Neolithic Preceramic B: 8,000 BC – 5,500 BC
The earliest evidence of expansion from Egypt proper is from the period known as “Neolithic Preceramic B” These newcomers who came from Egypt settled in southern Sinai. Some of the dwellings of these Neolithic people have survived. A typical settlement lies in the Wadi Tbeig, about 40 km north of St. Catherine’s. The settlement covers about 750 sq. feet and consists of more than 20 interconnected circular structures built of unworked stone blocks. Some of these building blocks are quite large, in several case over 10 feet round.
The excavators concluded from the amount of rubble in the debris, that the stone portions of the wall were fairly low. The upper parts of the walls and the roofs must have been constructed of lighter materials such as mud brick and mud plastered branches. The dwellings had doorsills of flat stone slabs and fire pits with hearths. Grinding stones, stone bowls, Red Sea shells, a few goat bones and a large variety of flints, including arrowheads, awls, drills, scrapers and various types of blades were found in the houses.
At “Ugrat el Mihad”, a few kilometers north of Jebel Katrin, excavators found the same assemblage, but they did not find the same kind of dwellings. Instead, they uncovered 6 large oval shaped structures, which we assume were roofed since the remains of the walls were very low and there was enough stone rubble around them to imagine that they ever stood much higher. These floors were paved. Perhaps these structures were sunken storage silos.