This article will discuss the role of monuments in the construction of the Early Bronze Age (EBA) landscape on the Lebanese coast. The discussion focuses on Byblos, where an extensively excavated EBA town plan shows evidence of at least seven temples and a monumental town wall. Nearby contemporary sites that followed markedly similar building activity phases during the period will also be examined. Finally, we will argue that the construction of these buildings and the communal activities they facilitated were integral to the social organization of groups along this part of the Lebanese coast. Temples and related monumental architecture were the nexus of labor and social ties, integrating both the hinterland and participants in overseas and overland exchange networks, most visible in Egypt but also likely including Syrian, Mesopotamian, and Anatolian communities. We show that Byblos was composed of several neighborhoods built around temples, where people participated in events that served to integrate local communities while simultaneously providing a stage for competitive display. Further, we will present evidence that the temples served as venues for these social acts and stimulated contact with emerging powers such as Egypt, which delivered prestige and status to local elites fostering the development of political hierarchies apparent in the following periods.
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