The Prehistoric site Dja'de el-Mughara is located in Syria, in the northern Euphrates valley, in an ideal position between a major river and the steppes of the Fertile Crescent, cradle of the near‐eastern Neolithization processes. The site was excavated from 1991 to 2010 under the supervision of Dr. Eric Coqueugniot from the French National Research Council (CNRS). The grant will support the final publication of the results of the 18 excavation campaigns which brought to light a unique sequence of 9‐meters deposits dated from the Late PPNA to the end of the Early PPNB (ca. 9310‐8290 BC). The sequence is divided into three main occupation phases – DJ I to DJ III – showing a general evolution of the lithic industry and architecture, with a complex stratigraphy that remains to be precisely investigate.
While the results of the studies have been partially disseminated in general articles and unpublished PhD theses, Dja’de el‐Mughara now merits a complete publication because of its endangered heritage status, as well as unique findings and specificities. Indeed, its continuous sequence allows a closer understanding of the transition between hunter‐gatherers’ way of life and early farmers’ economy. Among others, we can highlight the discovery of the world’s oldest indoor paintings on the walls of a community building (the “House of Paintings”), the remarkable “House of the Dead” with more than 80 buried individuals and the first attestation of tuberculosis prior to complete cattle domestication.
In the framework of the project, the raw data of the excavations will be made accessible in a French institutional open access repository and the complete study of the Neolithic sequence of the site will be published in a two volumes monograph entitled “Dja’de el‐Mughara. A ninth millennium sequence in the Euphrates valley (Syria)”. Volume I, “Daily life and resources exploitation”, will be dedicated to the everyday life and major socio‐economic innovations and volume II, “Afterlife and symbolism”, will focus on cultural and symbolic specificities.