The Early Bronze Age I Settlement Patterns along the Coast of Israel Bearing Evidence for Micro- and Macro-regional Interactions

Mediterranean Resilience - Collapse and Adaptation in Antique Maritime Societies - Assaf Yasur-Landau

Roey Nickelsberg [+-]
University of Haifa (PhD candidate)
Roey Nickelsberg graduated from Ben Gurion University of the Negev with a degree in archaeology, and is currently doing his Ph.D. at the University of Haifa, focusing on the coastal and maritime activities along the Israeli coast during the Pottery Neolithic and the Early Bronze Age I. Roey is interested in exploring coastal communities, trade routes, and resource management by combining archaeological excavations and microarchaeological analyses. Currently, he is working on a newly excavated submerged Pottery Neolithic village and an Early Bronze Age coastal site examining the coastal activities and risk management strategies associated with coastal dwellings and sea-level rise.
Assaf Yasur-Landau [+-]
University of Haifa
Assaf Yasur-Landau is Associate Professor in the Department of Maritime Civilizations, and Head of The Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies at the University of Haifa.
Ruth Shahack-Gross [+-]
University of Haifa
Ruth Shahack-Gross is an associate professor at the University of Haifa. Her research experience includes excavation, sampling and analysis of numerous prehistoric, historic and modern (ethnoarchaeological) sites and settlements from Israel, Kenya, Cyprus, Greece and Uzbekistan. Between 2006 and 2015 she led a research group at the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science (Weizmann Institute of Science). In 2015 she founded the Laboratory for Sedimentary Archaeology at the University of Haifa. The laboratory is a hub for a new generation of scholars conducting interdisciplinary archaeological research that involves the geosciences, anthropological archaeology and microarchaeology. Her major research directions include a longue durée study of subsistence practices in the arid southern Levant, the study of anthropogenic and natural site formation processes, and recently the study of resource utilization by Neolithic to Bronze Age coastal societies.


The Early Bronze Age (EB) I represents the first time in which large sites are situated along the coast of Israel, from Ashkelon in the south to Megadim in the north. The few sites excavated thus far show that they were abandoned with the rise of urbanism (EB II). Due to relative paucity of research of this phenomenon, their role within the EB society is not yet fully understood. The southern coastal sites present strong ties with Egypt, suggesting the transportation of goods via sea routes. Other finds suggest transport of goods from inland sites to the coast, including copper from the Arava valley and basalt from the Golan region. The Northern coastal sites have not been researched systematically. This article will provide information about the settlement patterns of these northern coastal sites, including their spatial distribution, placement in relation to coastal ridges, association with natural anchorages, trade routes inland and possible evidence for maritime trade. This information will further be tied to climate and sea level reconstruction data in order to form a comprehensive overview about this coastal phenomenon. We conclude with a proposal to consider the EB I coastal settlement pattern as a new form of coastal adaptation that does not represent independent (agro-pastoral-fisher) villages but settlements annexed to an interconnected complex society. We maintain that our analysis enables better understanding of these settlements as part of the EB I society as well as the reason for its discontinuation with the rise of urbanism in the EB II.

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Nickelsberg, Roey; Yasur-Landau, Assaf; Shahack-Gross, Ruth. The Early Bronze Age I Settlement Patterns along the Coast of Israel Bearing Evidence for Micro- and Macro-regional Interactions. Mediterranean Resilience - Collapse and Adaptation in Antique Maritime Societies. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Mar 2022. ISBN 9780000000000. Date accessed: 22 Oct 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.41500. Mar 2022

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