Israelite highland settlement
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These surveys found a large increase in the settled population dating to 1200 BCE. It is not known whether the Israelites arrived in the wake of conquests or the new villages were established by former nomads or displaced persons. A similar increase was not found in the surrounding lowland areas. According to archaeological evidence, these areas may have been inhabited by Canaanites or Sea People.
A 2005 book by Robert D. Miller applies statistical modeling to the sizes and locations of the villages, grouping them by economic and political features. He found highland groupings centered on Dothan, Tirzah, Shechem, and Shiloh. The tribal territory of Benjamin was not organized around any main town.
This evidence does not prove there was a conquest as described in the Book of Joshua, but if the biblical reference to "daughter villages" means all villages closest to that town, the list of Canaanite towns not taken in Judges 1:27-35, which begins: "Nor did Manesseh drive out Bet Shean and her daughter-villages ...", the correspondence to the survey results is remarkably accurate. Towns not captured in the central zone were Taanach, Ibleam, Meggido, Dor, Gezer, Aijalon, Shaalbim, and Jerusalem.
- Dever, William G. (2003). Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?. Wm. B. Eerdmans. ISBN 0-8028-0975-8.
- Finkelstein, Israel, and Neil Asher Silberman (2002). The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts. Free Press. ISBN 0-684-86913-6.
- Miller, Robert D., II, (2005). Chieftains Of The Highland Clans: A History Of Israel In The Twelfth And Eleventh Centuries B.C. Wm. B. Eerdmans. ISBN 0-8028-0988-X.