In a belt of oak and pistachio woodlands. At an altitude of 800 m above sea-level. Lies a beautiful prehistoric community in the Adhaim river watershed. Excavations revealed that Jarmo was an agricultural community dating back to more than 9000 years ago. Proadly contemporary to other important Neolithic sites such as Jericho in the Southern Levant and Çatalhöyük in Anatolia. It is because it significantly provides evidence of the shift from a nomadic, hunting and gathering. To a more settled agricultural existence. The people at Jarmo were among the first to cultivate crops such as wheat and barley and to domesticate animals like goats. Because of there location in the river belt and shield in the foothills and mountains.
Discovery and excavation
The site was originally discovered by the Iraqi Directorate of Antiquities in 1940. It later became known to archaeologist Robert Braidwood from the University of Chicago Oriental Institute. At the time, he was looking for suitable places to research the origins of the Neolithic Revolution. And, post work with Henry Breasted on the ‘fertile crescent’. A junior Indiana jones. He worked the part of the Iraq-Jarmo programme for three years. In 1948, 1950–51 and 1954–55.
During the excavations in 1954–55. For the initial time, an interdisciplinary method was successfully used. Braidwood and his crew, were amongst the first to refine the research methods, and clarrify the domestication of both plants, and animals. And, research the buildings, pottery and design. Amongst his team, were a group of successful scientists. Geologists, paleo-botanists, experts in pottery and carbon dating, zoologists and others. It became a more common method (the interdisiplinary method). And, one many still look at and use today.
Exposed was a small village. Thru a number of layers
Covering an area of around 14000 m 2 was an area of about 25 houses. For the oldest levels. It had been carbon 14 dated to around 7090 BC; and, around 4950 for the more recent. It appeared to be one of the older, permanent Neolithic settlements. Along with sites Jericho, about 1000km west, and neolithic Shanidar slightly below. From the research. They seem to have reached a ‘high point’ 8200 to 7800 years ago. The 25 houses architecture had adobe walls, sun dried mud roofs. They rested on stone foundations, with a simple floor plan dug from the earth. This neolithic village, which is organized into clusters of houses made from the mud bricks. May have been more built for some of the climates, similarly to what you see in Canada and the US today. Wet and cold winters, with a hot dry summer. These structures are some of the earliest examples of human dwellings. Packed closely together and utilizing local resources available there. They offer early insights into the social organization and daily life of early agricultural communities.
History shows it was clearly a permanent settlement
Due to there age, the climate and time period. Dwellings were frequently repaired or rebuilt. In all, about 150 people lived in the village, which along with the farming. Kept them active and busy. It was clearly a permanent settlement. In the earlier phases, there’s a large amount of objects made from stone, older style silex,and obsidian. The signs of obsidian. Indicate this latter material was traded. Or obtained from a distance more than 300km away (approx 200 miles), at lake Van. Ornamental shells from the Persian Gulf were also found. And, in the oldest level baskets have even been found. Preserved due to the waterproof pitch, which is readily available in the area. In pistachio, almond and oak and similar trees.
Agriculture activity and cattle farming
For harvesting, preparing and storing food. Presence of stone sickles, cutters, bowls and other objects were found. But, there were also plates of engraved marble. In the later phases, instruments of bone, particularly perforating tools, like buttons and spoons, were found. Indicating a high skill set. Further research has shown villagers harvested wheat of two types, emmer and einkorn. There was a type of primitive barley and lentils. Species of wild plant: peas, acorns, carob seeds, pistachios and wild wheat. Snail shells were also abundant. And, it is known their diet, contained animals as well. They domesticated goats, sheep and dogs. On the higher levels of the site pigs have been found, together with the first evidence of pottery and ceramics.
Pottery and Ceramics. Jarmos important technological advancement in human history
Even at the most recent levels of excevation. Pottery has been appearing. Making Jarmo one of the oldest sites at which pottery has been found. Dating prior to the 7th millennium BC. This early pottery was simple. It is handmade, with thick sides. And, it appears to be treated with a vegetable solvent. There are clay figures, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic. Including venuses, and pregnant women. Hopefully to help and speed along the process. With these, all constitute the inception of art of the Hilly Flanks, Fertile Crescent and Mesopotamia. Jarmo is now notable for its pottery. Which, in part to its hilly location with trees. Is among the earliest known examples of ceramic production. An important technological advancement in human history. Jarmo was a known site. Enabling the cooking and storage of liquids, foods and other uses.
Because it provides valuable insights into the transition from a nomadic, foraging lifestyle to a sedentary, farming-based society. Jarmo provides a pivotal snapshot in human history. It is an important site for understanding the origins of agriculture. Which marked the beginning of settled civilization, and had a profound impact on the course of human development.
Braidwood, Robert J.; Braidwood, Linda (1950). “Jarmo: A Village Early Farmers in Iraq” (https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/antiquity/article/abs/jarmo-a-village-early-farmers-in-iraq/4A686CFC6C86C3E279337AD441986A49). Antiquity. 24 (96): 189–195.doi:10.1017/S0003598X00023371 (https://doi.org/10.1017%2FS0003598X00023371).
ISSN 0003-598X (https://www.worldcat.org/issn/0003-598X). S2CID 162520880 (https://api.semanticscholar.org/CorpusID:162520880).
Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée details on Jarmo (https://web.archive.org/web/20140809161423/http://www.mom.fr/Aspro/servlet/com.esrifrance.kogis.server.KogisServlet?htmlrequest=getObjectAttribute&objectClass=site_per&objectID=JARMO%20%28Qalaat%29_4)