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'Apiru: Groups of bandits and refugees who lived on the fringes of Canaanite society and were at times employed as mercenaries

archaeology: The scientific study of past cultures through the study of sites and artifacts

arid: Lacking moisture, especially having insufficient rainfall to support trees or woody plants

aristocracy: A hereditary ruling class; nobility

artifact: An object made or used by humans that provides information about human behavior in the past

artisan: A skilled manual worker or craftsman

bureaucracy: Administration of a government chiefly through bureaus or departments staffed with non-elected officials

chariot: A two-wheeled vehicle drawn by horses, used for transportation or in battle

chronology: An arrangement of events in the order in which they occurred

context: The environment in which something exists or occurs; an object's setting in time and place and it's relationship to other objects

deforestation: The act of cutting down and clearing away the trees or forests

domestication: The act of training or adapting (an animal or a plant) to live in a human environment and be of use to human beings

elite: A select group which controls the majority of resources and authority in a community

excavation: The systematic digging of a site to search for remains from the past

fortification: Something that serves to fortify, especially military works erected to fortify a position or place

garrison: A military post, especially one that is permanently established

habitat: The area or type of environment in which an organism or ecological community normally lives or occurs

hieroglyphs: A system of writing, such as that of ancient Egypt, in which pictorial symbols are used to represent meaning or sounds or a combination of meaning and sound

Hyksos: Literally "chiefs of foreign lands," a Semitic race of people who settled in the Nile River Delta in Egypt in the 19th and 18th centuries BCE. The Hyksos briefly ruled Egypt as self-styled pharaohs in the 16th and 17th dynasties

lamelek jar: A narrow necked, wide shouldered ceramic storage jar significant for seal impressions found on the handles in which appears the early Hebrew word lmlk, meaning "belonging to the king"

lapis lazuli: A blue precious stone with speckles of gold which was imported into Canaan from Badakshan in north-east Afghanistan

Lower Egypt: The northern half of Egypt, including the Nile River delta

mud brick: Square building bricks created from mud mixed with straw and left to dry in the sun

mummification: A process by which a body was ritually preserved by Egyptian priests for burial

nomads: A group of people who have no fixed home and move according to the seasons from place to place in search of food, water, and grazing land for flocks of animals

orthogonal: Relating to or composed of right angles

pastoral: Of or relating to shepherds or herders

pharaoh: A king of ancient Egypt

pithos (pl. pithoi): A large storage vessel with a narrow mouth at the top

precipitation: Any form of water, such as rain, snow, sleet, or hail, that falls to the earth's surface

pyramids: Large-scale geometrical-shaped stone tombs built for Egyptian pharaohs in the Old Kingdom

rampart: A defensive wall with a broad top and usually a stone parapet

scarab: 1. A beetle regarded as sacred by the Egyptians due to the belief that the beetle came into being of itself from a ball of dung. 2. A representation of this beetle, such as a ceramic or stone sculpture or a cut gem, used in ancient Egypt as a talisman and a symbol of new life

scribe: A public clerk or secretary, especially in ancient times

Sea Peoples: Various tribal groups of the Mediterranean who took up arms to attack the Mycenaean, Hittite and Egyptian empires and destroy many cities around 1200 BCE

Shasa: A widespread nomadic pastoral population which lived in the countryside, mountain regions and desert fringe of Canaan. In times of drought and crisis, the Shasa would sometimes raid the settled cultivated areas

site: A place where human activity occurred and material remains were left, often a place where people built their homes and grew their food

stele: An upright stone or slab with an inscribed or sculptured surface, used as a monument or as a commemorative tablet in the face of a building

stratigraphy: The scientific process of interpreting the accumulation of layers of debris and soil over time. Archaeologists explain how each layer came to be added, following the basic premise that lower, buried deposits would be older than those on top

tel (Arabic: tell): A mound built up by the accumulation of habitation debris over time

toggle pin: An item of jewelry, composed mainly of copper or bronze, used to fasten together garments

tomb: A place where a burial has been made

Upper Egypt: The southern half of Egypt, centered around the Nile River Valley

urbanization: The process of forming a culture based in cities

chariot: A light, two-wheeled vehicle pulled by a team of two horses and often used in battle in the Bronze and Iron Ages

corselet: Body armor, especially a breastplate

cuneiform: Wedge-shaped script used in Mesopotamia for writing on clay tablets

cylinder seal: Cylinder of stone, gem or baked clay engraved with a design which made an impression when rolled over wet clay

demotic: Later form of Egyptian cursive script

fibula: An often ornamented clasp or brooch used in ancient Canaan and Israel to fasten clothing (origin of word is from ancient Greece)

flax: A fine, light-colored textile fiber obtained from a plant of the genus Linum

hieratic: Earlier form of Egyptian cursive script

hieroglyphics: Egyptian writing system in which the signs for words or syllables are pictures

kohl: A cosmetic preparation, such as powdered antimony sulfide, used to darken the rims of the eyelids

legume: a. An edible pod, such as that of a pea or bean, that splits into two valves with the seeds attached to one edge of the valves

mano: The light, moveable upper stone of a quern

metate: The fixed lower saddle-shaped stone of a quern

papyrus: Writing material made from the papyrus plant; comparable to modern paper

patriarch: A man who rules a family, clan, or tribe

phonetic: Of or relating to spoken language or speech sounds

pictograph: Sign in a written script that uses pictures to represent words and objects

quern: A basalt-stone appliance used for rolling grains into flour, consisting of a metate and a maw

rapier: A light, sharp-pointed sword lacking a cutting edge and used only for thrusting

scribe: An educated official or public secretary or clerk

spindle: A rod or pin, tapered at the ends, on which fibers are spun by hand into thread and then wound

stylus: Writing stick made out of reed, wood, metal or bone

tabun: A small domed clay oven used for baking bread

theophoric: Including the name of a god or goddess within a personal name

warp: The threads that run lengthwise in a woven fabric, crossed at right angles to the weft.

weft: The horizontal threads interlaced through the warp in a woven fabric


alabaster: A variety of hard calcite, translucent and sometimes banded

annealing: To subject (glass or metal) to a process of heating and slow cooling in order to toughen and reduce brittleness

ard: A scratch plow with a wooden point, clad with either bronze or iron, which could penetrate a soil surface to a depth of a few inches

attribute: A characteristic or recognizable quality of an object, such as size, color, shape, age, how it was made, or use

burnish: 1. To make smooth or glossy by or as if by rubbing; polish. 2. To rub with a tool that serves especially to smooth or polish

chaff: The dry bracts enclosing mature grains of wheat and some other cereal grasses, removed during threshing

coalition: An alliance of people, factions, parties, or nations

core-forming: A method of glass-making where molten glass is wound around a clay core

faience: An easily shaped compound of quartz and silicon. To make faience, grains of quartz sand were added to a solution of natron (a salt with the texture of baking soda). After the compound was heated it could be shaped or molded. A colored glaze, made by heating sand and natron, was applied to the compound and finished product was then baked to bind together the core and the glaze. Color, generally from a copper compound was added to the glaze prior to the final baking of the object

fermentation: A breakdown of a substance by yeasts and bacteria, especially of sugar in making alcohol

filigree: Delicate and intricate ornamental work made from gold, silver, or other fine twisted wire

frit: A vitreous substance used in making glazes and enamels

granulation: Small, beadlike protuberances designed on the surface of intricate jewelry

gypsum: A widespread colorless, white, or yellowish mineral

ingot: A mass of metal, such as a bar or block, that is cast in a standard shape for convenient storage or shipment

irrigation: A system of watering lands by means of directing water through channels in the soil

malleability: The quality of metal which allows it to be molded, hammered, or bent into various shapes

murex: Any of various marine gastropods of the genus Murex common in tropical seas and having rough, spiny shells, especially Murex trunculus, the source of Phoenician purple dye

phoinikes: A Greek word meaning "reddish-purple"

shekel: 1. A basic unit of currency in Israel. 2. a. Any of several ancient units of weight, especially a Hebrew unit equal to about a half ounce. b. A gold or silver coin equal in weight to one of these units, especially the chief silver coin of the ancient Israelites

winnowing: To separate the chaff from grain by means of a current of air

cult statue: The likeness of a god or goddess which is venerated in a temple or shrine

consort: A husband or wife, especially the spouse of a monarch

grotesque: Characterized by ludicrous or incongruous distortion of appearance

libation: a. The pouring of a liquid offering as a religious ritual. b. The liquid so poured

monolatry: The worship of a single god without denying the existence of other deities

monotheism: The doctrine or belief that there is only one God

naturalistic: Imitating or producing the effect or appearance of nature

pantheon: All the gods of a people

polytheism: The worship of or belief in more than one god

sarcophagus, -i: A stone or clay coffin, often inscribed or decorated with sculpture

tomb: A place where a burial has been made

tripartite: Composed of or divided into three parts

votive: A gift or token given or dedicated in fulfillment of a vow or pledge

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