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Egyptianizing Practices and Cultural Hybridity in the Southern Levant During the Late Bronze Age

Louise Steel

Abstract


This article explores how material culture is used to shape, mediate and transform social relations within contact zones. The aim is to highlight cultural hybridity, namely the material expression of new social practices within a colonial third space. It focuses on the Gaza region of the southern Levant during the later 2nd millennium BCE, a cosmopolitan period, illustrated by large-scale movement of goods, raw materials, and exotic luxuries over vast distances around the East Mediterranean resulting in cultural connectivity. The Late Bronze Age in the Gaza region is also characterized by Egyptian colonial activity. Consequently, this article examines material evidence for the development of new social practices in the region and in particular the adoption of Egyptian(izing) exotica in the creation and mediation of new hybrid identities. Specifically, it explores the social life of objects at two important Late Bronze Age sites in the region: el-Moghraqa and Deir el-Balah.

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