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Re: [ANE-2] Tell el-Mazar question

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  • Peter van der Veen
    Dear Jeff (and also Thomas L. Thompson who replied to this), I just got back from London (BM and Petrie s) last night. Unfortunately the situation is slightly
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 29, 2006
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      Dear Jeff (and also Thomas L. Thompson who replied to this),

      I just got back from London (BM and Petrie's) last night.

      Unfortunately the situation is slightly more complicated than that. I am afraid it is not related to the question how to date the Lachish Stratum III horizon (so to say) at all, but simply it is related to the problem of not knowing too well which types of pottery were contemporarily produced to the west and the east of the Jordan river. Fortunately some colleagues, including Oded Lpschits, have compared the some of this material from time to time.

      What we do find on Khair Yassine's plate (as cited previously) is one cooking pot type which is completely different from those of the 'Lachish III Horizon' (i.e. pre-701 BC) and completely similar to those found in the 'Lachish Str. II Horizon) with many parallels at Judahite sites e.g. City of David Str. 10, Tel Arad VII-VI, Lachish Str. II, Tel Goren Str. V etc. etc. I disagree (with Thomas) that 8th-7th cent. pottery is very similar.

      Surely some is, but we do have 'type fossils' which are representative of both Lachish III and Lachish II horizons as was noted long ago my M. Aharoni and Y. Aharoni and has been studied in great depth by excellent pottery specialists like late Orna Zimhoni, Lily Singer-Avitz, Liora Freud, whom I all respect a lot for their excellent work. The closed cooking pot (i.e. with two loop handles and single pronounced ridge protruding at the base of the neck, to use Singer-Avitz's words on Tell Arad pottery in TA 29:1 (2002) p. 141, CP 10 and 'It was very common in Judah at the end of the Iron Age' and '...is found only in Strata VII and VI ...' (at Tel Arad as is the case for all the other late Iron Age IIC sites too), referred to is such a 'type fossil' which can be so easily distinguished.

      The same is true for the wide bellied store jar (or better the 'bag shaped body, sloping shoulder and rounded base' as per Singer Avitz's description in the same volume, and, whereas it is found at Arad VII and VI 'It does not appear in Strata X-VIII'(second half of the 8th cent. BC), idem p. 145 SJ 7).

      There can be no doubt that these are late Iron Age types so common around 600 BC and absent before 701 BC.

      So back to my original problem: if indeed these pieces stem from Stratum V (and Wolfgang and Zwickel checked the preliminary plans of the relevant area just two days ago and were not totally sure if the excavator got it all right - but admittedly we only looked at the plans very briefly), then Str. V cannot be dated to pre-701 BC (as Yassine prefers) or even to the early 7th cent. BC.

      So I maintain that there is a serious chronological problem here, that needs to be looked at again.

      Hopefully I have explained my query a bit better now.

      Best wishes
      Peter
      -------- Original-Nachricht --------
      Datum: Wed, 27 Sep 2006 10:39:23 -0500
      Von: JEFFREY A BLAKELY <jblakely@...>
      An: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      Betreff: Re: [ANE-2] Tell el-Mazar question

      > Dear Peter,
      > Jim Sauer was quite influential on all archaeologists working in Jordan in
      > the 1970s. He was especially influential in dating pottery. Jim accepted
      > the idea that Lachish III was 597/96, and it was not until the mid-1980s
      > that he became open to the 701 possibility. Jim worked with Khair in Jordan
      > and then in the early 1980s Khair was a Fellow at Penn, where Jim still
      > espoused the 597/6 date. It would be my guess that the resolution to your
      > dating question can be found in that relationship and that history.
      > Best wishes,
      > Jeff Blakely
      >
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: Peter van der Veen <van_der_Veen@...>
      > Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2006 9:57 am
      > Subject: [ANE-2] Tell el-Mazar question
      > To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      >
      > > Dear colleagues,
      > >
      > > Is any of you familiar with the archaeology of Tall al-Mazar (Tell
      > > el-Mazar) in Jordan, especially so with its Iron Age archaeology?
      > > By reading the works of its excavator Khair Yassine I note over
      > > and over again that he dates Str. V to the late 8th cent. BC and
      > > its destruction to 701 BC (i.e. the Sennacherib destruction). This
      > > seems very strange to me.
      > >
      > > Some of the pottery shown e.g. in his 'Tell el Mazar, Field 1
      > > Preliminary Report of Area G, H, L and M: the summit', Pl. XII,
      > > see in: Yassine, Archaeology of Jordan, 1988 (the same is repeated
      > > in the Oxford Enc. of Archaeology in the Near East, 1997), is
      > > precisely that known for instance from Iron Age IIC Judahite sites
      > > around 600 BC. Note the closed cooking pot No. 2 with single ridge
      > > (not multiple ridges as are so common for the pre-701 BC date),
      > > and the wide bellied store jar with two handles No. 3 can be found
      > > e.g. at City of David 10B, Lachish Str. II, Tel Arad Str. VI etc.
      > >
      > > I am puzzled. It almost seems that Khassine's date is out by a
      > > century.
      > >
      > > If so Str. IV, III and II must be redated to ca. 600-400 BC
      > > instead of 700-400 BC as previously suggested.
      > >
      > > Any ideas?
      > >
      > > Thanks in advance,
      > >
      > > Peter van der Veen PhD
      > > Postdoctoral studies Joh. Gutenberg University,
      > > Trinity College Bristol
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
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