Environmental and historical impacts on long term animal economy: The Southern Levant in the Late Bronze and Iron Ages

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Abstract

Based on a comprehensive database of livestock frequencies and mortality profiles and on high-resolution relative chronologies, we examined synchronically and diachronically conventional assumptions regarding animal husbandry in the southern Levant in the Late Bronze and Iron Ages and arrived at the following conclusions: 1) A recent study suggests that animal economy in these periods was based on strategies of survival and self-sufficiency. We counter this claim and demonstrate how local self-sufficiency was replaced by specialized economies beginning in Iron Age iib. 2) Contrary to past assumptions, we argue that changes in animal-husbandry strategies were dictated by historical factors rather than by environmental ones. The main shift in livestock husbandry reflects enhanced social complexity during a period of transformation in the territorial-political system from local kingdoms to imperial rule.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-744
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Volume57
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 6 Nov 2014

Keywords

  • Iron Age
  • Late Bronze
  • Levant
  • animal husbandry
  • social complexity

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