During the Natufian period, more than 12,000 years ago, Eynan (Ain Mallaha) was an important human settlement in the Hula Valley, Israel. This study concentrates on the anuran and squamate assemblage from the ultimate stage of the Natufian period at the site, the Final Natufian. Over five thousand bones assigned to at least sixteen taxa were studied from a sampled segment of the excavated open-air site. Relative species abundance, spatial distribution, taphonomic observations and ecological considerations all pointed to the conclusion that the inhabitants of Eynan intensively exploited three large "colubrine"snakes species: the Large Whip Snake (Dolichophis jugularis), the Eastern Montpellier Snake (Malpolon insignitus) and an Eastern Four-lined Ratsnake (Elaphe cf. sauromates). These snakes were the most desired and were intensively gathered, while other snakes and lizards could have been opportunistically collected when encountered. We raise questions about whether the large "colubrines"exploitation should be interpreted as additional evidence of increasing diet breadth. We suggest challenging this line of reasoning and offer possible alternative motives.
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