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They mainly consist of small limestone plaques and pieces, with a small number on bone tools,” he said, adding that finds of natural objects such as fossils and unusual stones in the site indicate that some of the designs may have been prompted by natural patterns.

A zoomorphic sickle terminal is one of a small number of representative images of animals, Edwards said, adding that the tiny head was badly burnt and in danger of dissolving altogether.

Square E6 yielded a dense agglomeration of finds (Figure 3), including a zoomorphic basaltic pestle (RN 140049), a phalliform figurine (RN 140225), a basaltic shaft-straightener (RN 140047) and a basaltic handstone (RN 140048).

The clustering of materials here reflects a similar concentration in the overlying phase 1 near the light, where structure 1 opened to the west.

Wadi Hammeh 27 was discovered when Edwards’ mentor Tony Mc Nicoll asked Australian geologist Phillip Macumber to investigate the geological basis of the Pella tell (Khirbet Fahl) in the 1980/81 season, Edwards said, adding that Macumber explored the area of Wadi Hammeh and found “a virtual El Dorado” of prehistoric occurrencess from the Middle Palaeolithic, Upper Palaeolithic and Early Epipalaeolithic periods.

"I was first asked by director Tony Mc Nicoll to excavate the Early Epipalaeolithic site of Wadi Hammeh 26 in late 1982, as part of my graduate studies.

Through the use of strontium analysis of human teeth to estimate the length of residential occupations and the frequency of residential shifts, the project seeks to advance our understanding of how Natufian communities founded the earliest villages in the Jordan Valley around 12 500 cal BC.

Wadi Hammeh 27, located 2 kilometres north of Pella, represents one of the largest and most complex Natufian base-camps in the southern Levant, an Australian archaeologist has said.

“These are essentially the world's first villages [12,000 BC], funded by hunter-gatherers near the end of the Pleistocene [Ice Age], which predated farming,” said Phillip Edwards from La Trobe University in Melbourne.

A flat stone is placed at the centre of the stone group, and the feature may have functioned as a post-support, as did several similar features in phase 1 (Edwards 2013: 71).

The pit that cuts the feature was itself capped by a roughly rectangular stone platform in phase 1.

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