The Age of Base Metal:
a new biblical paradigm for the Early & Middle Bronze Age in Palestine
Part One: Early Bronze
Early Bronze I, which immediately preceded EB II, was a sedentary, agricultural society. Its settlements are found in the archeological record, destroyed, abandoned or converted to EB II cities. The termination of EB I is said to have come precipitously, and I maintain that this is due to any of three major factors, which are known to us from the book of Genesis (JH, 1997a). The first cause was the initial invasion of the west by the Elamite Chedorlaomer and his allies (c. 2000 bc), the second was the famine which drove Abraham into Egypt (1991 bc), and the coup de grace was the Sodom catastrophe (1967 bc).
EB II — 2000-1561 / *3050 or *2900 to *2700 (Jemdet Nasr & Early Dynastic; Archaic Egypt, Dyn II & III); EB II ends as some MB IIA cities start, cf. Gezer
At the start of EB II — conventionally dated to the reign of Zer (Ity) (c. 2060 / c. *3050), third pharaoh of Dynasty I — a number of humble, mud brick EB I villages grew into fortified towns (some with walls 25 feet thick, enclosing 25 acres), with buildings of small undressed stone. These towns in turn evolved into cities boasting monumental bulwarks and palaces, as well as impressive temples, granaries and reservoirs.
Archeologists hypothesize that the urban peoples of EB II/III “may have been the descendants of the EB I agrarian communities, immigrants (perhaps from Syria), and/or seminomads who adopted city life.” (Mazar, p. 117.) I identify the EB II/III cultures with the true Canaanites: ethnic descendants of Canaan and Ham, and "brothers" of Nimrod. Evidence indicates that these Early Bronze Canaanites enjoyed a unified and cooperative culture which “existed without major interruption for a very long time, about *700 years” (Libolt, p. 587) — that is, something under 500 years, until Sargon and his Akkadian Empire (in the time of Moses, 16th / *23rd centuries). They brought an urban society, with carefully planned towns such as Arad, and burials in caves.
Compared to Early Bronze, the earlier Chalcolithic culture of Palestine had far more artwork, and of better quality. For the Early Bronze we find rare and careless figurines of farm animals: eg., at Arad a rough stone was found inscribed with two crude stick figures, one standing and one supine, together said to represent the cyclic life of the fertility god (Amiran, 1972). Exceptions to this pattern of vulgar craftsmanship are a few fine, small bull heads carved in stone or ivory, most likely of EB III workmanship, which bear ambiguous resemblances to works from Elam and Mesopotamia (Ben-Tor, 1972). Why the EB Canaanites appear to have had a degenerate artistic ability remains a matter of speculation.
Scholars recognize no history for EB Palestine, since “no written documents are available. . . .The lack of evidence for any writing system is curious. It is hard to believe that such an urban system lacked bureaucracies employing some sort of written word.” (Mazar, p. 140.) We might theorize that some mnemonic system was used other than pictographic or alphabetic — say for example a counterpart of the Incan quipu system, where information was encoded in knotted cords — but the only justification for such supposition is the absence of any other evidence.
In the absence of writing, archeological data have been interpreted as indicating that EB Palestine was divided into about twenty city states, each consisting of an urban hub and its supporting villages. These states shared essentially the same culture, although without any obvious single, central authority. Each state had a wealthy class — called the ruling class, which would have organized the many large, public construction projects.
The population density of this culture is estimated to have totaled about 150,000 EB II city-dwellers at a given time — assuming that each urban acre supported 100 citizens, and that the sum of urban areas was about 1,500 acres (Broshi and Gophna, 1984). However, throughout the EB period, called the *"third millennium", it is said that “rainfall was heavier than today, and that the water table was consequently higher.” (Mazar, p. 118.) Thus, this region of the "Fertile Crescent" would have been far more fruitful than in modern times, and so presumably more populous; whether cities were more crowded is speculative.
EB II/III agriculture was "traditional Mediterranean." For example, at Arad flax was utilized for oil and weaving, and diet included wheat, barley, lentils, peas and chickpeas. Elsewhere grapes, pomegranates, olives, figs and dates have been identified, and their byproducts were exported to Egypt. Half of the 5,000 inhabitants of Beth-Yerah are supposed to have been farmers (Mazar, p. 128). This city had a massive, 25-foot thick mud-brick wall with steeply sloping walls, enclosing 50-acres; its granary, which annually could have fed some 10,000 people, is comparable in style to those of eastern Anatolia, at Yanik Tepe (Burney, 1961), and it is similar to a *3rd millennium stone model recovered from the Aegean island of Melos (Buchholz and Karageorghis, 1973).
As expected, a number of important EB II/III cities had ready access to roads, water and fertile land; these included Dan, Hazor, Qedesh, Beth-Yerah, Beth-Shean, Megiddo, Tell el-Far`ah (north), Jericho, and Lachish. But some of the largest cities of the age — Yarmuth (100 acres), Ai and Arad (both over 60 acres) — were situated in isolated and reputedly inhospitable territory. Their remoteness is accounted for when we consider the ancient rainy weather patterns of the Ice Age (JH, 1996b). It is interesting to note that “The concentration of half the population in the hill country . . . was peculiar to this early part of the Bronze Age and was unparalleled in the later stages of that era.” (Mazar, p. 112.) These hill-dwellers were the true, ethnic Canaanites, and their "peculiar concentration" was due not to time, but to racial and cultural segregation.
Early Bronze II is characterized by the replacement of the earliest, mud brick settlements by buildings of small undressed stones. Because EB strata are at the deepest level of Palestine's ancient city mounds (tells), best known are those sites which were abandoned after EB times, and so not deeply buried: Arad, Yarmuth, Ai, Beth-Yerah, Tel Erani, Tel el-Hesi, and Bab edh-Dhra` (thriving in the days of Joshua, located in a dry river bed which once fed the Dead Sea — Rast and Schaub, 1981). Few multi-strata sites have been excavated, and of these only Megiddo and Tell el-Far`ah (north) are known more than superficially.
The first simple stone walls of major EB II cities (Arad, Ai, Jericho, Megiddo, Yarmuth) tended to be about 12 to 15 feet wide. The first three of these cities had semi-circular, narrow-gated towers of a type commonly found in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece; indeed, Palestine appears to have the earlier examples of this feature (Amiran, 1978). In contrast to this, the towers of Megiddo, Yarmuth and Tell el-Far`ah (n) were rectangular. Yarmuth came to have the most massive ramparts of Palestine, in all some 40 meters thick, enclosing 40 acres; to its original EB II wall was added a massive stone retaining wall, and to this, a plastered, EB III cyclopean wall was added, which still stands in places almost 25 feet tall. Tell el-Far`eh had a mud brick wall 9 feet thick, with a foundation of stone, and towers or bastions; later, stone additions were made to the wall, 10 feet thick, with a sloped lower wall (glacis) 30 feet across at the base. The thickness of many city walls was doubled during the latter EB II and EB III. These are not exciting details, but they are typical of just about all we have.
We would be remiss in failing to ask, against what adversary were such imposing walls meant to protect? “One potential enemy was Egypt, though there is no evidence of Egyptian military activity in Palestine between the beginning of the First Dynasty and the documented raids during the Fifth and Sixth Dynasty. . . .A more plausible reason seems to be internal struggles between the independent city-states . . .” (Mazar, p. 122.) However, our reconstructed history finds much interference at this time from Dynasty XII of Egypt (which supposedly interacted only with MB cities). Even closer to home were the MB Amorites, who conquered and built upon a number of EB sites (cf. Table VI).
Occasionally Archaic Egyptian artifacts are found in EB Palestine, such as the Egyptian pottery at Arad. Tombs of Dynasty I (starting with Pharaoh Zer), and of Dynasty II at Abydos and Sakkarah, contained imported EB II ceramics. Aside from demonstrating an economic link, this “imported pottery in Egypt is of prime importance for establishing chronological correlations between EB II in Syria-Palestine and the first two dynasties in Egypt.” (Mazar, pp. 135‑136.) The dominating Egyptian presence in southern Palestine during EB I, however, ended with the onset of EB II.
To the south, small, exclusively EB II settlements were extensive near the trade routes, wadis and pastures of the Negev and southern Sinai. It appears that the “inhabitants of the Sinai settlements arrived from the urban regions of southern Palestine and adapted their way of life to local environment and conditions.” (Mazar, pp. 115,117.) Their courtyard-style dwellings “recall the 'broad room' houses of contemporary Arad, while the auxiliary structures appear to be circular huts similar to those found in the desert regions around Palestine since Neolithic times.” (Mazar, p. 114.) Pottery is linked to that of Arad, which has the best EB II southern pottery assemblage (Amiran, 1978), as some pottery at Arad is linked to Sinai. The clear function of these settlements was the mining of once-rare copper, as evinced by the presence there of ore, smelting furnaces and crucibles, molds and tools.
These southern settlements were abandoned putatively due to competition by Egyptians, who mined turquoise to the west at Wadi Magharah (in southern Sinai), where rock carvings illustrate the defeat by pharaohs of (presumably these EB II) asiatics. Thus, the early-Dynastic Egyptians had a presence in the south of Canaan, while (by my reconstruction) the Middle Kingdom Egyptians were active in the north.
As for Mesopotamian culture, very slight and peripheral contact with Canaan is demonstrated by a few cylinder seals and dozens of impressions (Ben-Tor, 1978). Most EB II seals show geometric and animal processions, while some recall the style of Byblos, and three have a coiling snake motif, an Elamite theme. Arad has several EB II seals of geometric design, which are similar to those found from Byblos to northern Mesopotamia; I date them as c. 1900 bc, since they “show a Mesopotamian glyptic influence of the Jemdet Nasr and Early Dynastic I periods.” (Mazar, p. 137.) Syria before the civilization of Ebla is virtually unknown, and Ebla had no apparent contact with EB II/III Palestine, but only with MB I, indicating both its sphere of influence and its Amorite character..
To the west, Early Helladic (EH) Lerna of Peloponnesos also had contact with EB II Syria-Palestine, as revealed by the shared style of semi-circular towers, the practice of using wooden stamp seals on jars, and by the fact that EB II seal impressions from northern Palestine are similar to the spiral motif common in Lerna (Ben Tor, 1978, pp. 96‑99). While such finds indicate contact with the Aegean, standard scholarship is confounded by the fact that “there is as yet an unresolved chronological discrepancy between the two regions.” (Mazar, p. 139.) Careful study of Table III will demonstrate how our new paradigm resolves the confusion: these "Ages" have significant overlapping, and are more contemporaneous than successive.
In Syria, too, the assumed chronological range of the evidence is not as clear as convenience would have it. So, the northern Syrian assemblage known as Amuq G contains not only EB II ceramics synchronous with Dynasty I, but also other types “comparable to typical Protoliterate features. Accordingly, the question arises as to whether Amuq G is really a coherent archaeological assemblage.” (Kantor, p. 18.) The answer is that it is a true assemblage, and that these periods — EB II, Dynasty I, and Jemdet Nasr — were not successive, but overlapped in the 1900's bc (cf. Table III).
The culture identified by the scholarly artifact "EB II" is said to have ended in part with the abandonment of some of its sites, perhaps because of events within Egypt. Some cities, such as the northern Tell el-Far`ah, were destroyed and not rebuilt, but this is atypical. Other cities were damaged but rebuilt, to flourish until the end of EB III. Still other EB II cities survived until the end of the Early Bronze Age, to meet the same fate as EB III cities, and at the same time.
The shift from EB II to EB III is conventionally dated to the start of Dynasty III, c. 1818 / *2780 bc. This standard date is solely the product of two assumptions: “(1) that the Third Dynasty corresponds to the beginning of EB III in Palestine; (2) that the high Egyptian chronology should be utilized.” (Mazar, p. 147, note 31.) From the perspective of our new paradigm, to find a cause for this shift we may look to the reign of Sesostris III of Dynasty XII, with our 1818 bc corresponding to the *1891 bc of Egypt's Middle Kingdom. Aside from Dynasty XII, Dynasty IX was also active at this time (19th / *22nd century bc), although its activities are lost in the obscurity of the so-called First Intermediate Period (see JH, 1997a, ch. 6). Furthermore, contemporary with Dynasty III was Dynasty II, which lasted for almost another two centuries. Note the virtually insane jumble of standard dates: *2780, the *2100's, and *1891 bc (respectively of Dynasties II/III, IX and XII) all mark the same corrected date of 1818 bc.
It is not only my reconstruction which recognizes confusion in EB III chronology.
"It should be remembered . . . that both the inner division of the Early Bronze Age and Egyptian chronology can be interpreted in different ways, and thus there are considerable discrepancies between the dates given in various publications. Carbon 14 dates from EB II-III contexts are known only from Jericho, Bab edh-Dhra` and Numeira. They appear to be problematic . . .” (Mazar, p. 147, note 31.)
Recall that the C-14 dates for EB I were also problematic. Thus it is said of a certain light-faced painted pottery that its advent, “synchronous with Khirbet Kerak [Beth Yerah] ware, conflicts sharply with the painted ware's limitation to the First Dynasty in Egypt and to Early Bronze II in Palestine.” (Kantor, ibid.) A glance at Table V will demonstrate that there is no conflict at all, since these civilizations were not consecutive but overlapping. This painted ware would have originated sometime in the mid-1900's of Dynasty I & EB II, and diffused into the coeval EB III culture prior to 1800 bc.
“There is a great deal of continuity between the material culture of EB II and that of EB III” (Mazar, p. 109), which is most clearly demonstrated by the fact that there is no difference in the architecture of EB II and III sites. Rebuilt EB II cities are often labeled EB III, and when there is objective reason for the renaming, it is due almost solely to the addition of a single sort of ceramic — Khirbet Kerak ware — to EB II contexts. For example, previously it was thought that Arad had been destroyed and left in ruins at the end of EB II, but when the special EB III ceramic was found there, Arad became destroyed at the end of EB III. When this pottery is found, EB II changes its name to EB III. When Khirbet Kerak ware is absent in southern Palestine, it is assumed that EB II was followed by EB/MB I, with no interval.
In practical terms, EB II and III are the same thing, and the differences are regional and cultural, more than chronological. There is considerable overlap with very few benchmarks, and the division between them is fluid, “gradual, and the development in pottery is not easily defined.” (Mazar, p. 132.) Diagnostic artifacts are often ambiguous, and there is no guarantee that the appearance of a given type of ceramic in different sites occurred at the same time; the only thing we know for sure is that there would have been an exchange of influences, which is a mere truism.
EB III— 1818\1627-1500's / *2700-*2250 (Old Kingdom: Dynasties III-VI); EB III ends as MB IIB starts, cf. Jericho, Beth-Shean.
“Few EB III dwellings are known” (Mazar, p. 125), but the pattern of those at Yarmuth is of several large rooms: we have observed the "broad room" houses of EB II Arad and the Negev, which can be described in the same terms. Yarmuth's “elaborate houses reflect an advanced phase of urban life, comprising social ranking, accumulation of wealth, and larger families.” (Mazar, p. 125.)
EB III pottery is characteristically handmade, with parts of some vessels turned on a wheel. “It appears that during EB III the homogeneity of the pottery throughout the country was greater than in EB II, perhaps indicating the growth of mass production . . .” (Mazar, p. 132.) This is a major factor in the conclusion that EB III culture had great unity.
EB III has been divided into three parts: A (pre-Khirbet Kerak ware), B (Khirbet Kerak ware — sometimes included in IIIA), and C (post-Khirbet Kerak ware — called EB IV by some, and sharing ceramic forms with Dynasty VI). Remember, EB III is virtually the same as EB II, save that it is centered in the north of Canaan and has an additional sort of pottery. I maintain that while these divisions may have some value in describing ceramic assemblages, they are artificial, and based on such flawed chronology that they are almost useless for purposes of chronology. To rephrase the A-B-C divisions, we may call the first two (A-B), EB II/III, and the last (C), EB IV.
Be that as it may, the important EB III diagnostic ceramic is Khirbet Kerak ware, first identified at Beth Yerah (Khirbet Kerak). This ware is a thick, handmade, highly burnished ceramic type, with typically black exteriors and red interiors produced by low kiln temperatures. This “manufacturing technique and the variety of shapes can be traced to northeastern Anatolia” of the *3rd millennium (Mazar, p. 133). Similar ceramics are found in Syria, most notably in the region of the AmuqValley — though not at Ebla, but further east. In Palestine this pottery is found mainly in the north — Beth Yerah, Megiddo, Beth Shean, Hazor, etc. — with only a few examples found to the south, and these most likely arriving there by trade. Khirbet Kerak ware is found no further south in Israel than Tel Ira in the Arad valley (Beit Arieh, 1991).
From these facts it has been inferred that immigrants moved southward from Anatolia, peacefully and with little cultural affect, to settle in Amuq, the upper JordanValley, and around the Sea of Galilee. It is said that the sudden appearance of the distinctive Khirbet Kerak ware diagnostic of EB IIIB must be due to “a massive eruption from Asia Minor into Syrian-Palestine, bringing with it still unidentified Anatolians.” (Albright, p. 52.) In the light of this reconstruction, however, I suggest on general principles that the possibility be explored that diffusion could have flowed some other direction — say from south to north, being prevented from moving southward by Egypt.
If EB III did originate in Anatolia, this reconstruction suggests two causes for the "massive eruption". The first would be the conquests of the great Sesostris III (Dynasty XII), who invaded Anatolia a few decades before Joseph's rise (JH, 1997a). Here we have a link between the Anatolian immigrants and the Old & Middle Kingdoms, with the belated effect of Sesostris's invasions in the Middle Kingdom being observed in the archeology of the Old Kingdom. The second cause would be the great famine in Joseph's day (1770's bc), which induced "all the nations of the earth" to come to Egypt for grain. Such a famine would certainly have the effect of causing migrations; in The Days of Brass and Iron I excerpt New Kingdom Amarna letters, which tell of exactly this result. Which of these causes — Sesostris or famine — is the correct one, I have not yet determined, but either is sufficient to have brought about the transformation to EB III.
As to the speed with which the immigrants appeared, I cannot say. But if the correlation between the Old Kingdom of Egypt and EB III is truly as clear as is said, then EB IIIB would have started some time after 1818 bc, the earliest date I have given for EB III in general.
The “synchronism of the Fourth to Sixth Dynasties with the third stage of the Syro-Palestinian Early Bronze period [EB III] is clear” (Kantor, p. 17), making it “the best known and best dated period of EB.” (Albright, p. 51.) It is taught that the middle part of EB III “probably covered about a century between the late *twenty-sixth [c. *2500] and the early *twenty-fourth centuries [c. *2400].” (Albright, p. 52.) The aggression of the Dynasty VI pharaoh, Phiops (Pepi) I, into Palestine “provides the basis for establishing the chronology of the period.” (Mazar, pp. 108-109.) In addition, such correlations are cited as an Old Kingdom “cylinder-seal rolling on a Giza jar comparable to those found at Khirbet Kerak” (Kantor, p. 17).
While Old Kingdom Egypt is used to date EB III, the “Egyptian interests in southern Palestine during the time of the First and Second dynasties were stopped from the time of the Third Dynasty onward in favor of naval connections with Byblos,” exporter of timber (Mazar, p. 110). The decrease in Egyptian interest in southern Palestine is known from the fact that EB III settlements contain virtually no Egyptian objects; the possible exception is Ai, where the Citadel's Sanctuary A yielded a cache of alabaster vessels of Egyptian origin — but it may be that they were not contemporary with the Sanctuary, but rather treasured relics of bygone days (Amiran, 1970).
The increased influence of Egypt at Byblos is known from the presence of Egyptian artifacts there, and from Syrian artifacts at the Old Kingdomcemetery of Giza. Thus, the Dynasty V mortuary temple of Pharaoh Sahura (c. 1660 bc / c. *2550) depicts a Syrian ship carrying men, bears, and ceramic vessels. However, note that Dynasty XII as reckoned here was prior in power to Dynasty III, and that it also had contact with Byblos. Both governments existed in different regions of Egypt at same time, so at Byblos stratified artifacts of Dynasty III could be either above or below artifacts of Dynasty XII.
In contrast to Egypt, Sumerian civilization had an obvious influence upon northern Syria (of the Upper Euphrates and Aleppo), where genuine and copied Mesopotamian seals are found. South of Aleppo, the prosperous state of Ebla used a script based on Sumer's cuneiform, but adapted to a semitic language. Ebla is said to have lasted about a generation longer than EB III in Palestine; it was finally destroyed c. 1500 / c. *2290-2250 bc, by Naram-Sin of Akkad.
The EB III culture of southern Syria and Lebanon, prominent at Byblos, was effectively the same as that of Palestine. Thus, in northern Palestine, EB III seals show buildings, animals and dancing humans; these are linked in style and theme to seals at Hama in Syria. Although seals of the Mesopotamian type are not found in EB III Palestine (which indicates its isolation from the east at this time), EB III contact with Anatolia is evinced by several finds. At Ai, two Anatolian polished stone axes were found, and a Beth-Yerah tomb yielded a disc of gold embellished in a style similar to that found in Alaja Huyuk's royal tombs. The CycladicIslands have artifacts which bear similarities to bone tubes found in EB III Palestine and Syria, and to a bone pin from Megiddo (Hennessy, 1967, pp. 82-83).
We have already considered the start of Dynasty III as corresponding to the start of EB III, and we have looked at the role of Dynasty XII's Sesostris III. However, if the ending of Dynasty II (1627 bc / c. *2780 bc) had any EB III influence, then events within Dynasty VI must be considered for this era. The corrected date of 1627 is only a few years into the independent reign of Phiops (Pepi) II (the pharaoh of Ex ), and less than a score of years before the Ethiopian invasion into Egypt (recognized in Dynasty XIII, c. 1610 / *18th century), repulsed by Moses (JH, 1997a, ch. 12). The date of 1627 corresponds to the standard dates of *2780, *2350, and the *1700's bc (of Dynasties II, VI and XIII).
We know that Dynasty VI played some role in attacking Palestine, although not at the precise end of EB III, but rather somewhat earlier. It is said that the “urban culture of EB III continued most probably until the early days of the Sixth Dynasty; it seems that the third pharaoh of that Dynasty, Pepi I, conducted military raids against cities in Palestine.” (Mazar, pp. 108-109.) The Dynasty VI tomb of Uni — general to Pharaoh Phiops I (1682-1629 bc / *2407-2357) — describes his invasion into the "land of the sand dwellers", where he felled orchards, razed fortresses, and slaughtered and enslaved adversaries. These raids did not end the Early Bronze era, however, but rather account for some of the rebuilding notable in some EB cities. A more proximate, if still not sufficient, destructive factor was Dynasty V: a relief of this line, found at Dashasheh in southern Egypt, shows Egyptians scaling and pulling down the walls of an obviously asiatic city, as we may deduce from the typical rounded towers and from the distinctive garb of the captives (Pritchard, pp. 227-228).
The final collapsed in western Palestine of the urban EB society of the Canaanites occurred when major cities such as Megiddo, Beth Yerah, Ai and Yarmuth were deserted or devastated at the height of their power (Mazar, p. 141). The Early Bronze Age “came to an end quite quickly with . . . a reversion to village life (ca. [1500's /] *2300).” (Libolt, p. 587.) Strangely, except for a “few sites with clearly defined destruction layers coinciding with the end of EB III . . . the archaeological record evinces a pattern of abandonment . . .” (Richard, 1980, p. 12.)
We have suggested that the EB II/III Canaanite culture thrived from Abraham to Moses; it finally came to an end at the time of the Exodus and Conquest. If not the violence of men, what cause could have brought about such a wide-ranging abandonment and social upheaval? The plagues which so devastated Egypt were not isolated in their effect, but world-wide (cf. JH, 1997a, ch. 13). These disasters were accompanied by the displacement of any number of peoples — here noticeable in the extinction of the true Canaanite community.
Where there was destruction, the human agent is a mystery to orthodox thinking, but speculation suggests Dynasty VI, the Amorites, or non-Semites from Anatolia. But the true cause, I maintain, was the invasion of the Hebrews, and also of the race known in Egypt as the Hyksos, and from the Bible as the Amalekites.
The downfall of urban EB society has been attributed in part to a general decrease in rainfall. The onset of lowered overall productivity — along with more severe and prolonged droughts — would virtually guarantee the abandonment of cities. However, we have read that the cities were prosperous shortly before they were forsaken, so if rainfall was a factor, there must have been a catastrophically rapid decline.
Argument against climate being a factor includes the fact that, in what is considered to be quite an “extraordinary development” (Mazar, p. 158), more than anywhere else EB III traditions survived among the urban centers and agrarian villages of EB IV Transjordan — east and northeast of the Dead Sea (Prag, 1986). It is expected that on this now-arid plateau, human society would have suffered even more than on the coasts during a disastrously prolonged drought.
Be that as it may, a few of these EB IV, Transjordan towns have more than one occupation level, as at Khirbet Iskander (8 acres), which had the imposing wall and "broad building" architecture of urban EB sites. The first phase of Transjordan pottery (also found at Bab edh-Dhra) is close to EB III traditions, having the distinctive red-slip feature, but later Transjordan styles are varieties of MB I pottery, which we will discuss shortly.
It seems obvious that Canaanite refugees fled from destroyed EB III cities, crossing the Jordan river to reach this region of sanctuary. I maintain that the unsettled conditions of the Exodus had calmed, and any drought which had terminated EB III abated for a time, allowing the Dead Sea region to support these EB IV towns, which were perhaps already thriving during EB III times. As to what human agent the ethnic Canaanites fled, I suggest that we know quite well the name of one of their oppressors: Joshua the son of Nun.