Jerusalem from its beginnings to the end of the Late Bronze Age

Authored by: Eyal Meiron

Routledge Handbook on Jerusalem

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138936935
eBook ISBN: 9781315676517
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter focuses mainly on the ancient core of Jerusalem in the Canaanite period. This core encompasses the area in and around the present-day Old City, especially on the southeastern hill, later to be named the “City of David,” where Jerusalem first emerged in the Canaanite period. From time to time, I will also mention finds discovered farther afield. The name of the period under discussion is taken from the biblical name (also attested in ancient Egyptian sources from al-Amarna dating from the 14th c. bce) for the land (Canaan) and the name of its inhabitants (Canaanites) before the entry of the Israelite tribes. A more accepted name for this period today is the Bronze Age, based on the technology of processing metal at that time. Chronologically speaking, our discussion revolves around the period from 3500 bce (the Early Bronze Age) to 1150 bce (the beginning of the Iron Age). For readers who are not familiar with the periodization of the ancient Levant, it should be noted that, although the chronological notions (Bronze Age, Iron Age) were taken from the European archaeological tradition, the dates of these periods in the Levant differ from the European. This chapter will aim to present the main historical and archaeological information known today about Canaanite (pre-Israelite) Jerusalem, while highlighting the key controversies and their background as much as possible, without going into extensive technical detail. Nevertheless, it must be noted that it is not always possible to distinguish “Canaanite” from “Israelite” in the material evidence, thus complicating both chronologies and cultural differences.

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