Ancient Jerusalem’s Rural Food Basket
The “new” archaeology looks for an urban center’s agricultural base
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Until recently, archaeology—or at least Near Eastern archaeology—has been regarded primarily as a historical science. Its focus was history and particularly political history—kings and kingdoms, battles and destructions, the rise and fall of civilizations.
That focus has now shifted somewhat. It is difficult to put a date on the change because it has occurred gradually during the past 30 years or so. Today, many scholars would characterize the “new” archaeology, as it is sometimes called, as an anthropological science, rather than a historical science. How did society work in ancient times? How can we account for social change? What can archaeology tell us about ancient economies and trade patterns and population shifts? These are the “new” foci of attention.

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