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Israel Finkelstein
Avi Perevolotsky

The article suggests an historical-ecological model for human activity in Sinai and the Negev. Three main factors influenced human presence there: ecological niches that enabled dry farming alongside animal husbandry; proximity to centers of the settled lands, which allowed a symbiotic-dimorphic relationship with sedentary populations; and occasional trade opportunities that could change the economic balance in the desert. The desert people's subsistence usually was based on sheep/goat herding with occasional seasonal dry farming. The nomads traded surplus animal products to sedentary communities for agricultural goods. Usually they left only few archaeological remains. Occasionally, however, the desert witnessed some sedentarization, which was reversed when the geopolitical or economic situation changed. In two periods, sedentarization resulted from a deterioration of rural and urban society in the settled land, during which the nomads had to supply their own agricultural needs.

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Processes of Sedentarization and Nomadization in the History of Sinai and the Negev
279

Israel Finkelstein
Avi Perevolotsky

Processes of Sedentarization and Nomadization in the History of Sinai and the Negev

The article suggests an historical-ecological model for human activity in Sinai and the Negev. Three main factors influenced human presence there: ecological niches that enabled dry farming alongside animal husbandry; proximity to centers of the settled lands, which allowed a symbiotic-dimorphic relationship with sedentary populations; and occasional trade opportunities that could change the economic balance in the desert. The desert people's subsistence usually was based on sheep/goat herding with occasional seasonal dry farming. The nomads traded surplus animal products to sedentary communities for agricultural goods. Usually they left only few archaeological remains. Occasionally, however, the desert witnessed some sedentarization, which was reversed when the geopolitical or economic situation changed. In two periods, sedentarization resulted from a deterioration of rural and urban society in the settled land, during which the nomads had to supply their own agricultural needs.

Scientific Publication
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