Settlement fluctuations and environmental changes in Israel's coastal plain during the Early Bronze Age

Avraham Faust, Yosef Ashkenazy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

The possibility of a decline of settlement in the coastal plain during the urban phases of the Early Bronze Age has been noted in passing by many researchers, but as these were usually working on a local or regional scale, the evidence has not yet been addressed systematically. In the present paper, we seek to quantify the extent of this decline, and attempt to explain it, by linking the archaeological data to climatic evidence which seems to point to environmental change at that time. In particular this took the form of increased precipitation which would have intensified existing drainage problems leading to increased flooding and the transformation of arable land into unhealthy marshland, which would have encouraged a decline in human settlement activity. We propose that these processes are responsible for the fact that the 'urban revolution' of the Early Bronze Age (characterized by large, densely occupied, fortified and relatively complex settlements) appears to have by-passed much of the coastal plain, where such developments are not attested before the 2nd millennium BC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-39
Number of pages21
JournalLevant
Volume41
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2009

Keywords

  • Coastal plain
  • Early Bronze Age
  • Environmental change
  • Israel
  • Urbanization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology

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