ex oriente - a NGO research association


ex oriente e.V.

Production, Subsistence and Environment In the Ancient Near East


ex oriente e.V. is a scientific society founded in 1994 by researchers of the Institutes of Near Eastern Archaeology and Ancient Oriental Studies at the Free University of Berlin and was chaired for 25 years by Hans Georg K. Gebel and Reinder Neef. We are an independent organization encouraging interdisciplinary and transnational cooperation on the study of environmental history, ancient technologies, and the means of production and subsistence in the Near and Middle East.

In contrast to traditional research interests of the discipline in Germany, we focus on the lifeway of the people in early societies. The natural environment of the Near East provided conditions that allowed for substantial advances in human cultural development, including:

  • sedentarization
  • domestication of plants and animals
  • irrigation and pastoralism
  • urbanization
  • emergence of states.

This trajectory was characterized by a continuing emergence of new technologies and subsistence economies. This often involved the adoption of adaptive strategies to compensate for excessive exploitation of natural resources that changed or destroyed environmental conditions. The early examples of enduring human impacts on their surroundings have clear modern analogies in terms of environmental and developmental politics. Thus, the aim of ex oriente is also to make a clear connection between prehistoric and early historical times with present-day environmental and social developments. Research on prehistoric territorial behavior and environmental destruction, conditions under which stratified societies and early patterns of conflict arose, can offer insights into modern developmental problems.

Our activity focuses on the period from the Paleolithic until the early historical epochs, paying special attention to:

  • innovative, rational and standardized technological procedures for the production of stone tools
  • development of various environmentally adaptive and effective agricultural and herding subsistence economies
  • mass production ceramic manufacture and associated developments of storage facilities
  • establishment of long-distance trade networks and market systems
  • the resulting emergence of complex societies

Work in more recent periods will receive consideration if it deals with technological or environmental topics.

In order to accomplish these aims, ex oriente fosters a closer cooperation between the field of archaeology and those of anthropology, ethnography, ethology, geography, geology, paleobotany, philology, social neuroscience, and zooarchaeology, especially with researchers form the Near and Middle East. These efforts are expressed in the promotion of fieldwork and analyses (e.g., excavations, surveys, and laboratory research) and by the organization of workshops and symposia. In addition, ex oriente also publishes research results in the society's series SENEPSE ("Studies in Early Near Eastern Production, Subsistence, and Environment"), co-produces the newsletter "NEO-LITHICS: A Newsletter of Southwest Asian Lithics Research". In In 2000, ex oriente started a new series of final excavation reports dealing with the Neolithic of Southwest Asia ("bibliotheca neolithica Asiae meridionalis et occidentalis").



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Ba'ja Projekt

The Significance of Ba'ja for Early
Near Eastern Neolithic Research

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Qulban Beni Murra

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PPND (Neolithic Radiocarbon Dates)

Neolithic Heritage Trail (u.c.)

Basta Joint Archaeological Projekt (u.c.)

PIGPA Project (u.c.)

'Ain Rahub Project (u.c.)



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