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Destruction and the Fall of Egyptian Hegemony Over the Southern Levant

Jesse Michael Millek

Abstract


What brought about the end of Egyptian hegemony and the physical presence of Egyptians in the Late Bronze Age southern Levant? Several theories have been proposed in response to this question with two prominent theories taking center stage. One emphasizes the role of the Sea Peoples, whose path of destruction forced out the Egyptians. Another offers an answer closer to home with civil unrest in Canaan itself bringing about local uprisings against occupied Egyptian sites. What both have in common is that they rely on evidence from destruction events at sites with Egyptian-style architecture and Egyptian-style pottery. The aim of this article is to examine these destruction events, to identify their possible causes, and to ascertain which Egyptian sites did not suffer a destruction event before Egyptian occupation ceased at the site. As a result, it will be proposed that the destruction of Egyptian sites in the southern Levant was not the cause for the cessation of Egyptian hegemony over the southern Levant; rather, it was the pervasive political turmoil in Egypt during the Twentieth Dynasty that caused the Levantine region to be gradually abandoned by Egypt.

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