Itzhaq Beit-Arieh

Canaanite pioneers in the south central Sinai built more than 40 small settlements that have been discovered by the author and dated to the Early Bronze Age II period (2850–2650 B.C). The settlements comprised five to twenty families living in a corresponding number of sunken stone houses, lower center, grouped in small, belt-like compounds spaced about 100 feet apart. These settlers raised goats and produced copper from locally mined ores and then transported the copper by caravan to Canaan. Such settlements demonstrate that south central Sinai was indeed capable of supporting a population in ancient times.