The Unique Specialised Economy of Judah under Assyrian Rule and its Impact on the Material Culture of the Kingdom

Israel Finkelstein*, Yuval Gadot, Dafna Langgut

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The geography of Judah is unique among the territorial kingdoms of the southern Levant, featuring four distinct regions with the potential for exploitation in different economic strategies. In the Iron IIB the vassal kingdom experienced a dramatic economic transformation directed by the Assyrian empire, from traditional Mediterranean subsistence to specialised economy based on its four zones: viticulture in the highlands, oleo-culture in the Shephelah, services to the Arabian trade in the Beersheba Valley and date and exotic plant groves in the Dead Sea Valley oases. This high-risk/high-gain system may clarify the development of advanced administration, which, in turn, explains the unique features in the material culture of Judah compared to neighbouring kingdoms: The system of stamped handles and weights and the proliferation of scribal activity. The division of the kingdom into districts, as portrayed in Josh 15, is connected to this reality, and hence probably originated slightly earlier than conventionally argued.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-279
Number of pages19
JournalPalestine Exploration Quarterly
Volume154
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Joshua 15
  • Judah
  • administration
  • agricultural specialisation
  • lmlk stamped handles
  • olive horticulture
  • ostraca
  • viticulture
  • writing

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