An-Najah University Journal for Research - B (Humanities)


This present study focuses on the inhabitants of the southern Levant (Canaan) during the Bronze Ages, based on a variety of physical archaeological evidence that has been uncovered both in the Levant itself and in neighboring lands. The aims of this study are fourfold: (1) to present the names of this region known to us from surviving written sources dated to the second and first millennia BCE, and to identify the spatial and ethnic origins of the Canaanites; (2) to identify the geographic borders which the neighboring peoples observed in relation to Canaan; (3) to present the Canaanites' social landscape and its manifestations in the emergence and ultimate prevalence of the city-state system throughout the region; and finally, (4) to demonstrate the political complexities that prevailed in the southern Levant during the Bronze Ages. This study pointed the author to two main conclusions: (a) that the Canaanites were native to the southern Levant and can be seen as a natural extension of the population that had inhabited the region during the Neolithic period, and (b) that the functional geographic borders of Canaan changed repeated over time, witnessing several expansions and contractions. The methodology implemented in this study consists of a review and analysis of the existing scholarly literature related to this subject; biblical texts, by their very nature, were not included in the study.