Theoretical and Methodological Comments on Social Complexity and State Formation in Biblical Archaeology

Erez Ben-Yosef, Zachary Thomas

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


Economic development resulting from the exploitation of animals in the Chalcolithic period is considered one of the major factors that promoted early urbanism in the period that followed. In the current paper, we examine the animal economy in two phases of the Chalcolithic period, and track changes in exploitation of animals over time. We examine when and where exploitation of secondary products became intense. To do this, we reviewed published faunal assemblages from the southern Levant, and, based on models, estimated the exploitation of animals. Our results suggest that evidence for the exploitation of cattle for work and caprines for milk is present only beginning in the Late Chalcolithic-Ghassulian, and not from the earlier Wadi Raba and Pre-Ghassulian cultures. This significant economic advance, which transformed animal roles from a source of meat into a marketable commodity, occurred gradually across the studied period.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication“And in Length of Days Understanding” (Job 12:12)
Subtitle of host publicationEssays on Archaeology in the Eastern Mediterranean and Beyond in Honor of Thomas E. Levy
EditorsErez Ben-Yosef, Ian W. N. Jones
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9783031273308
ISBN (Print)9783031273292, 9783031273322
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NameInterdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology
ISSN (Print)1568-2722
ISSN (Electronic)2730-6984


  • Social complexity
  • Archaeological theory
  • Nomadism
  • Polymorphic societies
  • Architectural bias
  • Social evolution
  • Ancient Israel
  • Monumentality


Dive into the research topics of 'Theoretical and Methodological Comments on Social Complexity and State Formation in Biblical Archaeology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this