Stratum II. A thin level of dark gray soil (L103, L108) containing fragments of pottery vessels and animal bones was exposed above clean beach sand that covered the kurkar bedrock. Based on the ceramic finds, this layer was dated to a late phase of the MB IIA and the beginning of the MB IIB periods.
Stratum I. A surface (L109) composed of kurkar stones was exposed. Between the stones was a rich in situ concentration of ten seven-cupped pottery bowls (Fig. 3), miniature goblets, an animal figurine and a fragment of an incense burner. Most of the seven-cupped bowls were poorly preserved. The stratum was dated according to these finds to the MB IIB. These finds were c. 1.2 m southeast of the built pillar (Building 10; Stratum IV) and next to the stone levels (Stratum V; Dothan 1957:42, Ill. 1) that were revealed in Dothan’s excavations.
The pottery assemblage that was discovered in the excavation is diverse and its dating is based on the final report of the finds from the Ben-Dor and Dothan excavations (Zuckerman, in preparation).
Bowls. Several types of open bowls were discovered, among them bowls with an inverted rim (Fig. 4:1–14), which were common throughout the MB II period, bowls with a straight rim (Fig. 4:15, 16) dating to the end of MB IIA, and a red-slipped bowl with a ledge rim (Fig. 4:17) dating to the end of MB IIA and the beginning of MB IIB.
Several types of carinated bowls were discovered, among them red-slipped carinated bowls with a gutter rim (Fig. 4:19, 20) and carinated bowls with a gutter rim but without red slip (Fig. 4:21–24) dating to the end of MB IIA and to MB IIB, as well as an MB II miniature carinated bowl (Fig. 4:25).
Also discovered was a Tell el-Yahudiyeh type bowl (Fig. 4:26; 5). The outside of the bowl bears a burnished pale red slip, which was then decorated with lateral grooves and drop-like punctures between them that were filled with a chalky substance. The inside of the bowl was burnished. A petrographic analysis revealed that the vessel was locally produced (Shapiro, below). No parallel was found for this bowl, although a bowl fragment decorated in similar fashion was discovered in Dothan’s excavations, where it was identified as a fragment of a juglet and was dated according to similar vessels to MB IIA.
A miniature bowl with an incurved rim (Fig. 4:27) was discovered; this type has been dated to the MB IIA as well as to the MB IIC.
Kraters. Two fragments were found: an open krater with a broad ledge rim (Fig. 4:28) that dates to the transition phase between MB IIA and MB IIB, and an MB IIA krater with a thick flaring rim (Fig. 4:29).
Cooking Pot. Two cooking pots were discovered: one with a folded rim (Fig. 4:30), which dates to MB IIA–B, and another with a thickened rim (Fig. 4:31), which dates to MB IIA.
Jars. Among the jars discovered is one with a flared rim (Fig. 4:32), which dates to MBIIA, a jar with a folded and everted rim (Fig. 4:33) of a type indicative of an MB IIA date and a red-slipped jar with a thickened rim (Fig. 4:34).
Juglets. Among these vessels were an MB IIA–IIB juglet with an upright gutter rim (Fig. 4:35), a juglet of similar date with a thickened and everted rim (Fig. 4:36), a juglet with an everted rim and a handle drawn to the rim dating to the MB IIA (Fig. 4:37), and a red-slipped juglet with an upright rim and a handle drawn to the rim (Fig. 4:38).
Chalice. A fragment of a cylindrical chalice was discovered. It has a rounded shoulder and square fenestrations and is decorated with a rope ornamentation (Fig. 6:1); similar types were discovered in assemblages occurring in a cultic contexts throughout the MB II. Also discovered was a fragment of a vessel adorned with an applied rope decoration which was probably part of another chalice (Fig. 6:2).
Miniature Goblets. Some of the miniature goblets might be elements from seven-cupped bowls. A miniature goblet with a curved body had severance marks on its base (Fig. 6: 3). Also found was a fragment of a body and base of a miniature goblet that has a round body (Fig. 6:4). Both date to MB II–III. In addition, MB I–II miniature bell-shaped goblets were discovered (Fig. 6:5–8).
Animal Figurine. A body fragment of an unidentified animal figurine was discovered (Fig. 6:9).
Seven-Cupped Bowl. Part of a round seven-cupped bowl (Fig. 6:10) comprising five and one half identical goblets was discovered. The bowl that served as the base of the vessel was not preserved. The contents of the vessel were sent for analysis.
This ceramic assemblage, characteristic of settlements of the MB IIA and early MB IIB periods, were found overlaying clean beach sand. It seems that Stratum II is the continuation of Stratum VI in Dothan’s excavation. In Stratum I a kurkar surface was discovered in which an assemblage of cultic vessels was found that included seven-cupped bowls, miniature goblets — some of which are probably fragments of seven-cupped bowls, a fragment of a chalice and a fragment of an animal figurine. Stratum I is the southern continuation of Stratum V in Dothan’s excavations. The importance of this excavation lies in the pronounced difference between the two Strata. Whereas Stratum I revealed a cultic assemblage that belonged to a temple, no signs of cultic activity were found Stratum II.
Petrographic Examination of the Tell el-Yehudiyeh Bowl
A petrographic Examination was conducted on the Tell el-Yehudiyeh bowl fragment found during the excavation (Figs. 4:26; 5). An examination under a binocular microscope revealed that the bowl's outer surface was treated with a ferruginous slip and burnished. It was then decorated with alternating rows of small drop-shape notches and fine grooves, typical of Tell el-Yehudiyeh ware, that were filled with chalky material. The inside of the bowl was slightly burnished, but bears no signs of slip.
A further examination revealed that matrix of the bowl is calcareous marl, which contains foraminifers and their debris, a small quantity (~2%) of silty quartz and sporadic silty plagioclase and zircon. The best preserved foraminifers were identified as Subbotina and Parasubbotina. The non-plastics inclusions comprise c. 15% of the volume of the sherd. They include mostly round and rounded chalk fragments (0.4–1.0 mm; Fig. 7), some with traces of biogenic origin; smaller quantities (c. 5 times lesser than the chalk) of rounded to angular quartz grains (0.1–0.3 mm); and sporadic fragments of opaque, black dots of ferruginous material and a few fragments of fossiliferous aquatic shells.
According to the optical properties of the clay and the calcareous materials, it seems that the bowl was fired at a relatively low temperature, of 650–700ºC, for a short firing time and in a reducing atmosphere. As a result, the sherd remained very soft (it can be grooved with a fingernail) and the ferruginous slip turned into a very dark grayish brown color (Munsell 10 YR 3/2–2/2). The combination of the dark brown color and the white decoration give the bowl its characteristic Tell el-Yehudiye ware appearance.
The raw material used for preparing the bowl comes from the Taqiye-formation marl, which was contaminated with Ghareb chalk (correlative to the Biriya formation in Galilee) from the Pliocene. Outcrops of both can be found at a distance of 5–10 km from the site along Nah
et (Sneh 2004
: Sheet 1–IV, Nahariyya). It is thus clear that the bowl was locally made. Similar conclusions were arrived at in previous studies of Tell el-Yehudiye wares from other sites (Kaplan 1980
, Harbottle and Sayre 1984
; Cohen-Weinberger 2008
; Cohen-Weinberger 2011
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Cohen-Weinberger A. 2011. A Provenance of Two Tell el-Yehudiyeh Vessels and other Middle Bronze Age IIA Pottery Types from Tel Burga. ‘Atiqot 68:99–105.
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