Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Levant - SAHL

"Walled Up to Heaven": The Evolution of Middle Bronze Age Fortification Strategies in the Levant
Burke A. "Walled Up to Heaven": The Evolution of Middle Bronze Age Fortification Strategies in the Levant.; 2008. Publisher's VersionAbstract

As the first comprehensive study of fortification systems and defensive strategies in the Levant during the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 1900 to 1500 B.C.E.), Walled up to Heaven is an indispensable contribution to the study of this period and of early warfare in the ancient Near East. Although archaeologists and ancient historians alike have discussed a variety of theories regarding the origin and cultural significance of the construction of earthen ramparts during the Middle Bronze Age, only this work addresses these questions in detail. In a tour de force, Burke traces the diachronic evolution and geographic distribution of the architectural features and settlement strategies connected with the emergence of Middle Bronze Age defenses in the Levant. By synthesizing historical and archaeological data from Mesopotamia and Egypt as well as the Levant, he reveals the interconnectedness of the Near Eastern world during the first half of the second millennium to an extent not recently considered. The result is a detailed employment of cognitive, social, and dirt archaeology to reconstruct the political, social, military, and cultural implications of the construction of monumental defenses and the development of defensive networks during the period of Amorite hegemony in the Levant.

Aaron Burke is Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of California at Los Angeles. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2004.

Canaanites, Chronologies, and Connections: The Relationship of Middle Bronze Age IIA Canaan to Middle Kingdom Egypt
Cohen S. Canaanites, Chronologies, and Connections: The Relationship of Middle Bronze Age IIA Canaan to Middle Kingdom Egypt.; 2002. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The beginning of the Middle Bronze Age (MB IIA) in Canaan (ca. 1950-1740 B.C.E.) set the stage for many of the cultural, political, and economic institutions that shaped the ancient Near East. Particular theoretical models for the analysis of complex societies are used in this study to examine textual, pictorial, and archaeological evidence relating to the nature and organization of MB IIA Canaan. The written and pictorial evidence pertaining to Egyptian-Canaanite contact indicates a fluid relationship that changed over time in response to changing social, political, and economic developments in both cultures. As a result, Egyptian policy toward Canaan was multifaceted, including approaches ranging from the use of military force to magical rites. The analysis of MB IIA site-distribution indicates that Canaanite settlement first developed in areas on the coast most conducive to agricultural growth. It then progressed according to a dendritic pattern of organization along the east-west wadi systems into the interior in response to a growing demand for resources and raw materials, fueled in part by contact with Egypt and the international world of the eastern Mediterranean. Chronological correlations between the Canaanite settlement systems and Middle Kingdom Egypt also indicate that the beginning of the MB IIA in Canaan dates well into the Middle Kingdom, rather than being contemporary with its beginnings, as previously understood. Findings concerning the Canaanite-Egyptian relationship, Canaanite site-distribution, and chronological connections between these two regions all illustrate the development of Canaan from a society in the first stages of urbanization to a fully urbanized one, setting the stage for the rise of the Hyksos to power in Egypt.

Excavations at the Early Bronze IV Sites of Jebel Qa'aqir and Be'er Resisim
Dever WG. Excavations at the Early Bronze IV Sites of Jebel Qa'aqir and Be'er Resisim.; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This volume is the final report of excavations carried out in the Hebron hills and the Negev desert in 1967-1980 on behalf of Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem and the University of Arizona. They were pioneering, multidisciplinary projects that helped to illuminate what was then a poorly known “Dark Age” in the cultural history of ancient Palestine, a nonurban interlude of pastoral nomadic movements over several centuries (ca. 2400–2000 B.C.E.) between the great urban civilizations of the early Bronze Ages. Eighteen appendixes by specialists in many disciplines analyze all aspects of material culture and human and animal remains. A history of previous scholarship and a synthesis of the EB IV period in both Israel and Jordan conclude the volume, which will be a landmark study for many years.

William G. Dever, who began EB IV studies with his Harvard doctoral dissertation in 1966, is Distinguished Professor of Archaeology at Lycoming College and Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology Emeritus at the University of Arizona. He is also an adjunct Professor of Archaeology at Pennsylvania State University.

The Archaeology of Jordan and Beyond: Essays in Memory of James A. Sauer
Greene JA, Coogan MD, Stager LE ed. The Archaeology of Jordan and Beyond: Essays in Memory of James A. Sauer.; 2000. Publisher's VersionAbstract

James A. Sauer was for many years the Director of the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman, Jordan, leading it to the preeminent place it now occupies as a research institution dedicated to the archaeology and history of Transjordan. This volume honors him, with more than 50 contributions from colleagues and friends.

With this volume, the Harvard Semitic Museum inaugurates a new series entitled "Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Levant."

Sea Peoples of the Northern Levant? Aegean-Style Pottery from Early Iron Age Tell Tayinat
Janeway B. Sea Peoples of the Northern Levant? Aegean-Style Pottery from Early Iron Age Tell Tayinat. Harvard Semitic Museum / Eisenbrauns; 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Did an invasion of the Sea Peoples cause the collapse of the Late Bronze Age palace-based economies of the Levant, as well as of the Hittite Empire? Renewed excavations at Tell Tayinat in southeast Turkey are shedding new light on the critical transitional phase of the Late Bronze/Early Iron Age (ca. 1200–1000 B.C.), a period that in the Northern Levant has until recently been considered a “Dark Age,” due in large part to the few extant textual sources relating to its history. However, recently discovered epigraphic data from both the site and the surrounding region suggest the formation of an Early Iron Age kingdom that fused Hieroglyphic Luwian monumental script with a strong component of Aegeanizing cultural elements. The capital of this putative/erstwhile kingdom appears to have been located at Tell Tayinat in the Amuq Valley.

More specifically, this formal stylistic analysis examines a distinctive painted pottery known as Late Helladic IIIC found at the site of Tayinat during several seasons of excavation. The assemblage includes examples of Aegean-style bowls, kraters, and amphorae bearing an array of distinctive decorative features. A key objective of the study distinguishes Aegean stylistic characteristics both in form and in painted motifs from those inspired by the indigenous culture.

Drawing on a wide range of parallels from Philistia through the Levant, Anatolia, the Aegean Sea, the Greek Mainland, and Cyprus, this research begins to fill a longstanding lacuna in the Amuq Valley and attempts to correlate with major historical and cultural trends in the Northern Levant and beyond.


The House of the Father as Fact and Symbol: Patrimonialism in Ugarit and the Ancient Near East
Schloen DJ. The House of the Father as Fact and Symbol: Patrimonialism in Ugarit and the Ancient Near East.; 2001. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The first two volumes on patrimonialism in Ugarit and the ancient Near East, this book opens with a lengthy introduction on the interpretation of social action and households in the ancient world. Following this foundation, Schloen embarks on a societal and domestic study of the Late Bronze Age kingdom of Ugarit in its wider Near Eastern context.

The Material Culture of the Northern Sea Peoples in Israel
Stern E. The Material Culture of the Northern Sea Peoples in Israel.; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This monograph is the product of Stern's two decades of excavation at Tel Dor on the Carmel Coast, a city that Egyptian sources indicate was ruled in the eleventh century BCE by a Sikil king. Near the end of the period during which he directed excavations there, Stern began to notice the unique material culture of the Northern Sea Peoples and connected this material with discoveries in adjacent regions and in the north of Israel. A related survey of the ‘Akko Valley conducted by Avner Raban resulted in a further accumulation of data that supported the conclusion that the Sea Peoples that Egyptian sources indicated had settled in this region had in fact left behind evidence of their presence. This realization preceded the appearance of additional information—both material culture and inscriptions—that reflected the presence of Northern Sea Peoples throughout portions of northern Syria and southern Anatolia.

Two main principles guide Stern's study. (1) Historical sources provide the best evidence for contemporary events—in this case, specifically, the evidence concerns the Sikils and Sherden, as well as biblical sources that refer to Northern Sea Peoples as "Philistines" and that recount their wars with Israel in the north of the land, in the Jezreel Valley, and in Gilboa. (2) Ethnic archaeology is a genuine concept: every people that settles in any area naturally leaves marks of its own culture. The conclusion that is traced here, then, is that the culture of the Northern Sea Peoples, though difficult to identify, nonetheless did leave clear evidence that becomes apparent when the relevant strata at sites along the coast from the Yarkon and farther north and in the 'Akko and Jezreel Valleys are examined.

In this volume Stern presents the most complete picture that can be drawn from the evidence uncovered in the past few decades. Lavish illustrations accompany the discussion.