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The geopolitics of the Upper Galilee at the dawn of the Iron Age: a petrographic study of Mt. Adir

Abstract

Located in the steep hilly terrain of the Upper Galilee, the Iron Age I mountain fort of Mt. Adir dominates its surroundings. The region’s topography has limited population growth throughout history, which in turn has limited archaeological research. This situation is improving however, with renewed surveys, excavations and re-examination of unpublished finds. Concordantly, this study is part of a renewed publication of the finds from the excavation of Mt. Adir. A time of geopolitical shift, the Levantine Iron Age I saw the appearance of new local polities. While some vanished as soon as they appeared, others became regional powers. Sitting in the border area between such groups, the cultural and political affinity of Mt. Adir, and in accordance its environs, has been an ongoing source of debate. For these reasons, a petrographic study of the pottery assemblage was initiated, examining a range of ceramic types. By reconstructing the movement of goods, we aim to help shed light on the geopolitical status of the region. Four of the petrographic groups were made locally or at a nearby region, the other two reflect geological environments of the Mediterranean coast, areas which at the period were part of Phoenicia. In addition, we discuss new and legacy data concerning the production local of the wavy-band pithoi, suggested in the past to have been produced in Tyre.

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Availability of data and material

The prepared thin sections are kept in the Ben-Gurion University’s laboratory for microarchaeology thin-section collection. An inventory of the database is available online at https://www.bgumicroarchaeology.com/thin section-collection, visiting scholars and students are invited to use this resource.

Code availability

Not applicable.

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Acknowledgements

The study was made in the Laboratory for Microarchaeology at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their useful comments.

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Correspondence to Yuval Goren.

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Pagelson, Y., Katz, H. & Goren, Y. The geopolitics of the Upper Galilee at the dawn of the Iron Age: a petrographic study of Mt. Adir. Archaeol Anthropol Sci 14, 2 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-021-01462-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-021-01462-6

Keywords

  • Iron Age
  • Southern Levant
  • Archaeology
  • Upper Galilee
  • Petrography
  • Phoenicia
  • Provenance study