Adams, Kerry Lyn. “Textual and Archaeological Evidence for Pilgrimage in the Central Hill Country of the Southern Levant During the Late Bronze Age–Iron Age I Transition Period, ca. 1300-1000 BCE.” PhD diss., University of Arizona, 2010. [Israel/Ritual/Liturgy/
Abstract: This research evaluates the textual and archaeological evidence for pilgrimage in the Iron I central hill country of the southern Levant during the Late Bronze Age-Iron I transition period (ca. 1300-1000 BCE). The central hill country comprises the Judean and Samarian hills that are located west of the Jordan River and rise near Hebron to the south and end in the north near Dothan. This location and time period reflect the nascent stages of Israelite identity. Pilgrimage provides new perspectives through which to evaluate a specific aspect of early Israelite religion and culture. This research demonstrates that pilgrimage to ceremonial sites, where processions and ritual performances were held, provided avenues for families and clans to come together for a collective purpose and to fulfill collective needs. Pilgrimage has many facets that transect social, economic, and political agendas. By looking at the entire network of sites availed in the archaeological and textual record that apply to the Iron I central hills, from household shrines to shrines of regional and cross-clan appeal, this research suggests that there were several scales of pilgrimage evident in the central highlands. Each scale of pilgrimage had different sociological implications, but primarily pilgrimage provided avenues for people to exchange goods and services without losing honor, negotiate status, and bond over a collective awareness of kinship and community that provided avenues for disparate tribes to coalesce into a coherent political body.