7 Settlement, Territory, and the Political Landscape of Late Bronze Age Polities in the Northern Levant



By bringing together analysis of cuneiform texts and archaeological settlement data, I offer new perspectives on the spatial and territorial dimensions of polities in the northern Levant during the mid to late second millennium B.C.E. Settlement data suggest that a highly nucleated pattern of occupation at tell sites remained dominant and remarkably stable throughout the period, perhaps driven by hierarchically organized systems of land rights. In contrast, historical data show a complex and dynamic tapestry of changing territorial institutions, moving from a system of fragmented, spatially discontinuous polities in the earlier second millennium to one characterized by increasingly territorial states in later centuries. Results show how rapidly notions of territoriality might have changed in the past and highlight the fundamental importance of studies that integrate archaeological and historical data in efforts to understand the spatiality of ancient states. [Near East, Amuq, settlement, Hittites, Amorites]