Archaeological Views: Biblical Archaeology’s Architectural Bias
The dramatic results of recent research in the copper mines of the ‘Arabah Valley call into question the way biblical-era nomadic societies have been treated in biblical archaeology.1
Since the early days of the discipline, the prevailing perception of nomads has been of people who could not form strong political entities and whose influence on the course of history was marginal. Biblical scholars and archaeologists alike have constantly equated the biblical-era nomads to the modern Bedouin of the southern Levant, furthering the interpretation of these groups as simple tribal societies that existed in the geographical and historical periphery of the settled land. Similarly, almost any discussion on the formation of the southern Levantine Iron Age kingdoms, including the United Monarchy of ancient Israel, has assumed that such political organizations could not have developed prior to the entire population’s sedentarization.
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