Reading Pottery
(Click each image for a larger view.) 

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Today's photo tour looks at the importance of pottery  excavated at this site.

According to our pottery specialist,
Martha Risser

pottery sherds are important because they give us information about many facets of the site.  Studies of pottery  also help us understand many aspects of culture which
include settlement patterns, linguistics, socio-political organization, and
information/exchange networks.  Because styles in pottery change over time,
we can also use pottery for dating the strata.  Pottery from foreign lands is especially useful because it provides information about trade. We "read" pottery in order to learn about these many facets of ancient civilizations.

This is a fragment of a Nabetean bowl.  The Nabateans were an ancient Arabian group. They lived in the Negev desert and controlled important trade routes between the Nile and the Persian Gulf. 
People today admire the pottery produced by the Nabateans during the Hellenistic period.



This is the base of a juglet, called an "oinochoe," imported
from Greece in the Persian Period or perhaps the Early Hellenistic Period, and used as tableware.

This stump of a handle was once part of a Persian Period
basket-handled amphora, used to transport and store olive oil, wine, or food.

This is the rim of a krater, a large bowl used especially for
mixing wine and water. Dating to the Iron Age, this particular piece is of
a type associated with the Philistines. If you look closely, you may be
able to see the distinctive painted spirals. 

 Preserving the rim and shoulder of an amphora, this sherd is among
the latest found at the site. Petrie suggested that the latest
occupation dated to the first century C.E., to the time of Vespasian,
but here you see one of many sherds datable to the 3rd or 4th
century C.E., showing that the site was in use at a later time than
previously thought. 

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