Barter is the principal means by which goods were transferred and distributed between the different regions of the southern Levant in the Early Bronze Age (3,600 – 2,300 BCE). In this lecture we will address ideas and conclusions regarding the characteristics of the routes and barter networks and concerning the economy and society in this period. The area of the study is located within the southern Levant and does not include the trade relations with Egypt and other regions of the Ancient East.

In the first part of the lecture basic data will be presented about the main products (finds), their distribution and the trade routes in the southern Levant. In the second part the characteristics of the distribution network will be presented (centralization, directionality and symmetry). We will also analyze the differences and changes that occurred throughout the Early Bronze Age and the economic and political factors for these changes.

The conclusions of the study are that the trade networks of different goods have left behind patterns that are sometimes similar, sometimes matching only in part and sometimes very different from each other.

Furthermore, the study shows that the distribution patterns in the Early Bronze Age I are not centralized; however, they become more centralized in the Early Bronze Age II. On the other hand, in the Early Bronze Age III this centralization diminishes. These changes occurred even though the main trade routes did not change.