At Jerf el Ahmar in northern Syria the authors have excavated a settlement where the occupants were harvesting and processing barley 1000 years in advance of its domestication. Rows of querns installed in square stone and daub buildings leave no doubt that this was a community dedicated to the systematic production of food from wild cereals. Given the plausible suggestion that barley was being cultivated, the site opens a window onto a long period of pre-domestic agriculture. Rye was also harvested, its chaff used to temper mud walls.
Keywords: Levant, Syria, agriculture, barley, querns