Located in present day Syria. In the upper Euphrates valley. A tell exists. And, represents the transitional phase between hunter gatherer and neolithic settled agricultural communities. That was inhabited between 13,000 and 9,000 years ago. This continuation of occupational sequence through the neolithic revolution. Has made the sites one of the most important in the origins of agriculture.
Evidence suggest rye was the first cereal crop systematically cultivated. When it experienced climate change. Around 13,000 years ago. During the late glacial interstadial. Vegetation actually expanded. It was colder and the site grew different grasses, oak and pistacia alantica trees (pistacio or terpentine ).
1972 to 73 were the excavation dates. Before the reservoir of Tabqa Dam was flooded by lake Assad
Despite the limited time frame, a large amount of material was recovered and studied over the following decades. It was one of the first excavation to use “flotation”. Preserved even the tiniest fragile remains.
Since 2012 archaeologists have published several papers reporting on an impact event
In some of the areas. High concentrations or iridium, platinum, nickel, cobalt were found. As well reports on meltglass, nanodiamonds, microspeherules and charcoil. They are attributed, to an object from space, destroying the village around 10,800 BC.
Location and description is a massive accumulation of collapsed houses, debris and objects
The mound is nearly 500 metres (1600 ft) across. It is 8 metres (26 ft) deep. Combining about 1000000 cubic metres (or, 35,000,000 cu ft) of archaeological deposit.
Occupation history had two separate periods of occupation: An Epipalaeolithic settlement and a Neolithic settlement
It exists in two main phases: Abu Hureyra 1, dated to the Epipalaeolithic. A village of sedentary hunter-gatherers or collectors. And, Abu Hureyra 2, dated to the pre-pottery neolithic. It was home to some of the world’s first farmers.
The village consisted of small round huts. They were cut into the softer sandstone on the areas terrace. The roofs were supported with wooden posts. And, for protection from the elements. Covered with brushwood and reeds. Many of the huts had underground storage. For things like food, tools and hunting supplies. For these types of dwellings archaeologists have came up with the name subterranean pit dwellings. They have described the population as ‘hunter collectors”. Because they built up there food supplies for necessary food security. Where it was protected from pest, animals and other humans. There were probably a few hundred people.
In the summer. Vast herds of gazelle passed through the village. As part of there annual migration. Were hunted. And kept for there meat, skin and other parts. The huge amount of food. From a short period. Would have needed to be protected. They also gathered wild plants, and fished.
Plants were gathered from the three eco-zones within walking distance. River, forest and steppe. Lentils, einkorn wheat, emmer wheat, a couple varieties of rye.
There were birds, and smaller animals like foxes, and rabbit. And, its believed there were large wild animals too. Like onager (asiatic wild ass), cattle and sheep.
2: After the younger dryas abandonment, or an impact event. They abandoned the site. And, the second occupation was 11-9k years ago
In the second habitation. Abu Hureyra 2 had a different accumulation of resources. Consisting of buckwheat, rye/einkorn, barley, emmer, lentils and more. From the first part of the younger dryas. Shows the direct evidence that agriculture (using tools, organization, domesticated strains, what) was detected at Abu Hureyra.
Using there new technologies. They grey to a larger village. Eventually with several thousand people. Included with the domesticated varieties of grains. They also kept sheep as livestock. During this time. Its believed central and southern Mesopotamia lacked sufficient rainfall to be settled by humans.
Overall, Tell Abu Hureyra is an essential archaeological site. Helping understand a transition from hunter-gatherer societies. To the neolithic. And, settled agricultural communities. It played a important role in the development of human history and early civilization.
Mithen, Steven (2006). After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20000-5000 BC (https://archive.org/details/aftericeglobalhu00mith) (paperback ed.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01570-3.
Moore AM, Kennett JP, Napier WM, Bunch TE, Weaver JC, LeCompte M, Adedeji AV, Hackley P, et al. (6 March 2020). “Evidence of Cosmic Impact at Abu Hureyra, Syria at the Younger Dryas Onset (~12.8 ka): High-temperature melting at >2200 °C” (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-60867-w.pdf) (PDF). Scientific Reports (published 6 March 2020). 10 (1):4185. Bibcode:2020NatSR..10.4185M (https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2020NatSR..10.4185M)
Moore, Andrew M. T.; Hillman, Gordon C.; Legge, Anthony J. (2000). Village on the Euphrates: From Foraging to Farming at Abu Hureyra. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hillman, Gordon; Hedges, Robert; Moore, Andrew; Colledge, Susan; Pettitt, Paul (27 July2016). “New evidence of Lateglacial cereal cultivation at Abu Hureyra on the Euphrates”. The Holocene. 11 (4): 383–393. doi:10.1191/095968301678302823 (https://doi.org/10.1191%2F095968301678302823). S2CID 84930632 (https:/api.semanticscholar.org/CorpusID:84930632).