Settlement patterns, social complexity and agricultural strategies during the Chalcolithic period in the Northern Negev, Israel Academic Article uri icon


  • Previous studies have reported a Chalcolithic site distribution pattern in the Northern Negev as clustered, exhibiting a number of characteristics that imply a chiefdom level of organization. However, a recent spatial analysis suggests that in some areas of the Northern Negev, settlement patterns were essentially random and that there is no evidence for regional chiefdom organization. We examine this controversy by closely inspecting the methods of spatial analyses employed by previous researchers, by introducing an additional multiscalar spatial technique, namely Ripley's K-function, and by using updated and modified data. Our results indicate that settlement distributions were essentially clustered, even in small areas along the wadis. Examining the relation between these spatial-dependent distributions and the landscape surroundings revealed that particular physiographic characteristics of the wadis contribute to increscent in site clusters. Furthermore, a general linear model analysis suggests that the distribution of Chalcolithic sites is determined primarily by environmental factors rather than factors related to political organization.

publication date

  • January 1, 2010