Sites & cities that bear the name of Zawi Chemi

Zawi Chemi

Today in : Iraq
First trace of activity : ca. 8,900 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 8,700 B.C.E
Recorded names : Zawi Chemi Shanidar

Description : Zawi Chemi (or Zawi Chemi Shanidar ) is an archaeological site in northern Iraq , located near the prehistoric site of Shanidar , in the Zagros foothills , dating from the period of transition between the Late Epipaleolithic ( Zarzi culture ) and the beginning of the pre-ceramic Neolithic (culture of M'lefaat ). It has been dated by carbon 14 to 10870 BP ± 300, a period contemporary with layer B1 of the Shanidar cave. The site was excavated in 1956-57 and 1960 by an American team led by Ralph Stefan Solecki , who was then working mainly on the nearby site of the Shanidar cave . It is a temporary open-air habitat, which yielded lithic material relating to the Zarzian culture., comprising triangular-shaped microliths, constricted blades, testifying to a phase of transition to the Neolithic culture of the M'lefaatien. The site also delivered heavy furniture, namely grinding wheels, mortars, pestles, polishers, and bone objects (punches, pendants, handles). The community occupying the site does not practice agriculture and animal husbandry, and hunts deer, goats, raptors, and collects grains and nuts. It has been proposed that the greater presence than at previous sites of sheep and goats indicates a start of the domestication process, but this is doubtful, and this change would rather indicate an evolution towards a selective hunting of these animals, leading to the way to domestication which does not begin until later 1 . A circular-shaped structure has been unearthed, including a deposit of wild goat skulls and raptor wings. This could induce the establishment of a ritual where the wings or the feathers of raptors are used as ornamentation of clothes or hairstyles 2 . These raptor wings remind researcher Joan Oates of the avian frescoes of Çatal Höyük 3 .

See on map »