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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Middle Bronze Age IIA Cemetary at Gesher: Final Report
Garfinkel, Yosef and Susan Cohen, editors

Boston: American Schools of Oriental Research, 2007 pp. xvii + 149. $74.95

Series Information
Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 62

Description: 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 these 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.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Archaeology

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Review by Ralph K. Hawkins
Published 3/21/2009
Citation: Ralph K. Hawkins, review of Yosef Garfinkel and Susan Cohen, eds., The Middle Bronze Age IIA Cemetary at Gesher: Final Report, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2009).

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