The Cave of Sherds and Warehouse of Pottery (UPDATED)

19 05 2011

I went back to the Department of Antiquities of Jordan’s warehouse today, to write up a complete inventory of all the Safut material that I am requesting be moved to ACOR.  This inventory is the last step before the moving process can begin.  I had to catalog and take pictures of all whole vessels (or mostly whole) and tally the number of crates for each field season.  On my original visit a department worker had told me there were 100 crates.  When I went down to look I estimated 60-70 crates…apparently I missed a section because there are actually 115 crates of pottery.  These crates cover 9 seasons as I have all of the 2001 material at Andrews.  In one of the rooms in the warehouse there were 5 shelves of Safut pottery totaling 32 vessels that I had to photograph.  This part was exciting because there were some really nice forms.  A bit of a daunting task in front of me, but one that will make my dissertation that much better.  I leave you with a few pictures of the pottery.

UPDATE:  My Dad requested I say a bit about each of the vessels.  So here we go.

The above form is  a bowl with ledge handles.  Ledge handles are prevalent in the Early Bronze Age and then make a comeback in the late Iron Age.  This bowl is from the Iron Age IIC (7th-6th centuries BCE) and was found in a room of what I am tentatively calling a regional administrative complex.

This bowl is very high quality.  It has a nice red slip and wheel burnish and black painted stripes.  It is not exactly Ammonite ware (which tends to also have white paint) but it is close.  A form that is typical of the late Iron Age in this area.  It was found in a room in the casemate wall around the ancient city.

This form is called a pilgrim flask.  It is basically a large jug, but one specifically used for carry liquids (usually water).  It was constructed in a way that made it easy to attached to something (person, donkey, etc) via a rope.  It also dates late in the Iron Age.

This last vessel is a late Iron Age cooking pot. It was excavated in 1983, but there was no indication as to where it was from on the site.

I’m sure you have noticed a trend here.  All of these vessels date to the late Iron Age.  This period is the most substantial at Safut where it was likely an Ammonite administrative center for the Baq’ah Valley, essentially the northern equivalent to Tall al Umayri to the south.  There are a few, whole or mostly whole vessels from the Late Bronze II and the Iron Age I but I have not found them yet.

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