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The Expulsion of the Hyksos and the End of the Middle Bronze Age: A Reassessment in Light of Recent Chronological Research

Felix Höflmayer

Abstract


The end of the Middle Bronze Age and its connection with the end of the Second Intermediate Period in Egypt and the alleged expulsion of the Hyksos is of key-importance for understanding the development of the subsequent Late Bronze Age and the rising Egyptian interest in the region. For a long time it was assumed that the destruction levels observed at many Middle Bronze Age sites throughout the southern Levant could be linked to the Hyksos expulsion and the immediate aftermath. The low chronology of Manfred Bietak and others dated the end of the Middle Bronze Age to the early 18th Dynasty, up to the Thutmosid period and implicitly opened the possibility to connect these destructions with the attested military campaigns of the Thutmosid kings. Recent radiocarbon data, however, challenged both the low and the conventional chronology and placed the end of the Middle Bronze Age earlier, probably even before the start of the New Kingdom. This paper reviews both the chronologies and the historical narratives involved and argues for a new model for the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age.

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