The early sixth millennium settlement at Sha'ar Hagolan, in the central Jordan valley, shows evidences for early village planning, including courtyard houses, streets, and a water well, and also a large number of portable symbolic items, notably clay figurines of a corpulent female are dominant. The largest courtyard building in the settlement was previously suggested to have served ritual purposes, based on the pottery assemblage, figurines, and burials found in it. In this paper we report the results of a zooarchaeological analysis of the assemblage from that courtyard building, which support this suggestion, and may indicate that the rituals conducted in the building were seasonal celebrations. Archaeological and anthropological parallels are suggested.
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- Sha'ar Hagolan