Journal of World Prehistory

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 397–443

The chalcolithic period in the Levant

  • Isaac Gilead

DOI: 10.1007/BF00976197

Cite this article as:
Gilead, I. J World Prehist (1988) 2: 397. doi:10.1007/BF00976197


The Levant of the fourth millennium B.C. was scattered with numerous small farming communities. The agricultural activities were based on growing barley, wheat, lentils, and fruit trees. This was accompanied by raising sheep-goats, pigs, and cattle and occasionally using marine resources. The architecture and the thick accumulation of debris loaded with pottery refuse indicate that the sites were sedentary and occupied for long periods. The social organization of these communities does not seem to have been very complex. The evidence argues against the existence of hierarchies and high-status social units that had the power to dominate and permanently regulate production and distribution. The evidence of religious activities also indicates that a priesthood, if it existed, was not dominant in the regulation of social and economic activities. The rapid cultural changes in the Levant during the late fourth and early third millennium were probably caused by the impact of the events in Egypt and Mesopotamia. The local modifications were readjustments to the large-scale changes in the Near East which influenced the rural and provincial Levantine Chalcolithic societies.

Key Words

Levantine Chalcolithic fourth millennium B.C. Ghassulian socioeconomic organization 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isaac Gilead
    • 1
  1. 1.Archaeological DivisionBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer ShevaIsrael

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