The ongoing discussion on the nature of the organization of Early Bronze Age settlements and their social structure in an intensely settled part of the southern Levant (independent 'city-states' vs 'neither cities nor states') calls for data on which to base our understanding of shared economic patterns and regional connections. Here, we report the results of our macrobotanical investigation of the Early Bronze Age III (2,680–2,600 cal BCE) levels at Tell eṣ-Ṣâfī/Gath, a large fortified settlement in central Canaan. A dense residential neighborhood was sampled at high resolution for a multi-faceted analysis of plant use in order to address its economic strategies and regional relationships. The resulting rich and diverse plant assemblage enables reconstruction of the diversity of agriculture, fuel sources, land use practices, mobility, and connectivity. Results of the study provide, for the first time, direct botanical evidence for the structural patterns of an intensive localized agro-pastoral economy and enable comparative analysis of the regional diet. Moreover, the results shed light on rare yet continuous long-distance plant dispersal and human mobility across biogeographical boundaries within the southern Levant.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was partly supported by the following grants: from the F.I.R.S.T. (Bikura) track of the Israel Science Foundation (#32/11) to Aren M. Maeir, Ehud Weiss, and Liora Horwitz; The President‘s Doctoral Fellowship Program, Bar-Ilan University to Suembikya Frumin; and the SSHRC (Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Canada) Grant 895-2011-1005 (to Haskel J. Greenfield and Aren M. Maeir), 'Nature of early neighbourhoods in the Southern Levant: Early Bronze Age at Tell eṣ-Ṣâfī.'
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- Inland connections
- Long-distance dispersal
- Plant ecology