The Middle Bronze Age IIA Cemetery at Gesher
Final Report, AASOR 62
Edited by Yosef Garfinkel and Susan Cohen
Includes 164 b/w figures and 18 tables.
Gesher is a small Middle Bronze Age IIA cemetery site located in the central Jordan Valley in Israel. Initial excavations in 1986-1987 indicated the site's importance for examining population and settlement in the interior of Canaan in the early second millennium BCE. In particular, the nature of the interments and the early date of the site's material culture highlighted the importance of Gesher for studies of MB IIA development. Three additional seasons of excavations were conducted from 2002-2004, which were designed to gain further data regarding the mortuary customs, material culture, and social and economic developments of this population in MB IIA Canaan.
During the five seasons of excavation, a total of 23 interments were excavated in the cemetery, together with their associated grave goods, consisting of ceramic vessels, bronze weapons, and one bronze toggle pin. This final report presents the burials and material culture from the cemetery and compares the data with other Middle Bronze Age sites in Canaan. It contributes valuable information regarding Canaanite mortuary customs and increases the corpus of material culture dating to early MB IIA. The burials and material culture from the Gesher cemetery date to the earliest phases of the MB IIA, while also preserving traditions and forms of the preceding EB IV/MB I period in Palestine. As such, Gesher provides a window into the transitional period between EB IV/MB I and MB IIA which is rarely attested at other sites, to date, and thus has significant implications for knowledge concerning this cultural era in Canaan.
List of Illustrations
Chapter 1 - Introduction Yosef Garfinkel and Susan Cohen
Chapter 2 - Finds from a Cemetery in Nahal Tavor Orna Hess
Chapter 3 - The Burials Yosef Garfinkel and Susan Cohen
Chapter 4 - The Skeletons Wieslaw Wieckowski
Chapter 5 - The Pottery Susan Cohen and Ruhama Bonfil
Chapter 6 - The Bronzes Yosef Garfinkel and Susan Cohen
Chapter 7 - Metallurgical Analysis Sabriel Shalev
Chapter 8 - The Organic Materials
Chapter 9 - The Bone Beverage Strainers Aren M Maeir
Chapter 10 - The Faunal Remains Liora Kolska Horwitz
Chapter 11 - Gesher in MB IIA Context Susan Cohen
Yosef Garfinkel is a professor of Prehistoric Archaeology and of Archaeology of the Biblical Period at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He specializes in the Protohistoric era of the Near East and has excavated numerous Neolithic and Chalcolithic sites, including Gesher, Yiftahel, Neolithic Ashkelon, Sha'ar HaGolan, Tel ‘Ali and Tel Tsaf. Garfinkel is the author of 12 books and over 100 articles on ancient architecture, farming, water sources, pottery, art, religion and dance; he also serves as curator of the museum of Yarmukian Culture at Kibbutz Sha'ar HaGolan.
Susan Cohen is an associate professor within the Religious Studies Department at Montana State University. Her research interests include Syro-Palestinian archaeology, the Middle Bronze Age in the southern Levant, and urbanization theory. Her publications discuss these topics as well as recent excavations and discoveries.
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