Civilizations of Canaan
3,500 - 1,150 BCE
The long span from the second half of the 4th millennium until the begining of the 12th century BCE is customarily classified under a common heading - the Bronze Age or Canaanite period. The term "Bronze Age," which has its roots in European archaeology, refers to the introduction of the alloy bronze into the material culture, which was supposed to have occurred at that time. The term "Canaanite period" stresses the ethnic components that were predominant before the conquest of Canaan by the Israelite tribes.
However, as knowledge has grown, it has become clear that both terms are far from precise. With regard to the term "Bronze Age," the numerous analyses of metal implements and weapons have shown that bronze - an alloy of copper and tin -was used only in the beginning of the 2nd millennium, and in the 3rd millennium artifacts were still produced largely of copper. As for the term "Canaanite period," it should be borne in mind that Canaan is the term by which the Land of Israel was identified by foreigners. Its earliest occurence is in the Statue of Idrimi, King of Alalakh, which dates to the 15th century BCE - some two thousand years later than the date fixed as the beginning of the period.
The span of time is traditionally divided into four periods: Early Canaanite (Bronze) Age 3500-2300 BCE, Intermediate Canaanite (Bronze) Age 2300-2000 BCE and Middle Canaanite (Bronze) Age 2000-1550 BCE, and Late Canaanite (Bronze) Age 1550-1150 BCE.