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North Sinai During the MB I Period — Pastoral Nomadism and Sedentary Settlement / צפון סיני בתקופת הברונזה התיכונה א' — נוודות פסטורלית ויישובי קבע

אליעזר אורן, יובל יקותיאלי, סטיבן א' רוזן, Eliezer D. Oren and Yuval Yekutieli
Eretz-Israel: Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies / ארץ-ישראל: מחקרים בידיעת הארץ ועתיקותיה
Vol. כא‎, RUTH AMIRAN VOLUME / ספר רות עמירן‎ (1990 / תשנ"א), pp. 6-22
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23622130
Page Count: 17
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Abstract

The Ben Gurion University expedition explored 284 settlement sites in North Sinai, between the Suez Canal and Raphia, which were represented by identifiable Middle Bronze I artifacts. The distribution of the sites, by criteria of size and number of objects, indicates a distinctive clustering pattern of base sites, which apparently coordinated the social and economic activities, and smaller campsites or seasonal stations. The homogeneous pottery assemblage is characteristic of the MB I culture of southern Canaan (Amiran's Group A, Dever's Family S), including features that are clearly of Early Bronze Age tradition. Significantly, the North Sinai assemblage is represented by late variants of the Egyptian 'Meidum Ware" which is recorded in late Old Kingdom—early First Intermediate Period contexts of Upper and Middle Egypt. The latter enables us to determine the chronological position of MB I settlement in North Sinai (and southern Canaan) in ca. 2250—2150 BCE, and, in turn, provides an accurate date for the southern group of MB I pottery. The archaeological record from North Sinai suggests that the clusters of MB I sites belonged to pastoralist groups which interacted symbiotically with certain sedentary agriculturalist communities in the region of el-Arish and also maintained limited economic ties with the farming villages in the Egyptian Delta. Evidently, commercial activity or cross-cultural exchanges, particularly between Egypt and Canaan, did not figure highly, if at all, in the economy of the MB I pastoralists of North Sinai. It is suggested that the MB I population of North Sinai should be identified with the 'Aamu and ḥryw-š' (sand dwellers) groups who, according to the Egyptian sources, infiltrated into the Delta in the late Old Kingdom, disrupted law and order in Egypt, settled in the villages and contributed to the anarchy that brought about the collapse of the Egyptian Old Kingdom.

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