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The Introduction of Domestic Camels to the Southern Levant: Evidence from the Aravah Valley


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It was recently suggested that the introduction of the camel to the southern Levant occurred in the early Iron Age (late 2nd–early 1st millennia BCE). Our study of faunal remains from Iron Age sites at Timna, together with previous studies of Late Bronze and Iron Age sites at Timna and Wadi Faynan, enable us to pinpoint this event more precisely. The new evidence indicates that the first significant appearance of camels in the Aravah Valley was not earlier than the last third of the 10th century BCE. This date accords with data from the Negev and the settled lands further to the north when the low chronology is applied to the early Iron IIA.
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TEL AVIV Vol. 40, 2013, 277–285
© Friends of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University 2013 DOI 10.1179/033443513X13753505864089
The Introduction of Domestic Camels
to the Southern Levant:
Evidence from the Aravah Valley
Lidar Sapir-Hen and Erez Ben-Yosef
Tel Aviv University
It was recently suggested that the introduction of the camel to the southern
Levant occurred in the early Iron Age (late 2nd–early 1st millennia BCE).
Our study of faunal remains from Iron Age sites at Timna, together with
previous studies of Late Bronze and Iron Age sites at Timna and Wadi
Faynan, enable us to pinpoint this event more precisely. The new evidence
indicates that the first significant appearance of camels in the Aravah
Valley was not earlier than the last third of the 10th century BCE. This date
accords with data from the Negev and the settled lands further to the
north when the low chronology is applied to the early Iron IIA.
Keywords Aravah Valley, Timna, Domestic camels, Copper production, Iron
Age, Arabian trade
The introduction of the dromedary camel (Camelus dromedarius) as a pack animal to the
southern Levant signies a crucial juncture in the history of the region; it substantially
facilitated trade across the vast deserts of Arabia, promoting both economic and social
change (e.g., Kӧhler 1984; Borowski 1998: 112‒116; Jasmin 2005). This, together with
the depiction of camels in the Patriarchal narrative, has generated extensive discussion
regarding the date of the earliest domestic camel in the southern Levant (and beyond) (e.g.,
Albright 1949: 207; Epstein 1971: 558‒584; Bulliet 1975; Zarins 1989; Köhler-Rollefson
1993; Uerpmann and Uerpmann 2002; Jasmin 2005; 2006; Heide 2010; Rosen and Saidel
2010; Grigson 2012). Most scholars today agree that the dromedary was exploited as a pack
animal sometime in the early Iron Age (not before the 12th century BCE) (Uerpmann and
Uerpmann 2002; Horwitz and Rosen 2005; Heide 2010). A recent study of Timna Site 30,
coupled with a new set of radiocarbon dates, supports this broad conclusion (Ben-Yosef
et al. 2012; Grigson 2012).1 However, observations thus far have not allowed for a dating
resolution more precise than century level at best.
In this paper we further constrain the exact timing of this event based on new data
from the well-researched copper production and trade centres of the Aravah Valley.
Situated between the deserts of Arabia and the settled land of the Mediterranean region,
and requiring transportation of large quantities of copper, these sites constitute an excellent
proxy for timing the introduction of domestic camels as pack animals to the entire southern
Identifying domestic camels
The dating of camel exploitation as a pack animal is commonly based on zooarchaeological
studies as well as artistic depictions and textual evidence. In artistic depictions camel
riders appeared during the 8th century BCE (Epstein 1971: 566; Heide 2010: 341) or the
late 10th‒9th centuries at the earliest (the Tell Halaf [Guzana] relief, Pritchard 1969a: Fig.
188), and in textual evidence as early as the 9th century BCE (Shalmaneser III’s Kurkh
Stela relating King Gindibu of Arabia sending 1000 camelry to the Battle of Qarqar,
Pritchard 1969b: 279). The identication and dating of earlier camel gurines and drawings
is debatable (Epstein 1971: 559‒561; Heide 2010: 340‒342), and at most represent the
acquaintance of ancient people with wild camels. Thus, it cannot be concluded, based
on early artefacts and drawings, that camels were exploited as pack animals prior to the
Iron Age.2
This observation is supported by zooarchaeological studies, in which the
identication of the camel’s status (domestic or wild) is based on the animal’s relative
frequency (e.g., Horwitz and Rosen 2005) and diachronic size changes (e.g., Uerpmann
and Uerpmann 2002; von den Driesch and Obermaier 2007). Identifying the means
of its exploitation (hunting, milking or riding/loading) is based on mortality proles,
sexing of the herd (e.g., Wapnish 1984; Horwitz and Rosen 2005) and bone lesions
(Grigson 2012). Based on the above criteria, previous studies have shown that the
domestic dromedary probably appeared in southeast Arabia sometime in the rst third
of the 1st millennium BCE, and earlier camel remains from Arabia are all identied as
wild (Uerpmann and Uerpmann 2002; von den Driesch and Obermaier 2007; Heide
2010). In the southern Levant, the earliest evidence of domestic camels was considered
to be from Timna Site 30 (Grigson 2012), now dated to an early phase in the Iron Age
(11th–9th centuries BCE, and see suggestion for more precise dating of these camel
bones below).
1 Contrary to previous, incorrect dating of Site 30 that gave rise to the notion that domestic
camels were introduced to the region as early as the 13th century BCE (Late Bronze Age); see
discussion in Grigson 2012.
2 This includes a depiction of a camel (unridden) on a ‘Midianite’ sherd (Qurayya Painted Ware)
from Qurayya in northwestern Arabia (Ingraham et al. 1981: Pl.79, No.14); however, not
only this might represent a wild camel—it is now suggested that the use of this pottery type
continued into the 9th century BCE (see discussion in Smith and Levy in press).
The driving factor for camel domestication is speculated to be either its milk (e.g.,
Bulliet 1975; Zarins 1989) or its advantages as a pack animal (Clutton-Brock 1987;
Uerpmann and Uerpmann 2002). However, studies of mortality proles and bone lesions
have demonstrated that the earliest documented domestic camels (to date) were exploited
as pack animals (Uerpmann and Uerpmann 2002; Grigson 2012); other considerations
also render early phase of exploitation exclusively for milk rather unlikely (Uerpmann
and Uerpmann 2002: 250).
New evidence from the Aravah Valley
Recent research at the copper production sites of the Aravah Valley (e.g., Ben-Yosef
2010; Levy et al. in press a) has yielded a substantial amount of radiocarbon dates for
stratied contexts of the Late Bronze and Iron Ages (Levy et al. 2008; Ben-Yosef et al.
2010; Ben-Yosef et al. 2012). This enables high resolution studies of the chronological
background of the faunal remains, while using absolute dates rather than the relative and
debated terminology of culture-ceramic periods for the Iron Age southern Levant (e.g.,
Levy and Higham 2005). The dates from these sites show that copper production in the
Aravah Valley started as early as the late 14th‒13th centuries BCE and ceased towards
the end of the 9th century BCE (e.g., Ben-Yosef et al. 2010), covering the period in which
domestic camels were introduced to the region. Hence, diachronic comparisons of faunal
assemblages (on inter- and intra-site levels) from these sites are a key for precise timing
of this event. Moreover, since all of these sites were of the same nature, concerned with
copper smelting and transportation, appearance of camel remains in the stratigraphic
sequence would most probably reect its introduction as a pack animal rather than a change
in subsistence patterns (i.e., introduction of camel into the diet of the metalworkers).
Examination of our recent faunal studies from Timna (Sites 30 and 34, Sapir-Hen
and Ben-Yosef forthcoming), together with previous studies from Timna and Faynan
(Table 1) (Lernau 1988; Grigson 2012; Muniz and Levy in press; Bar-Oz and Erickson-
Gini unpublished), reveals a distinct pattern: camel bones in substantial quantities appear
only in contexts dated to the last third of the 10th and the 9th centuries BCE. This is
most evident in the extensive smelting site of Khirbet en-Nahas (KEN) in the Wadi
Faynan area, Jordan, which represents continuous production from the 13th to the late
9th centuries BCE. Camel bones were found almost exclusively in Strata II‒III that are
dated to the late 10th‒9th centuries BCE (Layers M1, S1, S2 and A2, Muniz and Levy
in press; A. Muniz, personal communication 2013;3 for stratigraphy and radiocarbon
dating see Levy et al. 2008; Levy et al. in press b: Table 2.1). They demonstrate a
sudden appearance of camels at the site, following a major change in the organization of
production in the entire region (below). So far, the only other camel bones from the early
phases of the Iron Age Aravah Valley were recorded at the only site in Timna that also
has an occupation phase of the late 10th–9th centuries BCE—Site 30 (Table 1, Grigson
3 A single bone fragment was found in an 11th century BCE context (Layer M4, Stratum VI),
and none were reported from the extensively excavated early mid-10th century BCE (Strata
VIV, Table 1, A. Muniz, personal communication 2013).
2012, including osteological indications of exploitation for transport). Although the site
represents continuous smelting from as early as the late 12th century BCE (Ben-Yosef
et al. 2012) and despite the fact that Grigson (2012) assigns the bones to the earlier
layers, we argue that the original stratigraphy reported by Rothenberg (1980) is confused,
and that the bones all originate from the last occupation phase at the site, namely from
the late 10th–9th centuries BCE (Layer I). The complicated nature of archaeological
accumulation at smelting camps renders lateral stratigraphic correlations extremely
difcult (Rothenberg 1980: 189‒192), and independent, absolute dating is needed for
each excavated area in order to establish accurate chronologies. Our investigation of
the faunal assemblage from the 2009 excavations at Site 30 (Sapir-Hen and Ben-Yosef
forthcoming) which are xed in absolute chronology based on radiocarbon dating
(Ben-Yosef et al. 2012), shows no camel in the earlier phases. Moreover, the direct
radiocarbon measurement of camel bone published recently by Grigson (2012: 84)
also suggests a late date (OxA-2165: 2650±90 BP, 969–600 BCE [1σ], calibrated using
OxCal 4.2, Ramsey 1995).
This observation is supported by the absence of camels from earlier sites in Timna
(Table 1), including the Late Bronze Age Egyptian Temple (Site 200, Lernau 1988), the
Late Bronze smelting camp of Site 2 (Bar-Oz and Erickson-Gini unpublished; the one
camel bone reported by Hakker-Orion [1984] could not be assigned to a specic period)
and the newly excavated Site 34. The latter was investigated with emphasis on the
zooarchaeological aspect (Sapir-Hen and Ben-Yosef forthcoming), and new radiocarbon
dates demonstrate that it was abandoned towards the end of the 10th century BCE (Ben-
Yosef forthcoming).
The synchronic appearance of camels at Faynan and Timna in the last third of the
10th century BCE coincides with a major change in the organization of production in
the Aravah Valley, including the abandonment of most smelting sites, centralization of
labour and a signicant improvement in smelting technologies (Ben-Yosef 2010). The
improvement in means of transportation should now be considered as another factor in
this substantial transformation of the industry, which is attributed to the campaign of
Pharaoh Shoshenq I to the region (or/and its repercussions) (Levy et al. 2008; Ben-Yosef
et al. 2010; Levy et al. 2012).
Camel remains from other sites in the southern Levant
Previous studies also support an Iron II date for the introduction of domestic camels to the
southern Levant. While Neolithic to Iron Age I camel remains have been reported from several
sites (reviewed in Horwitz and Rosen 2005; Grigson 2012), the assemblages are meagre (and
in several cases their dating is questionable), and most probably represent wild camels (ibid.).4
4 Tell Jemmeh (Wapnish 1984) is often cited as evidence for the presence of domestic camel
in this region in the Late Bronze Age. However, the site was never fully published and the
context of camel bones is insecure, described as “unlikely [to] pre-date 1100 BC” (ibid.: 171).
Furthermore, the domestic status of the camels is based on the assessment of the entire camel
assemblage at the site, treating Iron Age to Hellenistic remains as one population.
The compilation of Horwitz and Rosen (2005: Table 2) shows that camel remains become
common only in contexts from the Iron II (Horwitz and Rosen 2005: 126).5
Camel remains from Late Bronze and Iron Age sites in
the Aravah Valley
Site Context Camel PeriodǂReference
Site 200 Cultic Site - Late Bronze Lernau 1988
Site 2 (2005) Copper smelting - Late Bronze
Bar-Oz and Erickson-Gini
Site 2 (1964) Copper smelting *Unclear context
and dating
Rothenberg 1972: 105; Hakker-
Orion 1984
KEN (Stratum VI) Copper smelting *Late 12th‒11th,
one bone
Muniz and Levy in press/pers.
Site 34 Copper smelting - 11th‒mid-10th Sapir-Hen and Ben-Yosef
Site 30 (2009) Copper smelting - 11th‒mid-10th Sapir-Hen and Ben-Yosef
KEN (StrataV-IV) Copper smelting - 10th Muniz and Levy in press/pers.
Site 30 (1974,
Copper smelting +Late 10th‒9th
(see text)
Grigson 2012
KEN (Strata III-II) Copper smelting +Late 10th‒9th Muniz and Levy in press/pers.
ǂ Abundance of radiocarbon dates from the Aravah copper smelting sites enable us to provide
absolute dates for contexts with camel remains, refraining from relative terminology. The
radiocarbon boundary between contexts of “mid-10th century BCE” and “late-10th century
BCE” in the table (the latter represents the rst appearance of camels in the Aravah) occurred
in the beginning of the last third of this century; for precise dates and statistics, see references.
* Unclear context/one fragment.
When focusing on the Negev sites (Table 2), this pattern becomes clearer: Camels
are absent from Iron I contexts at Beer-sheba (Strata IXVIII, Hellwing 1984) and Tell
Masos (Stratum III, Tchernov and Drori 1983), which are located directly on the principal
trade route from the Aravah Valley to the Mediterranean coast. Camels rst appear in the
Negev during the Iron II, and there is a gradual increase in their exploitation. They become
common in the early Iron Age IIA “Negev Fortresses” (Cohen and Cohen-Amin 2004;
for the ceramic phase see Herzog and Singer-Avitz 2004: 225‒226) that were recently
connected with the copper production industry of the Aravah (Martin et al. 2013; Martin
and Finkelstein 2013). In the Iron IIB camels appear in almost all of the studied contexts
(except the cultic site of Qitmit, Table 2).
5 These include the camel remains from Izbet Sartah (Hellwing and Adjeman 1986) that are now
dated to the early Iron IIA (Finkelstein and Piasetzky 2006: 55).
Camel remains from Iron Age sites in the Negev
Site Context Camel Period Reference
Tel Masos III Town - Early/middle Iron I Tchernov and Drori 1993
Beer-sheba IX, VIII Settlement - Late Iron I Hellwing 1984
Tel Masos II, I Town - Early Iron IIA Tchernov and Drori 1993
Beer-sheba VII Settlement - Early Iron IIA Hellwing 1984
Horvat Rahba “Fort” +Early Iron IIA Hakker-Orion 2004
Horvat Masora “Fort” - Early Iron IIA Hakker-Orion 2004
Horvat Ramat Boker “Fort” +Early Iron IIA Hakker-Orion 2004
Har Raviv “Fort” - Early Iron IIA Hakker-Orion 2004
Beerotaim “Fort” - Early Iron IIA Hakker-Orion 2004
Ramat Matred “Fort” - Early Iron IIA Hakker-Orion 2004
Beer Har “Fort” +Early Iron IIA Hakker-Orion 2004
Metsudat La>ana “Fort” - Early Iron IIA Hakker-Orion 2004
Metsudat Har Saad “Fort” +Early Iron IIA Hakker-Orion 2004
Metsudat Nahal Yeter “Fort” - Early Iron IIA Hakker-Orion 2004
Metsudat Nahal Sirpad “Fort” - Early Iron IIA Hakker-Orion 2004
Metsudat >Ein Kadis “Fort” +Early Iron IIA Hakker-Orion 2004
Kadesh Barne>a
(Strata 4-1)
+Iron IIA-C Hakker-Orion 2004
Beer-sheba VI Settlement - Late Iron IIA Hellwing 1984
Beer-sheba II Town +Iron IIB Sasson 2004
>Aroer III Town +Iron IIB Motro 2011
Tel >Ira Town +9th-8th centuries Horwitz 1999
>Aroer IIb Town +Iron IIC Motro 2011
Tawilan Town + Late Iron II Köhler-Rollefson 1995
Qitmit Cultic site - Iron IIC Horwitz and Raphael 1995
Conclusions: The introduction of domestic camels to the
southern Levant
Current data from copper smelting sites of the Aravah Valley enable us to pinpoint
the introduction of domestic camels to the southern Levant more precisely based on
stratigraphic contexts associated with an extensive suite of radiocarbon dates. The data
indicate that this event occurred not earlier than the last third of the 10th century BCE and
most probably during this time. The coincidence of this event with a major reorganization
of the copper industry of the region—attributed to the results of the campaign of Pharaoh
Shoshenq I—raises the possibility that the two were connected, and that camels were
introduced as part of the efforts to improve efciency by facilitating trade.
The observations from the Aravah Valley are in accordance with reports from the
Negev and the settled land, which demonstrate high frequency of camel remains only from
the Iron IIA onward. Moreover, as camels at Negev sites appear in association with the
ceramic phase of the early Iron IIA (Herzog and Singer-Avitz 2004), the evidence from
the Aravah supports low chronology dates for this period (Finkelstein 1996; Finkelstein
and Piasetzky 2010) (for the debate see Levy and Higham 2005).
In addition to new insights regarding animal economy during the early phases of the
Iron Age, our results have direct implications on dating the beginning of the Arabian trade
and the many related economic and social phenomena (e.g., Groom 1981; Finkelstein 1988;
Artzy 1994; Singer-Avitz 1999; Jasmin 2005; 2006; Rosen and Saidel 2010). As most
probably signicant trade between southern Arabia and the Levant was not feasible before
the use of camels as pack animals (see, e.g., Jasmin 2006), it could not have commenced
before the last third of the 10th century BCE.
We thank Israel Finkelstein and Thomas E. Levy for insightful comments that helped
improve the manuscript. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for providing valuable
advice. The faults that remain are, of course, our own. This research was supported by
Marie Curie FP7-PEOPLE-2012-CIG grant #334274.
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... The first robustly dated domestic camel remains appear in the Negev Desert as an introduced animal in the last third of the 10 th century BC i.e. Iron Age II (SAPIR-HEN and BEN-YOSEF, 2013).This provides a clear chronological terminus post quem for images of camels in the rock art of the Negev. ...
This research is based on 296 camel petroglyphs from four surveyed areas within the Negev Highlands, Israel. We divided the camel petroglyphs into four styles, each represents the camel in a specific form with reoccurring attributes that are embedded with cultural information and meaning. Each of the styles was attributed to a chronological period based on the colour of their patina and related inscriptions. We demonstrate stylistic changes over time that may be related to transformations in the economic exploitation of camels and possibly the introduction of a different camel breed associated with population movement into the region. The symbolic role that the camel may have played in past Negbite societies is also discussed. Keywords: Camelus dromedarius, Southern Levant, Camel Breeds, Rock Art
... The widespread adoption of the camel in Arabia led to changes in peripheral pastoral adaptations in the domestication of herd animals, the adoption of herd animals by desert societies, the expansion of pastoralists deeper into desert areas, the rise of tribal or-ganisation, exploitation of a new pack and riding animal, the integration into the rising of imperial market systems and important technological change in the Near East and Arabian Peninsula. The site of Al-Midamman demonstrates how the domestication of the dromedary camel in the 1st millennium BC would lead to greater interrelations across the peninsula (Magee, 2014;Artzy, 1994;Beech et al., 2009;Sapir-Hen and Ben-Yosen, 2013;Rosen and Saidel, 2010). The impact of this domestication on the Arabian Peninsula was very deep. ...
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An outline of some major contacts between societies from the Arabian Peninsula to the Aegean world during the 1st millennium BCE is presented. It considers the trade progression from the Late Bronze Age to the end of the 1st Millennium BCE and discusses the value and insight of long historical arcs and structures, the importance of large-area historical surveys through different strands of historical, and archaeological evidence for the interpretation of persistent patterns of trade. Trade routes, exchanges of products, technological developments, diplomatic relations, as well as climatic, migratory , and demographic features, are discussed. On the basis of evidence from trade in metals and aromatics, navigation and transportation technologies, as well as water management strategies in remote and arid locations which is further supported by contemporary historical sources, inscriptions , and recent archaeological discoveries, this publication describes the long-term structures of interaction and exchange between the Arabian and the Aegean worlds. These structures, we argue, can be summed up into the notion of an "Aegean-Arabian axis" in which products and culture were tangibly shared. With regards to the Hellenization of societies in Western Asia, the case of the Nabataeans demonstrates the cultural and economic impact of trade and the selective import of cultural and aesthetic tropes, as seen in the architectural evidence from Petra and Mada'In Salih. This approach, alongside the growing complexity and regulation of trade, provides a basis from which to estimate the scale and degree of the impact and effects of events and structures such as, climate, economic crises and large demographic migrations, have had on regional economies by pinpointing changes in consumption, or deviation of a route due to shifting realities that make-or-break societies along nodal points on the Arabo-Aegean Axis. By outlining aspects that connect the Arabian and Aegean worlds such as technologies, customs, seafaring, water systems, and domestications that supported the intensification of trade throughout the 1st millennium BCE, we elucidate some diachronic contacts along the Aegean-Arabian axis. This newly defined case area examines qualitatively the development of connectivity between distant societies of the Aegean Sea and the Arabian Peninsula. The arbitrary delineation of unconventional regions shows how tangible historical links can be produced which emphasize different axes of connections that would otherwise be less visible, less recorded, or omitted. The description of long-term interactions and exchanges between the Arabian and the Aegean worlds demonstrably form an "Aegean-Arabian axis" where products and culture were shared.
... These faunal trap sites increase their paleontological significance in that they instantaneously place an entire animal carcass into a protected environment favoring osseous preservation, skipping multiple bone destroying and dispersing steps including dismemberment, transport, and consumption by carnivores (Brain 1981;Pokines and Kerbis Peterhans 2007;Pokines et al. 2011) and subaerial weathering (Behrensmeyer 1978). If sufficiently deep, the WZM-1 deposits may record the history of environmental changes, potentially including natural fluctuations in environment during the Pleistocene and Holocene (Tchernov 1975(Tchernov , 1982Cordova 2000Cordova , 2007aCordova , 2007bCordova et al. 2005Stiner 2005), the entire history of the spread of domesticated plant and animal species throughout the Levant (Vigne et al. 2011;Zeder 2011;Sapir-Hen and Ben-Yosef 2013), and the associated loss of wild species (Tsahar et al. 2009). ...
Wadi Zarqa Ma’in 1 (WZM-1) is a natural faunal trap sinkhole 10 km southwest of the city of Madaba in Jordan, near the Dead Sea. The limestone karst feature measures over 30 m in maximum depth and is a significant regional source of faunal, microbotanical, and sedimentological data recording climate change and paleoecology. A new method of sampling was tested during summer 2019 involving the use of a backpack-sized Shaw Portable Core Drill that allowed a narrow-bore sampling through the mixed fine sediment and boulder matrix. The maximum depth reached below surface through a combination of test pitting and coring was 8.8 m. Multiple locations could be sampled for radiocarbon analysis, and the deepest (7.85 m) sample yielded a calibrated date of 3644-3382 BCE.
An important method of resolving contradictions in the Bible was developed by Saadia Gaon and Menasseh ben Israel based on the writings of Aristotle. It is rooted in the insight that failure to recognize linguistic ambiguity is a common source of apparent contradiction—in the Bible as elsewhere. In the case of the apparent Ishmaelite/Midianite contradiction, the crucial ambiguity—overlooked by critics of all persuasions—is syntactic. There is a second syntactic reading of וַיַּעַבְרוּ אֲנָשִׁים מִדְיָנִים סֹחֲרִים that eliminates the contradiction and solves other problems, leaving only a lack of uniformity. For the latter, there are three literary explanations, which complement each other. They involve (1) stylistic variation, (2) subjective perspective (based on the historical context), and (3) keywords and foreshadowing.
Modern scholars often accept the view that the narratives within the Pentateuch are not records of actual events. That is because, when taken literally, they are at odds with the findings of the modern sciences of archaeology, palaeontology, geology, and biology. Such a view is not unique to modern scholarship but is also endorsed in the Old Testament, Jewish writings from the late centuries BC, the New Testament and several ancient Christian authors of the first few centuries. Such writings continue a longstanding tradition that sees the Pentateuch not as history but as māshāl and ḥîdot (categories of writing with a double meaning).
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Synthetic work centered on the city of Harran throughout the Neo-Assyrian period, with the aim of establishing a general view of the city's particularities, growth and importance, as well as link with the sagonid dynasty. Travail synthétique centré sur la ville de Harran à travers l'époque néo-assyrienne, avec pour but d'établir une vue générale des particularités de la ville, de sa croissance et de son importance, ainsi que son lien avec la dynastie sargonide.
In this essay, I explore the literary background of 2 Sam 8:1b–14. The Old Sabaic royal summary inscription RES 3945/3946 exhibits significant structural and compositional parallels to the summary account of David’s achievements. I argue that the quantity and quality of such similarities firmly locates the writing practices underlying the literary history of 2 Sam 8:1b–14 within a scribal tradition of narrating royal accomplishments shared in Israel and Ancient South Arabia. Based on this historical approximation, it is possible to revisit the problem of the passage’s literary shape and position within the book of Samuel.
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The dromedary camel has long played an essential role in facilitating human exploitation of desert regions. In addition to its importance as a beast of burden, it serves as a primary food source due to the high nutritious value and quantity of its milk. In the Southern Levant, there is little available information on the antiquity of camel milking. This paper summarises current data on the life cycle of the camel as it relates to milk production and milking, as well as ethnographic accounts dealing with camel dairying in this region. This information is used to assess the currently available archaeozoological data for camel milking in the past.
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Radiocarbon dating is one of the key discoveries of the twentieth century. Archaeologists have recently begun to employ high precision radiocarbon dating to explore the chronology of the Iron Age in the Levant. Biblical archaeology - revolutionized by radiocarbon dating and statistical modelling - is leading the way in which archaeologists approach material culture. The Bible and Radiocarbon Dating brings together a leading team of archaeologists, Egyptologists, Biblical scholars and radiocarbon dating specialists to examine the interface between archaeology, science-based research methods and the Bible. The book examines the dating of sites across the East Mediterranean, Jordon and Israel to test hypotheses concerning the historicity of the Old Testament.
People usually study the chronologies of archaeological sites and geological sequences using many different kinds of evidence, taking into account calibrated radiocarbon dates, other dating methods and stratigraphic information. Many individual case studies demonstrate the value of using statistical methods to combine these different types of information. I have developed a computer program, OxCal, running under Windows 3.1 (for IBM PCs), that will perform both 14 C calibration and calculate what extra information can be gained from stratigraphic evidence. The program can perform automatic wiggle matches and calculate probability distributions for samples in sequences and phases. The program is written in C++ and uses Bayesian statistics and Gibbs sampling for the calculations. The program is very easy to use, both for simple calibration and complex site analysis, and will produce graphical output from virtually any printer.