Thursday, September 20, 2007

Serendipity in the Negev

The Jerusalem Post (Yocheved Miriam Russo)

It's a very slow news day, so I've thrown this one in for general interest, although there is a link to Egyptology. Steven Rosen and Gunnar Lehmann have been leading an excavation in the Neghev (Bronze and Iron Ages), in the vicinity of excavations where earlier Egyptian-style remains were found. The two-page description of the excavation is interesting in its own right, but there are sections dealing with the relationship between the Philistine and Egyptian sites in the same area:

In previous nearby excavations, as many as 20 similar structures, known as "Egyptian residences," had been found. "These structures date from the late 13th and early 12th centuries, BCE, so apparently there was a gap between the two settlements of maybe 60-80 years. The underlying Egyptian style of buildings is very different from the Canaanites. The bricks are made of different substances, and they're a different size and style."

The dig was concluded on August 23 and final analysis is not complete, but Lehmann speculated about the differences in the two settlements. "Agriculture may have been organized very differently in the two cultures," he suggested. "In the Philistine village, there was little evidence of centralization. We can speculate that perhaps those farmers were more independent, that crop production was based more on individual landholdings than it was in Egyptian villages where the Egyptian imperial administration - even in rural areas - was apparent. Egyptian farming seemed to have been based more on estates, controlled by the ruling Egyptian authorities. These are just assumptions at this point, not certainties."

See the above page for the full story.

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