The shephelah in the iron age: A new look on the settlement of Judah

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The Shephelah was densely settled in the Late Bronze Age, but most of the settlements were gradually abandoned during the transition to the Iron I period. Only a few Iron I settlements existed in the eastern part of the region (excluding the Philistine sites at the northwestern edge of the Shephelah), forming a small Canaanite enclave. During the Iron II period the region was gradually resettled, and it became part of Judah. This process lasted until the 8th century BCE, when the region reached an unparalleled demographic peak. Sennacherib's campaign brought wide-scale destruction, and the region recovered only partially before being devastated by Nebuchadnezzar. After reconstructing the region's settlement history, the article reassesses its political and demographic history in comparison to the neighbouring regions of the Judean highlands and the southern coastal plain, it is concluded that the Shephelah had a lesser role in the history of Judah than some recent studies suggest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-219
Number of pages17
JournalPalestine Exploration Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Iron Age settlementCanaanites
  • Judah
  • Shephelah


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