Where did the Israelites originate? What was the fate of the Canaanites? In this revealing introduction, Jonathan M. Golden tackles these and other hotly debated questions. Drawing on the extensive and often surprising archeological record, he looks at daily life in antiquity, providing rich portraits of the role of women, craft production, metallurgy, technology, political and social organization, trade, and religious practices. Golden traces the great religious traditions that emerged in this region back to their most ancient roots, drawing on the evidence of scriptures and other texts as well as the archeological record. Though the scriptures stress the primacy of Israel, the author considers the Canaanites and Philistines as well, examining the differences between highland and coastal cultures and the cross-fertilization between societies. He offers a clear, objective look at the evidence for the historical accuracy of the biblical narrative, based on the latest thinking among archeologists worldwide.