Welcome to the Abu Hureyra website and electronic data archive. Here you will find many of the data recovered from the archaeological excavation of the early village of Abu Hureyra. These data form part of the evidence used to write the book Village on the Euphrates by A.M.T. Moore, G.C. Hillman, and A.J. Legge that was published by Oxford University Press in 2000. At this website you may also learn more about the Abu Hureyra project and the people conducting the research on this important archaeological site. We shall add additional information about the Abu Hureyra project as research continues.
Abu Hureyra was located in the valley of the Euphrates River in modern Syria. It was inhabited from c. 11,500 to 7,000 years ago in radiocarbon years. The village was founded by a group of hunters and gatherers who adopted agriculture c. 11,000 BP, becoming the first known farmers in the world. Following the development of farming, the population grew and the village of Abu Hureyra expanded until it became one of the largest settlements of its age in the Middle East.
Abu Hureyra is significant because it documents the transition from foraging to farming in one of the world's primary centers of agricultural development. Abu Hureyra was inhabited during the transition from Pleistocene to Holocene, a major climatic event that caused significant environmental change. The village was occupied for over 4,500 radiocarbon years, an extraordinary span of continuous habitation that has provided a unique record of early village life. Because Abu Hureyra was occupied for so long, we have been able to study the impact of the changes in climate and environment on the development of a farming way of life at a single site. The adoption of agriculture had profound effects on the community of people that lived there and was largely responsible for the extraordinary growth of the village.
We used modern methods of recovery on an unusually large scale to ensure maximum recovery of artifacts and food remains. All the excavated soil was passed through dry sieves to recover artifacts and bones. Large soil samples from each level were processed further by flotation to extract carbonized plant remains and small bones. These huge samples of organic remains have enabled us to study the economic changes at Abu Hureyra in unprecedented detail.
We encourage you to examine the data presented here to gain deeper insights into the research at Abu Hureyra. We invite you to use the data in your own analyses in the expectation that you will contribute further to our understanding of this remarkable site.
You may order your copy of Village on the Euphrates directly through the Oxford University Press website. The address is www.oup-usa.org.