A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

New Dates for Israel’s Domesticated Camels

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL—Radiocarbon dates for the oldest-known domesticated camel remains in Israel indicate that the pack animals did not arrive there until the ninth century B.C., or 300 years later than had been thought. “The introduction of the camel to our region was a very important economic and social development. By analyzing archaeological evidence from the copper production sites of the Aravah Valley, we were able to estimate the date of this event in terms of decades rather than centuries,” said Erez Ben-Yosef of Tel Aviv University. He and colleague Lidar Sapir-Hen speculate that the Egyptians, who had conquered the region at this time, may have imported the domesticated camels from the Arabian Peninsula for use in copper mining operations.