The arabah copper polity and the rise of iron age Edom: A bias in biblical archaeology?

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Summary: The Arabah Copper Polity and The Rise of Iron Age Edom: A Bias in Biblical Archaeology? In a recent article, Erez Ben-Yosef describes an ostensible bias in biblical archaeolo-gy—the emphasis on societies that left behind stone-built remains and a disregard for pastoral nomadic-based territorial polity. Ben-Yosef identifies the Iron I-IIA finds from the copper centers at Faynan and Timna as representing an early Edomite, non-sedentary kingdom. Here I deal with three issues: I begin by showing that most of Ben-Yosef’s premises have already been suggested by scholars decades ago. I then turn to what I consider as major shortcomings in his theory. Finally, I present an alternative model for an Iron I-IIA territorial entity in the Arabah and neighboring areas as well as for the rise of the kingdom of Edom.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-32
Number of pages22
JournalAntiguo Oriente
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina. All rights reserved.


  • Arabah
  • Copper
  • Edom
  • Faynan
  • Negev highlands
  • State formation
  • Tel Masos
  • Timna

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Classics
  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology


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