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The Sanctuaries of Early Bronze IB Megiddo: Evidence of a Tribal Polity?

Eveline J. van der Steen
American Journal of Archaeology
Vol. 109, No. 1 (Jan., 2005), pp. 1-20
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40025102
Page Count: 20
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The Sanctuaries of Early Bronze IB Megiddo: Evidence of a Tribal Polity?
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Abstract

The Early Bronze Age IB temples of Megiddo have been the focus of attention from the moment they were found, and the renewed excavations on the site have raised new questions. The status and function of the temples is directly related to the nature of the society in which they functioned. This society was basically tribal, and the rules and codes of this tribal society, which was involved in the trade activities with Egypt, have played an important role in the development of the temples and of the site as a whole. Comparison with recent tribal societies in the same region may help to clarify some of the issues concerning the development of Early Bronze Age Megiddo. A powerful tribal confederation was responsible for the conduct of international trade and for agricultural development of the region. After the collapse of trade, this same confederation maintained the site as a tribal center. This hypothesis may also provide a new explanation for the meaning of the so-called Picture Pavement, the collection of incised stone slabs in the courtyard of the first temple of Megiddo, which would then be the physical expression of the tribal confederation that controlled the region.

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