Migration, hybridization, and resistance: Identity dynamics in the Early Iron Age Southern Levant

Shlomo Bunimovitz, Zvi Lederman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The early Iron Age (twelfth-eleventh centuries BC) in the southern Levant (Israel/Palestine) saw the disintegration of Egyptian imperial control and of the Canaanite city-state system that had characterized the region in the Late Bronze Age. New social and cultural groups - Philistines and Israelites - appeared on the historical stage. Recent archaeological research has added much new data about both groups, yet has also questioned (rightly or wrongly) traditional paradigms concerning their emergence in the land. When critically examined, it becomes clear that Philistine and Israelite identities are dialectically related. A variety of processes visible in the archaeological record - migration, interaction, border encounters, and separation - led to ethnic negotiation and demarcation. Moreover the Canaanite population, the substratum upon which the new group identities were built, played a neglected yet highly important role in the processes of ethnogenesis that took place in the region during the early Iron Age.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Prehistory of the Bronze and Iron Age Mediterranean
EditorsA. Bernard Knapp, Peter Alexander René van Dommelen
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781139028387
ISBN (Print)9780521766883
StatePublished - 2014


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