Archaeology Magazine

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The Mysterious Rulers of Middle Bronze Age Canaan

Monday, October 21, 2013

kabri-overhead2 HAIFA, ISRAEL—The Canaanite palace at Tel Kabri was occupied for more than 250 years, from approximately 1850 to 1600 B.C., but the residents of Tel Kabri and other palaces in the Levant do not appear to have used a writing system or a Mesopotamian-style of government to maintain order. (The few inscriptions that have been found in Bronze Age Canaan are from Tel Hazor, which is usually associated with Syrian culture.)  Instead, Assaf Yasur-Landau of the University of Haifa and Eric H. Cline of George Washington University think that the residents of Tel Kabri relied upon a system of obligation. “Through long-lasting contact with other families it managed to accumulate influence, debts, promises, property, and land,” said Yasur-Landau.