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Dana Shaham

Dana Shaham


M.A. thesis topic: 'Reading Natufian Art': A Methodological Approach and Selected Case Studies

Advisor: Prof. Anna Belfer-Cohen


The appearance of artistic manifestations during the Natufian culture in the Levant (ca. 15,000 BP) was been recognized as a component of the transition toward complex societies, and accompanied the transition from Paleolithic to Neolithic lifeways. Although Natufian art objects have been studied and interpreted since the discovery of the Natufian culture, the artistic-visual context of Natufian art is yet to be defined. The current study aims to develop a cross-disciplinary approach by using the art history comparative method and tools applied in European Prehistoric art research. Art objects from three sites, representing regional and chronological variance in the Natufian culture, will be studied. Inductive bodies of comparisons will follow descriptive, stylistic and thematic questions.

The immediate contribution of this study will be creating a method for reading Natufian art, applicable for analyses of additional finds within the same category. A second contribution will be the stylistic characterization of Natufian art from the three studied sites and understanding its socio-cultural implications.

Areas of interest:

  • Epi-Paleolithic and Neolithic cultures in the Levant
  • Prehistoric art
  • Stone tools (typology, hafting technology)
  • Archaeomalacology

Laboratory analyses

  • Kfar Hahoresh, PPNB, lithics analysis
  • Gesher, PPNA, hafting technology
  • Hilazon Tachtit Cave, Late Natufian, analysis of the archaeomalacogical assemblage
  • Nahariya Bronze Age Temple, analysis of the archaeomalacogical assemblage

Field experience:

Late Natufian:

  • Hilazon Tachtit Cave (directed by Dr. Leore Grosman)
  • Nahal Ein-Gev II (directed by Dr. Leore Grosman, Prof. Ofer Bar-Yosef and Prof. Anna Belfer-Cohen)
  • PPNA:

  • Agia Varvara-Asprokremnos, Cyprus (directed by Dr. Carole McCartney)
  • Kaizer Hill (directed by Prof. Naama Goren-Inbar and Dr. Leore Grosman)
  • PPNB:

  • Kfar Hahoresh (directed by Prof. Nigel Goring-Morris). Responsible for field logistics.
  • Nahal Lavan 1021 (directed by Dr. Omry Barzilai and Prof. Nigel Goring-Morris)
  • Nahal Hava (directed by Prof. Nigel Goring-Morris)
  • Middle Chalcolithic:

  • Tel Tsaf (directed by Prof. Yosef Garfinkel)
  • Publications