Boundaries of the Ancient Near Eastern World: A Tribute to by Meir Lubetski, Sharon Keller, Claire Gottlieb

By Meir Lubetski, Sharon Keller, Claire Gottlieb

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The Antidiffusionists, such as Renfrew and Kemp, would side with Hoffman's claim of 'almost local' fertilizing immigrants from the 'almost farmers' of the Eastern Sahara (the western desert) and the highlands of the Red Country (Hoffman 1979: 303-305). More problematic in terms of accessibility is the theory of Nubia and even Ethiopia (Adams 1984; Larsen 1957). It is true that there is a resemblance between some Gerzean decorations and the aloe plant of Ethiopia, but the cataracts and the distances would have made it hard to bring down the timbers from the Blue Nile.

6-13, 38-51). Hand-held censers are well known; the most striking ones, in the shape of an arm and a hand, appear in ancient Egypt (Nielsen 1986: figs. 24-36) and also Palestine (May 1935: PI XVI, M 4304, M 4303; see Meyers 1992a and 1992b). Perhaps most distinctive of the thymiateria recovered from Palestine are the cuboid 'altars', either the miniature ones perhaps originating in South Arabia, which was the source of the most prized aromatics in the ancient world, or the somewhat larger 'horned' variety found at many Israelite sites from Dan to Beersheba (see the catalogue in Gitin 1989 and also 1992).

Having only a handful of rather sketchy iconographic evidence, one cannot produce a well-grounded explanation for these alleged 50 Boundaries of the Ancient Near Eastern World discrepancies. Yet referring to the heated arguments concerning the origins of the Aegean and Early Minoan civilizations, the resemblance of this rather 'strange' type of Cycladian boat and a particular variant of earlier, Protodynastic vessel from Egypt, might add something of substance on the side of the Diffusionists who would follow the old biblical claim that Ham (= Africa) begat Mitzraim (Egypt) who begat Caphtor (Crete) (Gen.

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