The Early Neolithic Pottery of Ifri Oudadane, NE Morocco – Qualitative and Quantitative Evidence

Journal of African Archaeology
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  • 1 Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Cologne
  • 2 Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Cologne

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This paper presents the Early and Late Neolithic pottery of Ifri Oudadane, a littoral shelter in Northeast Morocco containing both Epipalaeolithic as well as Neolithic deposits. The transition is indicated by the appearance of domesticated plant and animal species, pottery and diverse changes in lithic technology. A domesticated lentil dated to 7.6 ka cal BP may mark the onset of this transitional process. With the help of 22 14C-ages the Early Neolithic deposit can be subdivided in three phases (ENA, ENB, ENC). In addition, the ENC phase contained the remains of a sporadic Late Neolithic occupation. Pottery decoration of the initial ENA phase (7.6–7.3 ka cal BP) is dominated by single Cardium impressions forming horizontal and vertical bands of impressions arranged vertical, horizontal or oblique. The successive ENB phase represents the main occupation phase between 7.1 and 6.6 ka cal BP. By means of statistical methods its assemblage, which consists of 243 vessel units, could be further subdivided (ENB1, ENB2). While ENB1 (7.1–6.9 ka cal BP) is still characterised by single Cardium impressions, the transition to ENB2 is marked by the appearance of Cardium and, later, comb impressions made using rocker stamp technique as well as a few impressions of points and spatulas, striations and modelled applications. Thus the pottery assemblage of Ifri Oudadane offers insights into the first occurrence of pottery in Mediterranean Northwest Africa and opens up the possibility for an internal classification of the Early Neolithic.

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