Ghassulian culture, Naqada culture, Uruk period
Yamna culture, Corded Ware
Cernavodă culture, Decea Mureşului culture, Gorneşti culture,
Gumelniţa–Karanovo culture, Petreşti culture, Coțofeni culture
Remedello culture, Gaudo culture, Monte Claro culture
Yamna culture, Botai culture, BMAC culture, Afanasevo culture
Periodisation of the Indus Valley Civilisation,
Hakra Ware culture,
Kaytha culture, Ahar-Banas culture
Savalda Culture, Malwa culture, Jorwe culture
Domestication of the horse
↓ Bronze Age
Ghassulian ossuary, ca. 3500 BC, Palestine (at the British Museum)
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Israeli Civil Administration
Palestinian Authority (Gaza Strip)
State of Palestine
Ghassulian refers to a culture and an archaeological stage dating to
the Middle and Late
Chalcolithic Period in the
Southern Levant (c.
4400 – c. 3500 BC). Its type-site, Teleilat Ghassul (Teleilat
el-Ghassul, Tulaylat al-Ghassul), is located in the eastern Jordan
Valley near the northern edge of the Dead Sea, in modern Jordan. It
was excavated in 1929-1938 and in 1959-1960, by the Jesuits. 
Basil Hennessy dug at the site in 1967 and in 1975-1977, and Stephen
Bourke in 1994-1999.
Ghassulian stage was characterized by small hamlet settlements of
mixed farming peoples, who had immigrated from the north and settled
in the southern
Levant - today's Jordan,
Israel and Palestine. 
People of the
Beersheba Culture (a
Ghassulian subculture) lived in
underground dwellings - a unique phenomenon in the archaeological
history of the region - or in houses that were trapezoid-shaped and
built of mud-brick. Those were often built partially underground (on
top of collapsed underground dwellings) and were covered with
remarkable polychrome wall paintings.  Their pottery was highly
elaborate, including footed bowls and horn-shaped drinking goblets,
 indicating the cultivation of wine. Several
samples display the use of sculptural decoration or of a reserved slip
(a clay and water coating partially wiped away while still wet). 
The Ghassulians were a
Chalcolithic culture as they used stone tools
but also smelted copper.  Funerary customs show evidence that
they buried their dead in stone dolmens  and also practiced
Secondary burial .
Settlements belonging to the
Ghassulian culture have been identified
at numerous other sites in what is today southern Israel, especially
in the region of Beersheba, where elaborate underground dwellings have
been excavated. The
Ghassulian culture correlates closely with the
Amratian of Egypt and also seems to have affinities (e.g., the
distinctive churns, or “bird vases”) with early Minoan culture in
Ghassulian Copper Industry
4 Dates and transition phases
5 See also
8 External links
Ghassulian, a name applied to a
Chalcolithic culture of the southern
Levant, is derived from the eponymic site of Teleilat (el) Ghassul,
northeast of the
Dead Sea in the Great Rift Valley. The name has been
used as a synonym for
Chalcolithic in general and sometimes for late
phases, associated with late strata at that site and other sites
considered to be contemporary. More recently it has come to be
associated with a regional cultural phenomenon (defined by sets of
artifacts) in what is today central and southern Israel, the
Palestinian territories in the West Bank, and the central area of
western Jordan; all either well-watered or semi-arid zones.[dubious
– discuss] Other phases of the Chalcolithic, associated with
different regions of the Levant, are Qatifian and Timnian (arid zones)
and Golanian. The use of the name varies from scholar to
The main culture of the
Chalcolithic era in
Israel is the Ghassulian
culture, thus named after the name of its type-site, Teleilat
el-Ghassul, located in the eastern part of the
Jordan Rift Valley,
opposite Jericho. Afterwards, many additional settlements, located in
other archaeological sites, were identified as
All these settlements had been built in areas that had not been
previously inhabited, mainly on the outskirts of populated areas.
Chalcolithic settlements have been discovered in the
Valley, in the
Israeli coastal plain
Israeli coastal plain and on its fringes, in the
Judaean Desert and in the northern and western Negev. On the other
hand, it seems that people of the
Chalcolithic period did not settle
in the mountainous regions of
Israel or in northern Israel. Several
facts allow us to assume that the carriers of this culture were
immigrants who had brought their own culture with them: all excavated
sites represent an advanced stage of this culture, whereas no evidence
of its nascent stages has been discovered, so far, anywhere in the
region. This culture's characteristics indicate they had connections
with neighboring regions and that their culture had not evolved in the
southern Levant. Their origins are not known.
It is hard to determine the time of the
Ghassulian settlement in the
region, and whether or not they had evolved out of local,
pre-Ghassulian, populations (such as the Bsorian culture). It could
generally be said that most of these settlements date to the 2nd half
of the 5th millennium BC, and that they usually existed for only a
short period of time, with the exception of Teleilat el-Ghassul, where
8 successive layers of occupation from the
Chalcolithic have been
excavated, of which 6 are considered
Ghassulian and the earlier,
pre-Ghassulian, layers are thought to belong to the Besorian culture.
The total depth of these layers is 4.5 meters.
Ghassulian Copper Industry
The earliest evidence to the existence of a copper-industry in Israel
was discovered in Bir abu Matar, Near Be'er Sheba, which specialized
in copper production and the casting of copper tools and artifacts. No
copper ore is naturally available in the area of Beersheba, so it
appears that the ore was brought here from Wadi Feynan, in southern
Jordan, and possibly also from Timna, where an ancient copper mine was
discovered. It was attributed by Beno Rothenberg to the Chalcolithic
Dates and transition phases
The Ghassulian, if used as a synonym for the entire Chalcolithic
period and not, as more appropriately, just to the Late Chalcolithic,
followed a Late
Neolithic period and was succeeded by an Early Bronze
I (EB I) period. Little is understood of the transition from the
Chalcolithic to the earliest EB I, but there was apparently
some transition of ceramic, flint-knapping and metallurgical
traditions, especially in the southern regions of the southern Levant.
The dates for
Ghassulian are dependent upon 14C (radiocarbon)
determinations, which suggest that the typical later
sometime around the mid-5th millennium and ended ca. 3800 BC. The
transition from Late
Ghassulian to EB I seems to have been ca.
3800-3500 BC.[dubious – discuss]
The Issue of the nature of the transition from the Late
Chalcolithic is re-examined in this article [...] The Late
Neolithic assemblages are closely to be identified with earlier
Neolithic norms, whereas the Early
Chalcolithic assemblages display
all the hallmarks of the later Classic
Ghassulian culture. -- S.J.
Chalcolithic Temple of Ein Gedi
Nahal Mishmar, where artifacts possibly originating at the
Chalcolithic Temple of Ein Gedi were found
Pre-history of the Southern Levant
History of pottery in the Southern Levant
^ a b "The Chronology of the
Chalcolithic Period in the
Southern Levant: New 14C Determinations from Teleilat Ghassul, Jordan
(PDF Download Available)". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2017-10-15.
^ Hitti, 2004, p. 26.
^ a b c d e f g "
Ghassulian culture". Encyclopedia Britannica.
Chalcolithic Materials From Teleilat Ghassul in the Semitics Icor
Library - University Libraries". libraries.cua.edu. Retrieved
^ a b Bourke, S.J. "The Late Neolithic/Early
at Teleilat Ghassul: Context, Chronology and Culture". Paléorient (in
French). 33 (1): 15–32. doi:10.3406/paleo.2007.5205.
^ a b c d e f g Rappel, Joel (1980). History of the Land - Israel,
Volume I, edited by Joel Rappel. Israel: The Israeli Ministry of
Defense. pp. 47–60. ISBN 978-9650500504.
^ A. Gorzalczany, "Centre and Periphery in Ancient Israel: New
Chalcolithic Funerary Practices in the Coastal
Antiguo Oriente 5 (2007): 205-230.
^ a b "Palestine History, People, & Religion". Encyclopedia
Britannica. Retrieved 2017-10-05.
Israel Antiquities Authority". www.antiquities.org.il (in Hebrew).
Bourke, S. J. (1997): The “Pre-Ghassulian” Sequence at Teleilat
Ghassul: Sydney University Excavations 1975-1995. pp. 395–417
in H. G. K. Gebel, Z. Kafafi and G. O. Rollefson, eds. The Prehistory
of Jordan, II: Perspectives from 1997 (Studies in Early Near Eastern
Production, Subsistence, and Environment 4). Berlin: Ex Oriente.
Bourke, S. Zoppi, U., Meadows, J., Hua, Q., and Gibbins, S. (2004):
The end of the
Chalcolithic Period in the south
Jordan Valley: New 14C
Determinations from Teleilat Ghassul, Jordan. Radiocarbon 46/1:
Epstein, C. (1998): The
Chalcolithic Culture of the Golan. Jerusalem:
Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA Reports 4).
Gilead, I. (1988): The
Chalcolithic Period in the Levant. Journal of
World Prehistory 2:397-443.
1994 The History of the
Chalcolithic Settlement in the Nahal Beer
Sheva Area: The Radiocarbon Aspect. Bulletin of the American Schools
of Oriental Research 296: 1-14.
2011 Chapter 2:
Chalcolithic Culture History:
Ghassulian and Other
Entities in the Southern Levant. pp. 12–24 in (eds.) J. L.
Lovell and Y. M. Rowan. Culture, Chronology and the Chalcolithic:
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Terminology for the
Chalcolithic of the Southern Levant. Current
Anthropology 36: 507-518.
Klimscha, F. (2009): Radiocarbon Dates from Prehistoric cAqaba and
Other Related sites from the
Chalcolithic Period. pp. 363–419
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Verlag Marie Leidorf GmbH: Rahden, Westfalia, German Democratic
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Hitti, Philip Khuri (2004),
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Palestine, Gorgias Press LLC, ISBN 978-1-59333-119-1
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Israel in the
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Paul James Cowie, Archaeowiki: Teleilat Ghassul
Andie Byrnes, The Chalcolithic
Paul James Cowie, Archaeowiki:
Chalcolithic of the Southern Levant
Coordinates: 31°51′39″N 35°38′26″E / 31.86083°N