Egyptian imperial economy in Canaan: Reaction to the climate crisis at the end of the late bronze age

Israel Finkelstein, Dafna Langgut, Meirav Meiri, Lidar Sapir-Hen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this article we discuss four datasets that provide evidence for the expansion of grain growing in Canaan in the second half of the 13th century and the 12th century BCE: the faunal and flint records from Megiddo, the pollen diagram for the Sea of Galilee and the ancient DNA study of Bronze and Iron Age cattle in the Levant. Efforts to expand dry farming in Canaan were probably related to the dry climate event in the later phases of the Late Bronze Age, which has recently been detected in several pollen records from the Eastern Mediterranean. We discuss textual evidence related to drought and famine that struck the Near East at that time. We then suggest that the Egyptian administration in Canaan initiated the extension of dry farming in order to stabilise the situation in the southern and eastern fringe areas of the Levant and supply grain to areas in the northern Near East which, according to textual data, were badly afflicted by the climate crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-259
Number of pages11
JournalAgypten und Levante
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien.


  • Ancient DNA
  • Canaan
  • Cattle
  • Climate crisis
  • Egypt
  • Faunal assemblages
  • Flint tools
  • Grain
  • Late Bronze
  • Megiddo
  • Pollen
  • Zebu

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology


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