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Book: Transitions, Urbanism, and Collapse in the Bronze Age

Chapter: 11. The Early Bronze Age in the Southern Levant, A View from Tell Halif

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.37728


Beginning in the 1970’s the Lahav Research Project (LRP) conducted extensive research at and in the environs of Tell Halif, near Kibbutz Lahav in Southern Israel. Excavations on the tell and on the adjacent eastern terrace exposed well stratified evidence of Late Chalcolithic to EB I, and subsequent EB III, occupations.

The Halif Terrace remains included four well defined strata (XIX-XVI) and thirteen contiguous phases of Chalcolithic and EB I settlement. These provide clear evidence of association with other regional emporia in a trading network with Pre- and Early Dynastic Egyptians.

After a hiatus during EB II, when regional occupations migrated to the Major centers at Arad and Yarmut, Halif recovered in the EB III era becoming a large well-fortified city flourishing along with regional sites such as Tell el-Hesi and Yarmut. This first, EB IIIA, Stratum XV, settlement suffered massive destruction. None-the-less occupation at Halif endured through three further stages of development (Strata XIV-XII). These were unfortified, open enclaves sustained by local agriculture and a still thriving flint knapping industry. Stratum XII occupation ended in the 23rd century B.C.E., perhaps at the hand General Uni in his campaigns during the Egyptian VIth Dynasty. Halif’s progressive decline is paradigmatic of the ruralization of late EB III cultures in southern Palestine as contacts with Egypt flagged and local subsistence became increasingly untenable.

Chapter Contributors

  • Joe Seger ( - jseger) 'Mississippi State University'