Funerary contexts

Only three graves from the Late Bronze Age II period have been found in Hazor, all of which contained Mycenaean pottery. In area D, cistern 9027 was intentionally cleared out during the Late Bronze Age and an individual interment of a young woman was placed inside it, surrounded by ce-ramics.72 After depositing the body, the cistern seems to have been intentionally filled with over 3 m of fill. In area F, below courtyard 8039, in a circular depression created by the collapse of an underground hall of the MB II period, an isolated inhumation of an adult male was found (Fig. 6.2).73 Also in area F, just north-west of building 8139, the rock-cut tomb 8144-8145 was discovered (Fig. 6.2).74 An almost vertical shaft was cut out in the rock. From there, the builders of the caves had begun to work in a south-eastern direction (locus 8145), but after encountering a tunnel from the MB period, they had laid out an oval chamber south-west of the vertical shaft (locus 8144). The deposition of the inventory indicated that the cave was used for multiple interments, probably spanning the entire duration of LB IIA.

These three graves are the only ones at Hazor which, on the basis of their pottery, can be related to the Late Bronze Age II. In area F a number of graves from the Late Bronze I period have been discovered.75 None of these tombs yielded Mycenaean pottery, which is in accordance with my conclusion that Mycenaean pottery in this period was not widely available to the inhabitants of Hazor.

The three tombs with Mycenaean pottery each have yielded different amounts (Table 6.10). The grave in cistern 9027 in area D produced four Mycenaean vessels, ranging in date from LH IIIA2 late to LH IIIB2. The fact that vessels from such wide ranging periods were found together in a grave

70 House 6249, see Daviau 1993, 237-238; House 6101, see Daviau 1993, 239.

71 A Mycenaean stirrup jar (cat. no. 1001) was found in the near vicinity as well. The exact find spot of these objects is unclear, but they appear to have been found close to one another; see Yadin et al. 1958, 105, 107.

72 Yadin et al. 1958, 138-140; Of the nearby cistern 9028

only the upper layer was explored, Yadin et al. 1958,

140. Since the uppermost fill of this cistern was similar to that of no. 9027, it is possible that a Late Bronze Age burial is still present below this stratum.

73 Yadin et al. 1960, 141-142.

74 Yadin et al. 1960, 140-141.

75 Yadin 1972, 44-45; Yadin et al. 1989, 156-158. A LB I tomb was also discovered in a MB II drainage channel in area F.


vessel type


catalogue nos.

cistern 9027

amphoroid krater



deep bowl



straight-sided alabastron


8, 9

pit 8065

piriform jar



tomb 8144-8145

shallow cup


16, 17

globular flask, horizontal


21, 22, 23

lentoid flask



stirrup jar


24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 38

rounded alabastron



straight-sided alabastron


Table 6.10

with a single interment indicates that the alabastron dated to LH IIIA2 late (cat. no. 8) must have been at least half a century old at the time of its deposition. This pot had either been in use for a long time at Hazor or had circulated a long time before reaching the city.

In area F, tomb 8065 yielded only one LH IIIA2 piriform jar (cat. no. 29). The funerary chamber 8144-8145 possessed a total of fourteen Mycenaean vessels (cat. nos. 16-28, 38), ranging in date from LH IIIA2 to LH IIIB. The concentration of Mycenaean vessels in tomb 8144-8145 may, at least partly, be explained by its long use.76 Whereas the two other graves contained only single bodies, funerary cellar 8144-8145 was used for multiple interments. However, tomb 8144-8145 yielded a funerary inventory which was particularly varied in finds, also in comparison with settlement contexts.77 Although this tomb cannot really be compared to any other at Hazor, the quantity of Mycenaean pottery seems to be one aspect of burial practices that involved a number of special goods.

In terms of Mycenaean vessel types, the Mycenaean pottery from funerary contexts have yielded a varied repertoire (Table 6.10). Moreover, dinner vessels were present in both tombs with more than one Mycenaean pot, suggesting that it was not unusual to include such vases in funerary ceremonies. In addition, there are a number of pot shapes from the graves, which have not been found elsewhere on the site. This is the case for the amphoroid krater and the deep bowl from cistern 9027, as well as for the shallow cups and globular flasks from tomb 8144-8145.78 This suggests that these ceramic types were specifically chosen to be used in funerary ceremonies. However, none of the vessel types unique to Hazor occur in more than one tomb. In fact, only straight-sided alabastra, a type frequent in settlement contexts as well, are present in more than one funerary context. The low number of Late Bronze Age tombs at Hazor prevents any statement on the popularity of specific vessel types in funerary contexts. The most frequent vessel type in graves was the stirrup jar, of which six specimens occurred in funerary cave 8144-8145.

Because of the low number of burials at Hazor from the LB II period, it is difficult to analyse these

76 Yadin et al. (1960, 141) show that the funerary cellar 78 Of seven Mycenaean finds (cat. nos. 3, 41, 48-52) the was used during the whole LB IIA period. vessel type is unknown. It is possible that one of these

77 In particular, this tomb contained a large number of finds are from vessel types otherwise known only from imports and metal vessels, see Yadin et al. 1960, 145- tombs.


three funerary cellars in terms of the social status of the deceased. It is clear that the inventory of tomb 8144-8145 was richer than that of the two other graves. The inventories of the other two graves consisted exclusively of pottery.79

Even though the larger quantity of finds in funerary cave 8144-8145 may be related to the longer use of this tomb, the presence of a varied repertoire of metal, bone and stone objects indicates that the proprietors of this tomb expressed a greater material wealth in their funerary ceremony. This may also be indicated by the fact that this tomb was specially created for Late Bronze Age II burial ceremonies, while the other two burials took place in existing structures: a MB II cistern in the case of grave 9027 and a depression in the case of grave 9065. In terms of effort expenditure, this points to a higher status of the owners of tomb 8144-8145.80 Apart from the Mycenaean pottery, all three burials contained imports from other areas: a White Slip II bowl (Cyprus) in the case of cistern 9027, three Base Ring jugs (Cyprus) in the case of burial 8065, and three scarabs (Egypt), as well as Base Ring and White Slip vessels (Cyprus) for cave 8144-8145. This suggests that imports, among which was Mycenaean pottery, played a role in strategies of funerary display.

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