The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Archaeology   Chronicles of the LandThe Land of Canaan  
The Land of Canaan
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Early Bronze Age

3500–2300 BCE

Intermediate Bronze Age

2300–2000 BCE

Middle Bronze Age

2000–1550 BCE

Late Bronze Age

1550–1200 BCE


In the second half of the 4th millennium BCE, a radical transformation took place throughout the Ancient Near East. The first planned cities were built, and they rapidly developed into the first city-states. Urban culture flourished in the Land for more than one thousand years, until various factors, such as climate change, led to the cities collapse. For some three hundred years, the people of the Land returned to rural and semi-nomadic ways of life. It was during this time that bronze was worked for the first time, giving its name to the period .


At the beginning of the 2nd millennium BCE, a rich urban civilization reappeared in the Land, and fortified city-states once again dotted the country. In written documents, the Land is called Canaan for the first time. Some scholars have suggested that this period, during which pastoral, tribal societies lived on the outskirts of Canaan s large cities, should be seen as the backdrop for the biblical stories of the Patriarchs .


Egypt s influence over Canaan began in the second half of the 16th century BCE, and direct Egyptian rule commenced in the early 15th century BCE. Despite this, the Canaanites retained their cultural and spiritual independence, and, in fact, their achievements in the realms of religion, literature, and art reached a peak .


The end of the 13th century BCE was a time of worldwide upheaval, which culminated in the fall of many great empires. Egypt weakened, and around 1200 BCE its rule over Canaan began to draw to a close .

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