Intermediate Bronze Age subsistence practices in the Negev Highlands, Israel: Macro- and microarchaeological results from the sites of Ein Ziq and Nahal Boqer 66

Zachary C. Dunseth, Israel Finkelstein, Ruth Shahack-Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study presents new macro- and microarchaeological data on the subsistence economy of Early Bronze (c. 3500–2500 BCE) and Intermediate Bronze Age (c. 2500–1950 BCE) settlements in the arid Negev Highlands in southern Israel. The data originates from two sites: Nahal Boqer 66, a small Early Bronze/Intermediate Bronze site, and Ein Ziq, the largest central Intermediate Bronze Age settlement in the region. At Nahal Boqer 66 we identified ceramic evidence for mainly domestic cooking activities, clear microarchaeological evidence for spatial division of human activity and penning livestock, and no macro- or microarchaeological evidence for cereal agriculture. At Ein Ziq, the ceramic assemblage suggests a strong connection to trade networks and spatial division of activity, while the microarchaeological data shows no indication of direct food production—neither herding nor agriculture—and no trace of copper processing activities, previously considered an important supplemental subsistence strategy at many Negev Intermediate Bronze Age sites. We interpret the small Negev sites, such as Nahal Boqer 66, as representing the indigenous pastoral population, and the central sites as trading posts on the way to the coastal plain and Egypt. We explain the Early Bronze and Intermediate Bronze Age settlement patterns in the Negev Highlands on the background of contemporary geo-political transformations in the Levant and Egypt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-726
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Volume19
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Keywords

  • Ash
  • Copper
  • Dung
  • Intermediate Bronze Age
  • Negev Highlands
  • Phytoliths
  • Subsistence practices

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