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Re: [ANE-2] Re: Early Bronze Age Urbanism and then some

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  • eliot braun
    As a claim was made that: Pre-Hellenistic Palestine was never able to sustain cities of the Hazor size. , I feel it incumbent upon myself to defend my EB
    Message 1 of 148 , Dec 3, 2011
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      As a claim was made that: "Pre-Hellenistic Palestine was never able to sustain cities of the Hazor size.", I feel it incumbent upon myself to defend my EB people. While the urban and urbanized/urban-like  (socially complex and hierarchical) societies of the southern Levant never reached the sizes of the larger centers of ANE societies such as those in Syria, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and Egypt, from ca. the end of Early Bronze Age I until the end of Early Bronze Age III, there was a vital urbanized society in the region.It started ca. 3000 BCE and went on until ca. 2400 BCE. It was also a culturally unifying experience, which is eminently visible in ceramic production. Previously, in EB I there was very pronounced regionalism, which tapered off greatly at the end of the period and with the advent of EB II, we see considerably more standardization. Pottery was only part of this and I'm not going to go over other features. I just wish to make a point that
      archaeology didn't start with the biblical period. Late prehistory is sorely neglected, but very important for understanding the archaeological record of the southern Levant.

      Urbanism is found at a number of megasites and in numerous smaller communities. We know of them because often they were discovered (by accident?) by excavators looking for biblical remains. Early levels at Megiddo are EB I and important. Possibly the largest and most impressive installation at the site dates from that period; it may have been downhill after that. Below Tel Hazor and Tel Dan are likely large and important occupations. Massive sites are Tel Bet Yerah, Tel Yarmuth, Ai/et-Tell, Tel Erani. Other lesser sites, (urban-like) are fortified and include: Tel Kinrot, Tall abu-al-Kharaz, Pella, Tel Shalem, Tell es-Sayidiyeh, Jericho, Tall Handaquq, Tel Afeq, Tell el-Hesy, Hebron/Tell Rumeideh, Tel Paran, Tell es-Sakan, Bab edh Dhra, Arad, Numeira, sites on the Golan, etc. (List is not exhaustive). Probably there were hierarchies and associations between them, but lacking written documents, we have little information on the numerous possibilities.
      Perhaps that is why so many people eschew studying the EB Age.

      The contribution of the EB folk has always been overlooked and belittled. I'm standing up for them. They instituted a whole new social paradigm for the region after millenia of village and hamlet life and virtually egalitarian social systems. That is quite a contribution, in my book.

      All of the rose and fell well over a millennium before the biblical period proper. If this list is not going to descend into a biblical archaeology discussion, then perhaps its members would be more careful in the statements they make.
      Eliot Braun, Ph D
      Sr. Fellow WF Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem
      Associate Researcher Centre de Recherche Français de Jérusalem
      PO Box 21, Har Adar 90836 Israel
      Tel 972-2-5345687, Cell 972-50-2231096

      From: Douglas Petrovich <dp@...>
      To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Saturday, December 3, 2011 8:49 AM
      Subject: [ANE-2] Re: Final LBA Hazor's Destruction; Was Sea Peoples, a dubious term.


      Thanks for your input. I always enjoy your replies. Someday maybe I will have the pleasure of meeting you face-to-face.

      “couldn't you bring up something better than 50+ years old rabble. I see no reference to any literature really post-Yadin. At least we could ask you to include works like Redford's definitely not new book on Egypt and Canaan from c 1992.”

      I know Redford’s book well, having used it to teach Egyptian history. He is quite weak when it comes to Canaan, however, and there really is not much insight from him whatsoever on Hazor, which is well beyond his area of focus. Allow me to prove this claim. Redford refers to Hazor 10 times. Half of those references are to MBA Hazor, and thus have no bearing on my posts. One reference, which I will treat below, is to the LB I Age. Two references are to LB II, while one is undefined, and the final reference is to Iron I.

      In Redford’s 1st reference to LB-II Hazor, he notes that Hazor was one of the medium-sized metropolitan states around which Canaanite society was shaped. The 2nd reference is a repetition of the 1st. The one chronologically undefined reference to Hazor is to note that in Joshua 11, Hazor is a region that was “peopled”. The Iron-I reference is to Hazor as one of the cities that Solomon was reported to have fortified.

      All in all, there is nothing in Redford, in reference to Hazor, into which we can sink our teeth. There is nothing tangible for our attempt to define the true destroyer of the LB-II city. To be honest, this exonerates me, and it shows that I have not only a good grasp of what is the literature on Hazor, but which sources out there are truly useful in the issue at hand.

      As for your accusation that I only referred to outdated literature (“post-Yadin”), I believe this to be an ill-founded claim. Please allow me to demonstrate by dating the sources to which I did refer:

      1) Yadin: 1972, 1993 (Note: d. 1984; the 1993 publication was jointly the work of Yadin & Ben-Tor)
      2) Ben-Tor: 1993, 1998, 1999
      3) Zuckerman: 2006, 2007
      4) Bienkowski: 1987
      5) Kitchen: 2003
      6) Pritchard: 1969
      7) Hoffmeier: 1989

      The fact is that all of my sources but one (Pritchard’s ANET) postdate Yadin. Moreover, 3 of them date within the last 8 years. And finally, 6 of my sources postdate the Redford work you suggested. Therefore, I fully believe that your accusation is proven to be unjustified.

      “I remembered from oral communication the present excavator Ben Tor saying that LB Hazor was not a Palestinian but a Syrian city.”

      Having dug with Ben-Tor at Hazor, and having conversed numerous times with him (short and long conversations), I never recall his asserting that Hazor was a Syrian site. Moreover, in the extensive reading of his publications that I have read, I also do not recall reading such an assertion. Perhaps someone who has heard or read this from him can confirm your recollection. Until then, I honestly tend to doubt that this would be true.

      The other question certainly is to what time period was he referring, if this recollection be true. Certainly in the MBA, Hazor was an Amorite city, but I am not too comfortable calling Amorite “Syrian”. Nonetheless, the period of focus in my posts is LB II (mostly) and LB I (tangentially).

      In these periods, Hazor is clearly Canaanite (or perhaps Canaanite/Amorite). The Amarna Letters confirm this reality quite clearly. Hazor mingled with Canaanite cities and with Egypt. This was clear even during LB I. Redford (Egypt, Canaan, 168, ftn. 201) lists the representatives of Djahy (Palestine) whom Amenhotep II convened. This list includes, among others, Ashkelon, Sharon, Megiddo, Tanaach, Chinneroth, and Hazor.

      So, the textual evidence clearly portrays Hazor of the entire LBA as being Canaanite/Palestinian, and not Syrian. If you can prove to me that Ben-Tor views Hazor of the LBA—of any phase—to be Syrian, I will be willing to paint my hair pink. Certainly they traded freely with Syria and the lands beyond, but this does not make them Syrian.

      “I would use Yadin for nothing today.”

      You know, at the University of Toronto, as at many other places, we have the loveliest fights between the archaeologists and the epigraphers. I just love listening to these debates. But your comment shows me that you are not an archaeologist.

      I remember writing a paper for a PhD class that was taught by a prominent Syro-Pal archaeologist, and he chewed me out for citing a zillion modern commentators/article-writers while omitting ONE author who was an earlier 1st-hand archaeologist at the site. Probably all text-people, epigraphers, and language-people similarly would get burned in the same way.

      His point was well taken for me, though. The most important sources with which to interact are those produced by the actual archaeologists, be they ultra-recent or from 50 years ago. So for my money, I’ll take Yadin’s actual interaction with the material over a more recent writer’s musings any day. But in the end, my preferred approach is a “both-and”, not an “either-or”. But in my opinion, the 3 most important people to cite on Hazor are Yadin, Ben-Tor, and Zuckerman, our 3 most recent excavators.

      “Biblical archaeologist, and Israeli propagandist, an unholy alliance.”

      I am never so interested in citing or not-citing authors and scholars due to their views of the Bible, or being anti- or pro-Israeli. I do not see that as a scholarly means of judging. I prefer to evaluate their work apart from their leanings on such issues. I just want to know how accurate are there reportings and their interpretation of the evidence. As one of my profs used to say: truth has a way of rising to the top. That is all I am out to find; as I sift, the truth just seems to keep rising to the top.

      Appreciating the interaction,

      Doug Petrovich
      Toronto, Canada

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    • aren
      Raz, Once again, I m rather hesitant to get into this, since the ongoing back and forth is most often done on the basis of party lines and self-perceived
      Message 148 of 148 , Dec 6, 2011
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        Once again, I'm rather hesitant to get into this, since the ongoing back and forth is most often done on the basis of "party lines" and self-perceived "truths" and often without reference to the latest research in various areas.

        I was not, in any way stating who has the truth or not, at this or that university. For that matter, I felt that both sides of what appeared to be a completely aimless argument were not arguing about details of the most updated discussions and recent evidence of the LB destructions and/or the Sea Peoples, but rather going over their "party lines" - of which each side was totally convinced that his/her "truth" had "won" long ago (and nothing scares me more [in research, religion and politics] than those who know for sure that they are absolutely right).

        Simplistic conceptions of the various ideological divisions and scholarly camps are really only useful if you are interested in the debate - and not the content (or the history and sociology of research). Current research, with an overflow of wide ranging data, has shown, in my humble opinion, if anything, that the various ideological "camps" of the historical reconstruction of the beginning of the Iron Age are all wrong (or if you want, they are all partially right)! Things were much more complicated than previously assumed.
        For example, the simplistic explanation of the Philistines as monolithic conquerors does not hold - but neither does the often repeated mantra that there is no evidence of the influx of Aegean (or rather "western") oriented cultural elements. Au contraire - there is plenty of evidence of this, and that it can most probably be connected to the actual arrival of bona fide "bodies" who carried these cultural influences to the Levant.
        And to make things ever more multi-faceted, this is true to varying degrees in different areas, such as if we compare the situation in Philistia, Phoenicia and the Amuq. To try and explain away all these things in simplistic terms may sound good in a debating society - but not for those of us who are intimately involved in the nitty-gritty details of the relevant archaeological finds.
        Knowing Hebrew is not a sine qua non for studying the archaeology of this region, just like you can study the archaeology of Denmark, or Finland, without knowing the local languages. But, it can be very helpful (to say the least, as you well know).
        AND, when dealing with a topic such as the destruction of Hazor (which much of the recent discussion on this list was not demonstrating an awareness of much of the most updated research), if the most recent discussion is in Hebrew, it is worthwhile to relate to it.

        But hey - I've long ago had the feeling that this list is all too often more about the sociology of research and the psychology of the researchers, than research itself.

        But that is my opinion - and what do I know...

        Aren Maeir
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