The early bronze IB in the Judean Desert caves

Uri Davidovich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The Late Chalcolithic (Ghassulian) is the only period in the 6th-4th millennia chronological sequence that has been discussed in relation to the Judean Desert caves since the discovery of proto-historic remains there some 60 years ago. The notion that everything that is proto-historic in the Judean Desert is Chalcolithic was influenced by the major discoveries of the 'Ein Gedi Shrine and the Cave of the Treasure in Nah{combining dot below}al Mishmar, both having become key sites in the scholarly literature on the Ghassulian culture. Nevertheless, many of the excavated caves contain evidence for a late Early Bronze (EB) I presence within their ceramic assemblages, clearly separated from the Late Chalcolithic phase. This presence has not been recognized in most cases; in some it has been discerned but has not generated meaningful discussion of the artefactual assemblages and their chronological and regional significance. This article reviews the evidence for the occupation of caves in the Judean Desert in the EB IB, and suggests that its date lies within the Erani C cultural horizon. The article argues that this presence accounts for an episode of temporary refuge in the precipitous caves of the Judean Desert, joining the Late Chalcolithic and Early Roman episodes in the same region.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3-19
Number of pages17
JournalTel Aviv
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Cave of the Treasure
  • EB I
  • Erani C Horizon
  • Judean Desert caves
  • Temporary refuge


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