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Decorated Philistine Pottery

An archaeological and archaeometric study

David Ben-Shlomo


This study concentrates on Philistine decorated pottery, its production centres and trade patterns. These issues are examined by both archaeological and archaeometric approaches. Over recent years, a considerable amount of data has been accumulated on Philistine sites, especially from the excavations at Tel Miqne-Ekron, and the new excavations at Ashkelon and Tell es-Safi. Thus, although a vast literature already exists on the Philistines, their material culture and related issues, there has been very little study that systematically combines all this data. This work examines the Iron Age Philistine material culture in general and the Philistine pottery in particular, from a holistic approach. The Philistine phenomenon is defined and described in Part 1 from its various aspects: the historical background, the archaeological evidence and its social and ethnic aspects. Part 2 describes and discusses the updated archaeological evidence of pottery production and workshops in the southern Levant during the end of the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Ethnographic research is utilized to describe the pottery production sequence, technological aspects and modes of production and distribution of pottery. As this work is a provenance study of a geographically andgeologically limited area a methodological discussion was called for presented in Part 3. In Part 4 the archaeometric results are presented. Part 5 combines the archaeological and archaeometric results and evaluates them from a broader cultural, technological and historical perspectives.