Hunting to Herding to Trading to Warfare: A Chronology of Animal Exploitation in the Negev

  • Steven A. RosenEmail author
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series book series (PMAES)


Patterns of animal exploitation in the ancient Negev reflect a sequence of cumulative functions of animals as they were adopted into desert societies. As different animals were adopted, the potentials for exploitation evolved with an ever-increasing impact on desert social organization, economy, and external relations. Notably, no animals were domesticated in the desert, and thus even the adoption of animals reflects the dynamics of interaction with the settled zone. The sequence of primary animal exploitation/adoption is cumulative, beginning with gazelle/ibex (15th-8th millennia BCE) and continuing to goat/sheep (ca. 7th millennium BCE), donkey (ca. 4th millennium BCE), and camel (late second/first millennium BCE). These adoptions, of course, reflect economic changes from hunting-gathering to subsistence herding to trade and ultimately to raiding and warfare. The new adoptions/economic systems did not merely supplant the old, but rather supplemented them, with major implications for all aspects of desert societies.


Negev Sheep Donkeys Camels Rock art Hunting Levantine deserts 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Bible, Archaeology, and Ancient Near Eastern StudiesBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeershebaIsrael

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