This paper compares pottery finds from the Central Levant (Lebanon) and imported vessels found in Egyptian Early Dynastic contexts to help unravel the dynamics of trade activities between the two regions at the beginning of the third millennium BCE. New typological, technological, petrographic, and geochemical datasets from Lebanese sites such as Tell Arqa, Byblos, Tell Koubba, Tell Fadous, and the Beqaa Valley are compared with published data from funerary contexts at Abydos (Umm el-Qaab, tomb of king Den) and Helwan (Operation 4). By consolidating recent evidence, this study aims to provide a framework aiding in provenancing imported vessels of likely central Levantine origin found in Egyptian Early Dynastic contexts. The evidence suggests a gradual shift in trade links between Egypt and the Levant, with land routes through the Sinai being abandoned in favor of maritime ones. Likewise, Egyptian contacts are refocused from the Southern to the Central Levant. Recent evidence from the Central Levant provides finer-grained provenance analysis, shown to be the key to further defining and understanding these subtle and gradual shifts. Moreover, our study highlights chronological discrepancies pointing to practices of saving imported goods as heirlooms for more than a century to repurpose them for funerary contexts.
Egypt; central Levant; Lebanon; Early Dynastic; Early Bronze Age; ceramic analysis; petrography; trade
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