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International Conference
Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt

(Cracow, Poland: 28th August - 1st September 2002)
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Egypt in the Levant during the Early Dynastic Period/Early Bronze Age II


The Nicholson Museum, University of Sydney, Sydney (Australia)


The major shift in Egypt's relationship with the southern Levant that occurs from the EB Ib to the EB II is linked to the development of the 'Byblos run' up the coast to ship coniferous timbers in large quantities for elite consumption at the beginning of the Early Dynastic Period. In addition, the commencement of viticulture in Egypt during this time may have lessened the need for its procurement networks in southern Canaan. Growing assertiveness on the part of local elites may have also played a part in the changing political dynamics of the region.

Egypt's relationship with its north eastern neighbours in the Early Dynastic Period/EBA II was in all likelihood multi-faceted, embracing product exchange, diplomatic ties and sporadic military skirmishes. Although southern Canaan remains important, particularly for the probable acquisition of copper from the Wadi Feinan, archaeological evidence reveals that the geographical focus of Egyptian commodity acquisition broadens north, to the Galilee and the region of northern Canaan/Mt Hermon. The coastal area around Byblos also becomes a key source of large -scale coniferous timber imports. These exchange patterns are linked to changing demands for products, more efficient transportation mechanisms and the shifting political climate of the southern Levant in the EBA II.


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