Dissertation Weekly #12

19 07 2012

For this installment I am moving on to my Late Bronze chapter, which I rewrote after going through all of the pottery that I scanned while in Jordan.  I have already discussed a possible floor level in B4 and the sanctuary in B5, which are the two main Late Bronze phases on the site.  Today I want to write briefly about pottery.  A complete undecorated chalice was found in association with the metal figurine in B5, as I mentioned in a dissertation weekly from last summer.  Here is the drawing of the chalice:

Chalice from the LB sanctuary in B5

The brief mention of the chalice in B5 is an introduction into the sentence for this week:

There are two more unique forms represented, two sherds from a painted chalice and a Cypriote White Slip II milk bowl sherd.

These sherds come from D2, which is a square excavated on the southern perimeter of the tell in an attempt to identify a supposed glacis.  Despite the lack of a glacis much high quality fineware from the Middle Bronze Age and the Late Bronze Age were found here (perhaps indicating important remains from these periods further upslope below the Iron II remains).  This second chalice is much higher quality than the one in the LBII sanctuary, with bichrome paint and light slip.  It has direct parallels in the Late Bronze burial caves found by Dr. Pat McGovern as part of the Baq‘ah Valley Project.  The other interesting find from this square is the piece of a Cypriot milk bowl, evidence of the importance of Safut in the local trade network.  The form is clearly an import and not a locally made imitation and belongs to the White Slip II group that dates in Cyprus from the Late Cypriote IB2-IIA1 (LBIC-LBIIB in Jordan, 14-13th centuries BCE).

Chalice sherd from D2

Color image of the chalice from a 3D scan

Cypriote Milk Bowl from D2

Dissertation Weekly #9

10 06 2011

This week I am returning to my Late Bronze Chapter.  This past week I have been busy scanning pottery and spent a couple of days at Jalul (blog post soon), so there has been no writing.  I think I can manage a few more sentences over the coming weeks from the chapters I have already written, but the well might run dry at some point as I focus on scanning 115 crates of pottery.

Both of these elevations are between 50 and 60 cms higher than the level of floor B4.19 (924.73) or the plaster (B4.21) located on top of it found in the northeast corner (924.85).[1]

[1] Although there is a question as to the accuracy of these elevations because in 1983 it is recorded that locus 25, a small ashy layer in the northeast corner of the square, abuts the foundation of walls 7 and 8 and its elevation is 923.95 (however in the weekly summary locus 21, this plaster surface (locus 25) on top of locus 19 is described as being “below the level of the walls” Ditchfield 1983).  The relation of the floor level 19 is never indicated (the north balk and east balk section drawings seem to show locus 19 as being below the foundation level of walls 7 and 8) and it is likely that if this elevation is correct these walls were later and cut into this LB floor layer.

Apologies for the information drop, but I wanted to highlight one of the largest problems with going through old excavations: accuracy.  Here I am discussing a Late Bronze floor level in B4.  This level is more or less in the middle of the square and is surrounded by walls.  My assumption was that the walls dated to the Iron Age II and were not associated with the Late Bronze floor, but I had to check.  The sentence is stating that in 2001 the bottom of these walls were measured at a higher level than the floor, making the walls later.  However, the footnote is explaining how when these loci were originally excavated in 1983 there was a discrepancy within the same notebook regarding the relationship of part of the LB level to the walls.  Just reading that footnote makes my head hurt, and I wrote it.

Dissertation Weekly #7

28 05 2011

We just returned from Lebanon and are trying to get back into our daily routine.  Soon I hope to have a blog post or two on the trip, but for now its time for the weekly dissertation sentence.  Before leaving for Jordan I finished my Late Bronze chapter, so a sentence from it seems appropriate.

Locus 18 is described as a “white hard packed surface” (Peterson 1982: 5).

Despite its simple nature this sentence is of monumental importance.  Locus 18 is a floor with material on top of it dating to the Late Bronze Age II.  This floor is located in B5 and I was able to determine 3 walls that are associated with it, along with objects associated with ritual (including a bronze deity figurine, ceramic chalice, and burnt grain).

I have my first architectural phase!  So, after writing my Middle Bronze and Late Bronze chapters (and currently working on my Iron Age I) chapter I can give a brief summary of the beginning phases at Safut.

  • MBIIC – Phase 1 only pottery
  • LBIIB – Phase 2 sanctuary room in B5
  • 13th-12th century BCE – Phase 3 transitional pottery on floor level in B4
  • Iron Age I – Phase 4 floor level in B6 with associated whole pottery forms

Late Bronze I at Safut

26 11 2008

This period is, so far, only represented by pottery but it is possible that the phasing in area B might allow for one dating to this time period.  Sherds include painted bichrome ware typical of the LB as well as an imported Cypriot milk bowl likely White Slip I (this type can possibly date to the LBII as well).