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Abstract

The Early Bronze Age (ca. 3700–2500 b.c.) was an era of wide-ranging changes in the Southern and Central Levant, commonly interpreted in the context of the advent of urban structures in this region. Key elements in regional narratives of urbanization are large fortified sites viewed as regional centers, whose local history is often perceived as a paradigmatic expression of the entire process. Here we present the first stage of research at the site of Qedesh in the Galilee (Israel), that emerged as a large Levantine hub at the turn of the 4th millennium b.c. The study is based on systematic high-resolution surface survey followed by density analysis, probing, and small-scale excavations. Our research suggests that Qedesh was a hitherto unknown key player in the interregional trajectory of social complexification by virtue of its size (min. 50 ha), composite inner structure, and ecotonal location that enhanced connectivity within an economic network associated with the production and distribution of South Levantine Metallic Ware.

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