Continuous evolvement of constant diet in the 3rd−1st millennium BCE southern Levant: Macro-botanical proxies from Tell eṣ-Ṣâfī/Gath

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This study employs new macrobotanical evidence to discuss agricultural developments at the site of Tell es-Safi/Gath through Early Bronze Age II-III to Iron Age IIB periods. This was the time period of the Canaanite, Philistine and Judahite cultures’ development, flourishing and falls, a time of droughts and war, appearance of fortified cities and their abandonment, and resettling. We studied species’ turnover over time, from the humid Early Bronze II-III to the dry final phase of the Late Bronze Age and then to the humid Iron Age II. We propose that the diet stability and changes in the fertile zone of southern Levant are evident through the macrobotanical data. Cultural developments are mirrored in the list of crops, yet the dominance of wheat is continuous. The results suggest a continuity in the human culture and the sustainable type of agriculture in this region throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104091
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


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 S.F.; 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 neighborhoods in the Southern Levant: Early Bronze Age at Tell es-Safi/Gath.”

FundersFunder number
Liora Horwitz
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada895-2011-1005
Israel Science Foundation32/11


    • Bronze age
    • Crop turnover
    • Domestication scale
    • Economic determinants
    • Iron age
    • Species introduction
    • Subsistent agriculture
    • Timeline


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