Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-11-2016

Major Department or Program



Gary Rollefson, Chas McKhann, Suzanne Morrissey


This thesis examines the connections between goat and sheep domestication, the environment, and human populations during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (8,600- 6,900 BCE). While domestication caused an increase in population and complexity of some settlements in the southern Levant, over-grazing, environmental degradation and population increase caused the economy of such settlements to become strained. By the 7th millennium this culminated in the dissolution of major settlements. While several factors led to this dissolution this thesis argues that goats and sheep were a major factor in this. In the end, while agriculture and animal domestication led to an initial improvement in living conditions, ultimately and ironically they were responsible for the disastrous downfall of these settlements.

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Subject Headings

Pre-pottery Neolithic B, Population density -- Environment, Middle East -- Levant, Domestication -- Goat, Domestication -- Sheep, Land settlement -- Middle East, Neolithic period -- Middle Esat, Domestic animals -- Middle East -- History, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2016 -- Anthropology Department

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Public Accessible Thesis

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