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August 17, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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August 17, 2012

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PAGE 20A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 17, 2012 Neolithic man: TEL AVIV--During the NeolithicAge (approximately 10000-6000 BCE), early man evolved from hunter- gatherer to farmer and agri- culturalist, living in larger, permanent settlements with a variety of domesticated animals and plant life. This transition brought about sig- nificant changes in terms of the economy, architecture, man's relationship to the environment and more. Now Dr. Ran Barkai of Tel Aviv University's Depart- ment of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civi- lizations has shed new light on this milestone in human evolution, demonstrating a direct connection between the development of an ag- ricultural society and the development of woodwork- ing tools. "Intensive woodworking and tree-felling was a phe- nomenon that only appeared A polished ax from the PPNB period found at the Motza archaeological dig. with the onset of the major changes in human life, including the transition to agriculture and permanent villages," says Barkai, whose research was published in the journal PLoS One. Prior to the Neolithic period, there is no evidence of tools that were powerful enough to cut and carve wood, let alone fell trees. But new archaeological evidence suggests that as the Neolithic age progressed, so- The first lumberjack? phisticated carpentry devel- oped alongside agriculture. The use of functional tools in relation to woodworking over the course of the Neo- lithic period has not been studied in detail until now. Through their work at the ar- chaeological site of Motza, a neighborhood in the Judean Hills, Barkai and his fellow researchers, professor Rick Yerkes of Ohio State Uni- versity and Dr. Hamudi Kh- alaily of the Israel Antiquity Authority, have unearthed evidence that increasing sophistication in terms of carpentry tools corresponds with increased agriculture and permanent settlements. The early part of the Neo- lithic age is divided into two distinct eras--Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) and Pre- Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB). Agriculture and domesti- cated plants and animals appear only in PPNB, so the transition between these two periods is a watershed moment in human history. And these changes can be tracked in the woodworking tools which belong to each period, says Barkai. Within PPNA, humans remained gatherers but lived in more permanent settlements for the first time, he says. Axes associated with this period are small and delicate, used for light carpentry but not suited for felling trees or other mas- sive woodworking tasks. In PPNB, the tools have evolved to much larger and heavier axes, formed by a technique called polishing. The re- searchers' in-depth analysis of these tools shows that they were used to cut down trees and complete various building projects. "We can document step by step the transition from the absence of woodwork- ing tools, to delicate wood- working tools, to heavier woodworking tools," Barkai says, and this follows the "actual transition from the hunter-gatherer lifestyle to agriculture." He also identi- fies a trial-and-error phase during which humans tried to create an ax strong enough to undertake larger wood- working tasks. Eventually, they succeeded in creating a massive ground stone ax in PPNB. Whether the transition to an agricultural society led to the development of major carpentry tools or vice versa remains to be determined, says Barkai, who character- izes it as a "circular argu- ment." Whatever the answer, the parallel changes led to a revolution in lifestyle. Beyond the change from a hunter-gatherer to an agricultural economy, a new form of architecture also emerged. Not only did people begin to live in permanent villages, but the buildings in which they lived literally took a differ- ent shape. The round and oval structures of earlier domiciles were replaced by rectangular structures in PPNB, says Barkai. "Evi- dence tells that us that for each home, approxi- mately 10 wooden beams were needed. Prior to this, there were no homes with wooden beams." In addition, humans began to produce limestone-based plaster floors for their homes-- which also represented a growing use of wood, since plaster is manufactured by heating limestone. These architectural de- velopments, along with building pens and fences for domesticated animals, also necessitated the felling of trees in large quantities. Gaza water increasingly polluted and expensive By Linda Gradstein The Media Line Gaza's population is in- creasing, and the water supply is not keeping pace ac- cording to Oxfam, the British human rights organization. In a new report, the group as- serts that Gazans are spend- ing as much as one-third of their household income on drinking water, and are facing growing health risks. "The infrastructure has been deteriorating rapidly because we are not able to repair and maintain it," Karl Schembri, a spokesman for Oxfam in Gaza told The Media Line. Referring to ac- tion as far back as Operation Cast Lead at the end of 2008 and start of 2009, "Israeli military attacks have had a severe impact on the civilian infrastructure and particu- larly on the water network." Gaza's main source of water for its dense popula- tion of 1.6 million people is the coastal aquifer. Ghada Snunu of EWASH, a non- governmental organization that deals with water quality, says that 95 percent ok the water in the coastal aquifer has dangerous levels of ni- trates and chloride, often 10 times what the World Health Organization recommends. "Drinking this water is causing diarrhea among children and 'baby blue syn- drome' in which it is difficult to transfer blood into tissues, making the baby blue," she told The Media Line. "Chil- dren in refugee camps have an increase in water-born diseases because of the poor quality of the water." Both Oxfam and EWASH blame the Israeli "blockade" of Gaza, which limits im- ports of some raw materials that could be used to make weapons, which was imple- mented in 2007 after the lslamist Hamas forcibly took over control Gaza from the Palestinian Authority. Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev says Israel is doing everything possible to help Gazans drink clean water. "Israel has been help- ing to improve the water infrastructure in Gaza, and Israel was willing to double or even triple the amount of water going into Gaza," Regev told The Media Line. "It is the same water that you and I drink, and the Gazans would pay less than what we pay but they weren't willing to accept that solution." Palestinian water officials in Gaza say that Israel pro- vides just 4 - 5 million cubic meters of water to Gaza per year, while Gaza uses 100 million cubic meters of water per year for drinking and an additional 80 million cubic meters of partially treated wastewater for agriculture. Monther Shublaq, the director of Gaza's Coastal Municipal Water Utilities (CMWU) told The Media Line that Israel has recently raised prices for the water it provides from 75 cents per cubic meter to $1 per cubic meter. And while Israel has offered more water, he says, it will not say when it will provide it. "I don't want it in the win- ter when I don't really need it," Shublaq said. "I want it all year." He said the majority of Gazans now rely on private water deliveries, which are not regulated and are often contaminated. Gaza is surrounded by the sea, and one solution is desalination. Oxfam and CMWU recently inaugurated a desalination plant and water distribution pipeline in the southern city of Rafah. "Finally, for the first time in our life, we can drink wa- ter directly from our taps," Abu Rami from Rafah told representatives from Oxfam. "It will take me a while to remember that I can drink tap water." But desalination is ex- pensive. Shublaq says Pal- estinians hope to eventually desalinate100 million cubic meters per year to cover most of Gaza's requirements. Updating the infrastructure would also help stop leakage. Ghada Snunu of EWASH says Israel must allow water from the mountain aquifer, which runs under both Israel and the West Bank, to reach Gaza. Palestinians say the West Bank and Gaza, along with east Jerusalem, should be part of the Palestinian state. But all of these solutions take time and are expensive. Meanwhile, many Gazans will continue to drink water that is expensive, polluted, or both. Cohen's @ WorldGate Resort : ",'llm'n . Illl"t: ll"llllrt a,m,m, co4m'  & BtrrcHm Kosher Hotel all year round in partnership with Cohen's. i Join us for a unique religious expedence at the new Kosher Orlando Hotel in association with Cohen's , Kosher Deli. Two Days of kosher culinary delights and i i, religious talks and services. Now booking; we have '; packages for multiple days. , : Please call1 (866) 705-7676 i l i i Join us for a spectacular New Year! i{