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Canaanite (pre-Israelite) Household Rituals in the Early Bronze Age of the Southern Levant


Born 1953, BA and MA (Hunter College-CUNY), PhD (CUNY-Grad Center). Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Co-Director of the Near Eastern and Biblical Archaeology Lab, and Coordinator of the Judaic Studies Program at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. He is an anthropological archaeologist whose research focuses on the evolution of early agricultural and early complex societies in the Old World (Europe, Africa and Asia) from the Neolithic to the Iron Age. Geographically, his research covers a large swath of Old World societies, from Europe through the Near East and into Africa. His most recent research program was as co-director (with Prof. Aren Maeir, Bar-Ilan University, Israel) of the excavations of the Early Bronze Age city at Tell eṣ-Ṣâfi/Gath, Israel. 

Most studies of ritual in early complex societies of the Near East have focused on elite and/or public behavioral domains. Yet, the vast bulk of the population would not have been able to participate in such public displays. Here, I explore the evidence for household rituals in lower stratum residences in the Early Bronze Age. Data from the archaeological site of Tell es-Safi/Gath and other sites will be used as an illustration of the nature and difficulty of identifying household rituals.