Egyptian presence in the Southern Levant during the late fourth millennium BCE (Early Bronze Age IB, henceforward EB IB), centered in southwestern Israel, is an issue thoroughly studied for several decades. These studies covered every aspect of material culture, relative and absolute chronology, socio-political and economic implications, and more. Scholars characterized this Egyptian presence in different ways: from a military or colonial occupation focusing on the establishment of Egyptian enclaves within local settlements, to a minimal, purely commercial activity with almost no physical Egyptian presence. The current paper will attempt to outline theoretical, cultural, and spatial aspects of encounters between Egyptians and the local Canaanite population based on old and new data from sites like Tel Maaḥaz, Tel Lod, and Al-Maghar. The results of the study of various settlements between the Besor and Yarkon River basins where Egyptians physically resided may point toward a short-term foreign presence with variable influence on the local Canaanite population not always reflected in Canaanite material culture. At the same time, the ‘enclaving’ process led by Egyptian state institutions probably prompted hostility that may have resulted in resistance leading, in turn, to the demise of Egyptian enclaves.
Egyptian colony; group agency; colonial encounters; resistance; Early Bronze Age
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