Daily life and cultural appropriation in Early Bronze Age Canaan: Games and gaming in a domestic neighbourhood at Tell eṣ-Ṣâfi/Gath, Israel

Shira Albaz, Haskel J. Greenfield, Tina L. Greenfield, Annie Brown, Itzhaq Shai, Aren M. Maeir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Discussions on daily life in Early Bronze Age society in the southern Levant often focus on subsistence or ritual phenomena, while aspects relating to entertainment and leisure are rarely discussed. This paper presents evidence for gaming behaviour, in the form of game boards and game pieces, that were recovered in the excavations of the Early Bronze Age (early to mid-3rd millennium bce) residential neighbourhood at Tell eṣ-Ṣâfi/Gath, Israel. All the objects discussed are considered to be part of games (playing pieces, casting pieces, and boards) based on their resemblance to game boards and pieces published from various Early Bronze sites in the southern Levant (e.g., Arad, Megiddo, and Bab edh-Dhra), serve as the backdrop for: 1) a perspective on the social and cultural relationships reflected in these games; 2) an examination of the origins of the 'Senet/30 Houses' game; and 3) the appropriation of foreign cultural facets in Early Bronze Age Canaan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalPalestine Exploration Quarterly
Volume155
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Palestine Exploration Fund 2022.

Funding

This research was funded in part by the following: Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnership Grant to Haskel J. Greenfield and Aren M. Maeir (Grant #895-2011-1005); Faculty of Arts, St. Paul’s College, and Near Eastern and Biblical Archaeology Laboratory of the University of Manitoba; and Bar-Ilan University. In particular, we gratefully acknowledge the help of Jon Ross in the stratigraphic data analyses. We also would like to thank Maria Enuikhina for the photographs and Yulia Rudman for the object drawings. We want to thank the Israel Exploration Society for permission us to use illustrations from the Arad report, and to Israel Finkelstein for permission to use illustrations from the Megiddo report. Finally, this study could not have come to fruition without the host of colleagues, volunteers, and students from around the globe and their efforts, during and after the excavations. Any errors are the responsibility of the authors.

FundersFunder number
Israel Exploration Society
Maria Enuikhina
Near Eastern and Biblical Archaeology Laboratory of the University of Manitoba
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada895-2011-1005
Bar-Ilan University

    Keywords

    • '30 Houses'
    • Astragalus Die
    • Casting pieces
    • Cultural appropriation
    • Dice
    • Early Bronze Age
    • Egypt
    • Game Board
    • Games
    • Knuckle Bones
    • Leisure
    • Senet
    • Southern Levant

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