithic site of Amud Cave, Israel, was occupied by Neanderthals at two different time periods, evidenced by two chronologically and stratigraphically distinct depositional sub-units (B4 and B2/B1) during MIS 4 and MIS 3, respectively. The composition of both hunted large fauna and naturally-deposited micromammalian taxa is stable at the site over time, despite a ∼ 10 ky gap between the two occupation phases. However, while gazelle is the most ubiquitous hunted species throughout the occupation, isotopic analysis showed that there is a marked change in Neanderthal hunting ranges between the early (B4) and late (B2/B1) phases. Hunting ranges were reconstructed by comparing oxygen, carbon, and strontium isotopes from gazelle tooth enamel with modern isotope data from the Amud Cave region. This region is characterized by extensive topographic, lithological, and pedological heterogeneity. During the early occupation phase negative oxygen isotope values, low radiogenic (87)Sr/(86)Sr ratios, and low Sr concentrations reveal restricted gazelle hunting in the high elevations west of Amud Cave. In the late occupation phase, hunting ranges became more diverse, but concentrate at low elevations closer to the site. Climatic proxies indicate that conditions were drier in the early occupation phase, which may have pushed gazelle populations into higher, more productive foraging areas. This study showed that Neanderthals adjusted their hunting territories considerably in relation to varying environmental conditions over the course of occupation in Amud Cave. It highlights the utility of multiple isotope analysis in enhancing the resolution of behavioral interpretations based on faunal remains and in reconstructing past hunting behaviors of Paleolithic hominins.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.03.008DOI Listing
July 2015

Metacarpal head biomechanics: a comparative backscattered electron image analysis of trabecular bone mineral density in Pan troglodytes, Pongo pygmaeus, and Homo sapiens.

J Hum Evol 2011 Jun 12;60(6):703-10. Epub 2011 Feb 12.

Department of Anthropology, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station C3200, Austin, TX 78712-0303, United States.

Great apes and humans use their hands in fundamentally different ways, but little is known about joint biomechanics and internal bone variation. This study examines the distribution of mineral density in the third metacarpal heads in three hominoid species that differ in their habitual joint postures and loading histories. We test the hypothesis that micro-architectural properties relating to bone mineral density reflect habitual joint use. The third metacarpal heads of Pan troglodytes, Pongo pygmaeus, and Homo sapiens were sectioned in a sagittal plane and imaged using backscattered electron microscopy (BSE-SEM). For each individual, 72 areas of subarticular cortical (subchondral) and trabecular bone were sampled from within 12 consecutive regions of the BSE-SEM images. In each area, gray levels (representing relative mineralization density) were quantified. Results show that chimpanzee, orangutan, and human metacarpal III heads have different gray level distributions. Weighted mean gray levels (WMGLs) in the chimpanzee showed a distinct pattern in which the 'knuckle-walking' regions (dorsal) and 'climbing' regions (palmar) are less mineralized, interpreted to reflect elevated remodeling rates, than the distal regions. Pongo pygmaeus exhibited the lowest WMGLs in the distal region, suggesting elevated remodeling rates in this region, which is loaded during hook grip hand postures associated with suspension and climbing. Differences among regions within metacarpal heads of the chimpanzee and orangutan specimens are significant (Kruskal-Wallis, p < 0.001). In humans, whose hands are used for manipulation as opposed to locomotion, mineralization density is much more uniform throughout the metacarpal head. WMGLs were significantly (p < 0.05) lower in subchondral compared to trabecular regions in all samples except humans. This micro-architectural approach offers a means of investigating joint loading patterns in primates and shows significant differences in metacarpal joint biomechanics among great apes and humans.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2011.01.002DOI Listing
June 2011

Reconstructing Mid-Pleistocene paleovegetation and paleoclimate in the Golan Heights using the δ(13)C values of modern vegetation and soil organic carbon of paleosols.

Authors:
Gideon Hartman

J Hum Evol 2011 Apr;60(4):452-63

Max Planck institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Human Evolution, Deutscher Platz 6, Leipzig 04103, Germany.

The Golan Heights borders the Upper Jordan Valley on its eastern side and likely served as a prime foraging area for hominin groups that inhabited the Upper Jordan Valley during the Mid-Pleistocene. This study tests the hypothesis that Mid-Pleistocene climate in the Golan region was similar to that of the present day. Carbon isotope composition of present day plant communities and soil organic carbon from the Golan were compared to those of paleosols from Nahal Orvim to reconstruct Mid-Pleistocene paleoclimatic conditions. After correcting the paleosol values for recent changes in atmospheric carbon isotope values and potential biodegradation, the isotopic results show a strong similarity to those of present day local plants and soils. These results indicate that during the Mid-Pleistocene, the Golan was dominated by C(3) vegetation, shared similar climatic conditions with the present day, and displayed long-term environmental stability. The span of time of paleosol formation is unknown and might cover multiple climatic episodes; thus, although short climatic fluctuations may have occurred, their impact was not substantial enough to be detected in the Nahal Orvim paleosols. This study concludes that the Golan slopes provided hominins and large grazers with a reliable and highly nutritious foraging area that complemented the Jordan Valley riparian ecosystem.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2010.08.001DOI Listing
April 2011

Spatial organization of hominin activities at Gesher Benot Ya'aqov, Israel.

Science 2009 Dec;326(5960):1677-80

Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel.

The spatial designation of discrete areas for different activities reflects formalized conceptualization of a living space. The results of spatial analyses of a Middle Pleistocene Acheulian archaeological horizon (about 750,000 years ago) at Gesher Benot Ya'aqov, Israel, indicate that hominins differentiated their activities (stone knapping, tool use, floral and faunal processing and consumption) across space. These were organized in two main areas, including multiple activities around a hearth. The diversity of human activities and the distinctive patterning with which they are organized implies advanced organizational skills of the Gesher Benot Ya'aqov hominins.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1180695DOI Listing
December 2009

Isotopic values of plants in relation to water availability in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Oecologia 2010 Apr 3;162(4):837-52. Epub 2009 Dec 3.

Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.

Plant C and N isotope values often correlate with rainfall on global and regional scales. This study examines the relationship between plant isotopic values and rainfall in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The results indicate significant correlations between both C and N isotope values and rainfall in C(3) plant communities. This significant relationship is maintained when plant communities are divided by plant life forms. Furthermore, a seasonal increase in C isotope values is observed during the dry season while N isotope values remain stable across the wet and dry seasons. Finally, the isotopic pattern in plants originating from desert environments differs from those from Mediterranean environments because some desert plants obtain most of their water from secondary sources, namely water channeled by local topographic features rather than direct rainfall. From these results it can be concluded that water availability is the primary factor controlling C and N isotope variability in plant communities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-009-1514-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841277PMC
April 2010