Heeli Schechter

heelis

PhD dissertation topic: The Social, Economic and Symbolic Uses of Marine Mollusks in the Neolithic of the Southern Levant.

Advisor: Prof. Nigel Goring-Morris, with Dr. D. Bar-Yosef Meyer, Tel Aviv University.

Abstract: The shells of marine molluscs are among the oldest ornaments used by humans. Shells were instrumental in past economic life, as a component in exchange networks, connecting individuals and communities from distant regions. They carry symbolic meaning as artefacts of personal adornment and act as social and personal identity agents. During the Neolithic period in the Levant, shells were used as beads, pendants and inlays, produced by different technological manufacturing procedures, and used in various ways. 

The aims of this project include composing a comprehensive overview and synthesis of shells in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B of the Mediterranean Levant, focusing on the use of shells in different life situations – private, public, mortuary, and intra-site context. An additional aim is to incorporate microscopic methods in the study of manufacturing technology and use-wear, never before carried out in this region.
The materials for this study include both newly excavated shell assemblages and reanalysis of published material. The sources to be used include previous reports on mollusc assemblages; different guides to taxonomic research; published methodological research concerning bead-making technology and macro- and microscopic use-ware analysis; theoretical literature concerning personal adornment, use of space, social and economic interaction, identity and more.

Publications: 

  • Schechter, H.C., Gopher, A., Getzov, N., Rice, E., Yaroshevich, A. and I. Milevski. 2016. The Obsidian Assemblages from the Wadi Rabah Occupations at Ein Zippori, Israel. Paléorient 42(1): 27-48.
  • Agam, A., Walzer, N., Schechter, H.C., Zutovski, K., Milevski, I., Getzov, N., Gopher, A. and R. Barkai. 2016. Organized waste disposal in the Pottery Neolithic? A Bifacial Workshop Refuse Pit at Ein Zippori, Israel. Journal of Field Archaeology 41(6): 713-730. 
  • Schechter, H.C., Marder, O. Barkai, R., Getzov, N., and A. Gopher. 2013. The obsidian assemblage from Neolithic Hagoshrim, Israel: pressure technology and cultural influence. In: F. Borrell, J. J. Ibñáez, M. Molist (eds.) Stone Tools in Transition: From Hunter-Gatherers to Farming Societies in the Near East. Bellaterra (Barcelona): Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Pp. 509-528.
  • Gopher, A., Lemorini, C., Boaretto, E., Carmi, I., Barkai R., and H.C. Schechter. 2013. Qumran Cave 24, a Neolithic-Chalcolithic site by the Dead Sea: a short report and some information on lithics. In: F. Borrell, J. J. Ibñáez, M. Molist (eds.) Stone Tools in Transition: From Hunter-Gatherers to Farming Societies in the Near East. Bellaterra (Barcelona): Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Pp. 101-114. 
  • Schechter, H.C., Zutovski, K., Agam, A., Wilson, L. and A. Gopher. 2018. Refitting Bifacial Production Waste – the Case of the Wadi Rabah Refuse Pit from Ein Zippori, Israel. Lithic Technology 43(4): 228-244. DOI: 10.1080/01977261.2018.1514723