The best treatment of the MB II–LB I transition is Aharon Kempinski, Syrien und Palästina. On the basis of a set of astronomical observations, we know that the ninth year of Pharaoh Amenophis I was 1536 B.C. We also know that Pharaoh Thutmosis III was on the throne in 1469 B.C. (Depending on where the astronomical sightings were made, these dates could be lowered by 20 years, to 1516 B.C. and 1449 B.C., but the difference is not really material, and the likelihood is that the early chronology is correct.)
From these dates, other dates are firmly fixed by contemporary regnal references. Working from these dates on the basis of these records, we know that Pharaohs Amenophis III and Amenophis IV (Akhenaten) ruled from about 1405 to 1350 B.C.
We can correlate the rule of Amenophis III and Amenophis IV with the Amarna texts, several hundred cuneiform tablets discovered at the Egyptian capital of Amenophis IV at Tell el-Amarna. These letters were sent and received during the reign of Amenophis III and Amenophis IV. They are letters primarily to the Egyptian court from Egyptian vassals in Canaan, and from contemporaries such as Assur-uballit of Assyria, whose reign can be dated independently (by Assyrian king lists) to about 1365–1330 B.C.
The Amarna letters, from the period of roughly 1375–1345 B.C., provide a window on contemporary Canaan, in which certain towns are major centers of great territorial and administrative importance. These towns are the great citadels of the Late Bronze II A period. If we superimpose the LB II A archaeological picture (as at Gezer, Shechem and Megiddo) on the Tell el-Amarna correspondence, the lines match precisely. Further, two letters, one with characters known from the archive, have been found in LB II A levels at Canaanite sites. (One is a letter from Kamid-el-Loz, in D. O. Edzard et al., Kamid el-Loz—Kumidi [Bonn: Habelt, 1970], pp. 55f. Another, EA 333, in J. A. Knudtzon, Die El-Amarna Tafeln [Vorderasiatische Bibliothek 2; Leipzig, Germany: Hinriches, 1915], p. 333, was uncovered at Tell Hesi.) Consequently, LB II A, during which Canaan developed to the stage reflected in the Amarna archive, begins no later than 1400; at some sites, of course, it may have begun earlier.
See Claire Epstein, Palestinian Bichrome Ware (Leiden: Brill, 1966).
See M. Artzy, F. Asaro and I. Perlman, “The Origin of the ‘Palestinian’ Bichrome Ware,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 93 (1973), pp. 446–461. The significance of bichrome ware for B&L’s argument has been underscored by D. Merling, in an unpublished study, “An Evaluation of John Bimson’s Redating the Beginning of Late Bronze Age.” On the Cypriot imports generally, see Eliezer D. Oren, “Cypriot Imports in the Palestinian Late Bronze I Context,” Opuscula Atheniensia 9 (1969), pp. 127–150.
See James Pritchard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 1969), pp. 235–238.
See Aharon Kempinski, Syrien und Palästina (Kanaan) in der letzten Phase der Mittelbronze IIB-Zeit (1650–1570 v. Chr.) (Agypten und altes Testament 4; Wiesbaden, West Germany: Harrassowitz, 1983), pp. 131–148; Rivka Gonen, Burial Patterns and Cultural Diversity in Late Bronte Age Canaan, forthcoming in the American Schools of Oriental Research Dissertation Series.
And reshuffling Egyptian chronology would create tension with the chronology of Alalakh itself linked, through that of the First Dynasty of Babylon, with astronomically determined dates.
See James A. Sauer, “Trans-Jordan in the Bronze and Iron Ages: A Critique of Glueck’s Synthesis,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 263 (1986), p. 9.
Israel Finkelstein has demonstrated this in his 1983 dissertation at the University of Tel Aviv, The ‘Isbet Sartah Excavations and the Israelite Settlement in the Hill Country, an English translation of which is forthcoming from the Israel Exploration Society.
See Sauer, “Transjordan in the Bronze and Iron Ages,” p. 10.
See Baruch Halpern, The Emergence of Israel in Canaan (Society of Biblical Literature Monographs Series 29; Chico, CA: Scholars, 1983), p. 209. For further archaeological light on the Egyptian presence in Canaan into the second half of the 12th century B.C., see David Ussishkin, “Lachish—Key to the Israelite Conquest of Canaan?” BAR 13:01, and “Levels VII and VI at Tel Lachish and the End of the Late Bronze Age in Canaan,” in Palestine in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Papers in Honour of Olga Tufnell, ed. Jonathan N. Tubb (London: Institute of Archaeology, 1985), pp. 213–230.