Social evolution and power strategies of the Iron Age I central highlands of Israel: a neo-evolutionary perspective on the ‘Israelite settlement’
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 03:12 by James Mclellan
This thesis aims to re-examine Israel’s central highland polity formation in the Iron I, also known as the ‘Israelite settlement’, from a neo-evolutionary perspective. This view emphasises the gradual social trajectory of polity formation leading to statehood. Previously, Faust has argued that state-formation was the result of paralleling settlement abandonments and subsequent urbanism at the end of the Iron I (2003/2006). Despite his objection to Faust’s methodology (2005), Finkelstein has similarly argued that the crux of the state-formation process occurred at the end of the 11th century, but was due to the rise of a central highland polity (2013). Most theories identify that Israelite state-formation to be a gradual process occurring over two centuries, where various facets of culture are developed over time, seemingly through a process of cultural transmission. While the most conspicuous feature of this cultural transmission is architecture, primarily pillared houses and paralleling settlement designs, abstract ideas are just as susceptible. The concepts of power and authority, which this study views as a primary driver of societal change, are emphasised in this study and examined chronologically within various cases of highland Iron I settlement in an attempt to showcase the evolutionary nature of the settlement process.