The Canaanite village: Social structure of Middle Bronze Age rural communities

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The rural sites of the Middle Bronze Age have not received much scholarly attention. A number of sites have been excavated over the years, however, and the accumulating data permits a discussion of the social structure of Middle Bronze Age rural communities. An in-depth examination of the archaeological data, in the light of ethnographic and historical data, suggests that the villages should be interpreted as belonging to the following types: a few villages, exhibiting a surprisingly high standard of living, should be viewed as 'independent' villages. Other villages were 'owned' by a person/family or by an institution. The latter group is divided into two subtypes depending on whether the landlord was present or absent. In the first, poor dwellings were the norm, but one can identify an outstanding structure, greatly surpassing the rest, that hosted the landlord. The second type is characterized by poor standards of living throughout the site, as all the surpluses were sent outside and left the village.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-125
Number of pages21
StatePublished - 2005


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