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Tel Tsaf and the Impact of the Ubaid Culture on the Southern Levant: Interpreting the Radiocarbon Evidence

Katharina Streit, Yosef Garfinkel


A data set of 18 radiocarbon dates from the domestic quarter and the well at Tel Tsaf provide conclusive evidence for the absolute dating of this Middle Chalcolithic site. Bayesian modeling suggests that the site was occupied in the last quarter of the 6th millennium BC and abandoned in the first quarter of the 5th millennium. The absolute dating of Tel Tsaf has further implications for the synchronization of the protohistory of the Levant. The ceramic assemblage of Tel Tsaf included delicately painted ceramic sherds (so-called Tel Tsaf ware), which are distinct from the common plain ware. Comparable motifs have been identified in ceramic assemblages of contemporary Ubaid sites such as Tell Mashnaqa, Tell Zeidan, Tell el-Abr, and Hammam et-Turkan IV in northern Mesopotamia. Tel Tsaf is a rare example of a little researched connection between the Ubaid culture and the Middle Chalcolithic of the southern Levant. The findings of Tel Tsaf expand the southwestern border of the Ubaid sphere of influence and shed new light on long-distance interaction in protohistory.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_rc.57.18200


Middle Chalcolithic; chronology; Ubaid

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