Iron Age I in the Southern Levant and the Formation of Local Identities

·         Credit: 4

·         Lecture: Prof. Israel Finkelstein and Dr. Omer Sergi

·         Semester: 2

·         Tuesday

The retreat of imperial powers from the Late Bronze Age Levant (13th–12th centuries B.C.E.) and the demise of the Canaanite city-state system resulted in a re-formation of political organization in Canaan. The Iron Age I (ca. 12 th – 10 th centuries BCE) marks the formative period during which new political entities were formed inland (the territorial kingdoms of Judah and Israel) and in Transjordan while the coastal city states emerged as a new socio- political unit (the so called “Philistines”). In many aspects this was not only a political change but also a social one. The aim of this seminar is therefore to discuss the social evolution of Canaan during the Iron Age I and and its importance in the reconstruction of new local identities i.e., Israelites, Judahites, Canaanites, Philistines. The discussion will be based on examination of the settlement pattern and the material culture characterizing the Canaanite hill country, Transjordan, the northern valleys, the coastal plain and the Judahite lowlands during the Iron Age I, and before the rise of the great local powers of Israel and Aram- Damascus. Consequently, we shall discuss the possible interpretation of these finds to the reconstruction of the political history as well as the social organization of Canaan. From methodological point of view we shall ask what archaeology can teach us about the formation of new political entities and collective identities in Iron Age Canaan.