Settlement contexts

At Hazor, there are nineteen situations where Mycenaean pottery can be related to specific settlement structures, which are listed in Table IV, in the tables section of this book. Of most of these find complexes, especially those in area A, too little is known to analyse them sufficiently. The eight situations which will be discussed here are all situated on the lower tell.

As in the whole of area F, the stratum related to LB IIB in house 8039 essentially represents a rebuilding and reuse of structures dating to LB IIA.50 In many instances it was impossible to distinguish the two strata and the Mycenaean vessels from area F have all been assigned to LB II in general

House 8039 could be entered either from the north-west or from the south-east (Fig. 6.2). Near the north-western entrance was the small room 8030, which has been interpreted as a storeroom and contained a fragment of a LH IIIB Zygouries-type kylix (cat. no. 36: Fig. 6.3), associated with a local bowl,

46 No doubt this is at least partly due to the fact that vessels from tombs are, in general, more complete than finds from settlement levels.

47 The sherd of doubtful Mycenaean manufacture (cat.

no. 45) was found in the courtyard of the stratum 2

temple in area H and has been assigned a 'settlement'

context. If the fragment is indeed Mycenaean, it may be another example of a patterned sherd from a reli-

gious context, even though found quite far from the actual temple.

48 This means that the majority of the dinner vessels had a patterned decoration, while the majority of the storage pots were decorated with lines only.

49 Yadin et al. 1960, 134-136; Daviau 1993, 244-248; Foucault-Forest 1996, 71-72.

50 Yadin et al. 1960, 128-129.

Hula Girl Paint Shaker Parts
Fig. 6.2 Mycenaean pottery in area F (LBII stratum)

a pithos, a jar and two jugs. South of courtyard 8042, a small passageway (8036) with a silo (8040) in its south-eastern corner led to courtyard 8037. In this passageway, near the silo, a LH IIIB stirrup jar (cat. no. 32) was found. The top of a Mycenaean stirrup jar (cat. no. 34), two local pithoi and a clay button were discovered in courtyard 8037.51 To the south-east, the largest courtyard (8039/8017) of the structure was located. Below this courtyard, tomb 8065 was situated, in which a LH IIIA2 piriform jar (cat. no. 29) was found. The stratigraphy of the house indicates that tomb 8065 does not belong to the stratum 1 house, but to an earlier structure.52 From the central courtyard room 8015 could be entered, where a LH IIIB globular stirrup jar (cat. no. 35) was found,53 in association with a limestone disk, local jugs and a local stemmed cup. This inventory suggests that room 8015 served for habitation.

The Mycenaean pottery is rather widely dispersed through this house: a single Mycenaean find was

Daviau (1993, 247) suspects that this was a storeroom. Her statistical analysis of only four finds, however, cannot be considered valid.

Yadin et al. 1960, 141-142. The LH IIIA2 date of the Mycenaean piriform jar does not conflict with this reasoning, if the house was built late during LB IIA. The stirrup jar was found at the same level as the top of the foundation wall. Yadin suspected that this was a floor level of LB IIB. Immanuel Dunayevsky, however, suggested that the foundation wall was deeper here than elsewhere because of the sloping of the terrain and that the stirrup jar should belong to LB IIA; see the discussion in Yadin et al. 1960, 144.

Fig. 6.3 Stem of Mycenaean kylix (cat. no. 36) from room 8030 — After Yadin et al. 1960, plate 148: no. 7

made in four rooms. The associations of the Mycenaean pottery in this house are habitation and storage. The storage associations for the Mycenaean kylix, which has a patterned decoration (Fig. 6.3), are somewhat surprising, as I concluded above that Mycenaean open vessels at Hazor were mainly reserved for activities of a special nature. This particular kylix may have been in storage for such an occasion. In any case, the evidence points to the Mycenaean pottery being an integral part of the everyday life in the building.

Area F: house 8068 (LB II)54

The northern part of house 8068 was situated on a slope and was heavily damaged by ploughing and erosion. The house was entered from the south-west (Fig. 6.2). A vestibule, (8025) which was shared with house 8039 and possessed an oven, gave entrance to room 8024, in which two LH IIIB lentoid flasks (cat. nos. 31, 33) were found. They were associated with two local bowls, two jugs, a pithos and a basalt mortar. The room has been interpreted as an area for food preparation and storage.

Because of the damage to the northern part of house 8068, it is difficult to asses the distribution of the Mycenaean pottery in this house. In comparison with house 8039, it may be of interest that two Mycenaean vessels were found together in a room. Both vessels are lentoid flasks, a type absent in the adjacent house. The two Mycenaean flasks are associated with items for food preparation and storage. We can conclude from this that they served in the daily life of the inhabitants of this house.

Area F: house 8139 (LB II)55

House 8139 was located on the lowest terrace of the area and was only partially excavated, as a result of which the entrance to the building cannot be reconstructed (Fig. 6.2). A courtyard was discovered (8139), in which a large fragment of a Mycenaean female figurine (cat. no. 1005) was found, in association with a bronze arrow-head. Other rooms yielded several vessels of unusually large dimensions. In room 8137, a LH IIIB lentoid flask (cat. no. 30) was discovered in association with a basalt bowl. From this room it was only a short distance to the dromos of rock-cut tomb 8144-8145, which yielded a total of fourteen Mycenaean vessels. The relationship between building 8139 and this tomb is un-

54 Yadin et al. 1960, 136-138; Daviau 1993, 248; Fou- 55 Yadin et al. 1960, 140-141; Daviau 1993, 249.

cault-Forest 1996, 72.

clear, but both were in use at the same time.

The inventory of this house is atypical for the domestic structures at Hazor. It may be that the structure was inhabited by members of a specific social group, or that it served special functions, possibly to do with the nearby tomb. The presence of Mycenaean pottery in this structure shows that it was suitable to be used in such atypical circumstances. The fact that a Mycenaean figurine was found in the central courtyard of this atypical building may indicate that such objects possessed a special significance at Hazor.

Area H: temple56

A temple was first built in area H during MB II. The succeeding structure of the LB I period (Fig. 6.4A) possessed a courtyard, which sloped upward to the south-east. An elaborate propylaeum divided the square in two halves, thus creating a temenos in front of the temple which included several cult installations. Outside the propylaeum, where the pebbles of the floor of the courtyard were laid out in a decorative fashion, the LH IIB-LH IIIA1 cup (cat. no. 45) was found of which the Mycenaean origin

56 Yadin 1972, 75-95; Yadin et al. 1989, 228, 240-248, 257-264; Ben-Tor et al. 1997, 87-89.






  1. 6.5 Basalt krater with Aegean-type spiral from temple H, stratum 1A — After Yadin et al. 1961, plate 122: no. 4.
  2. 6.5 Basalt krater with Aegean-type spiral from temple H, stratum 1A — After Yadin et al. 1961, plate 122: no. 4.

is uncertain. The only other object reported from the same area (locus 2174) is a ceramic lamp.

A new temple was built during phase 1B (Fig. 6.4B). It followed roughly the same plan as its predecessor, but an elaborate entrance hall (room 2128) was added. Two basalt pillar bases were discovered in the centre of the main hall of the temple, between which there was a deep pit. Outside the pit fragments of a Mycenaean bowl (cat. no. 46) were found, associated with local bowls and juglets, two ceramic anthropomorphic local figurines and a number of beads.

The LB IIB temple was virtually the same building as its predecessor, reconstructed with several changes and additions after a destruction (Fig. 6.4C). A long installation consisting of a concave basalt block stood in the south-western part of the large room 2115, with a square basalt slab on top of it. A Mycenaean bovine figurine (cat. no. 1003) was found in the vicinity of a basalt table in the northeastern part of the same room, in association with two engraved plaques made of bone. Nearby, on the threshold of doorway 2114, a Mycenaean stemmed cup (cat. no. 47) and a stone bead were discovered. In the main cult room of the temple a great number of cult objects were discovered, among which was a basalt krater with a 'Mycenaean-style' running spiral carved on its upper part (Fig. 6.5).

The religious associations of the Mycenaean pottery in the LB II temples are evident, but this is not the case for the one-handled cup found quite far away from the LB I structure - if it actually is Mycenaean. The presence of the Mycenaean bowl in the central cult room of LB IIA, together with some other ceremonial objects, suggest that the vessel served in the ceremonies that took place in the room. The same may be said of the Mycenaean finds from LB IIB. Even though these do not come from the main cult room, the presence of altar-like structures suggests that ceremonies were conducted in room 2115 as well. The fact that the Mycenaean dinner vessels and the figurine were considered suitable to serve in the temple sheds light on the appreciation of such imported ceramics at Hazor. In this respect, it is interesting to note that other imports - Syrian cylinder seals and an Egyptian scarab-have been found in the temples as well.

Fig. 6.6 Mycenaean pottery in area C (LBIIA)

In area C, the buildings of LB IIA (stratum 1B) can be clearly distinguished from those of stratum 2, which were uncovered only in the south-eastern part. In contrast, only in the western part could LB IIA and IIB levels be distinguished. All Mycenaean pottery in area C was said to derive from the latest level of the LB IIA period.58 House 6063 consists of central court 6215, around which five rooms were situated (Fig. 6.6). The entrance from street 6045/6129 gave access to room 6063, where a variety of installations indicated a industrial activities and food processing. A Mycenaean straight-sided al-abastron (cat. no. 1) and a Mycenaean piriform jar (cat. no. 2) were discovered in this room, in association with a pictorially decorated local storage jar, a pithos, a narrow-necked jar, three kraters, a cup, a bone whorl and a basalt grinder.

Since habitation rooms have not been identified in this house and there are no signs of an upper storey, the structure appears to have been designated exclusively to storage and manufacturing activities. Two potter's wheels and a large quantity of ceramics found in the house has led to the suggestion

57 Yadin et al. 1958, 76-77; Yadin 1972, 33-34; Daviau 58 Yadin et al. 1960, 101.

1993, 228-235; Foucault-Forest 1996, 69-70.

that pottery production was the most important activity; however it must be stressed that neither a kiln, nor wasters or misfirings have been reported from area C.59 The two Mycenaean vessels from house 6063 were found together in the same room. This suggests that these storage vessels were associated specifically with the industrial activities that were conducted there.

Area C: house 6225 (fig 6.6)60

In the second phase of LB IIA house 6225 was separated from house 6063 to the south-east. The former has not been fully excavated, but extended further to the north-west. From entrance 6248, room 6226 was entered, in which a Mycenaean straight-sided alabastron (cat. no. 13) was found in association with local bowls, a baking tray and a stone disc.61 From here one could go to the central courtyard 6225, where a large variety of objects was found pertaining to food preparation and pottery production: apart from a Mycenaean straight-sided alabastron (cat. no. 14), two potter's wheels, a clay mask, a loom weight, a basalt bowl and mortar, a local krater, a cooking pot and a narrow-necked jar. North of this courtyard were two rooms (6262 and 6241) that were only partly excavated and from which hardly any finds have been reported. Two rooms to the east (6224 and 6236) also belonged to this house.

As house 6225 has not been completely excavated, it is difficult to discuss the internal distribution of the Mycenaean vessels. It may be noted that the two vessels were not found together, but in separate, albeit communicating, rooms. This suggests that the Mycenaean vessels were part of the daily activities in the house: food preparation and the activities of artisans.

South of street 6129 is a small square building, which was entered from the public courtyard (6116) in front of shrine 6136 (Fig. 6.6). The entrance faced the shrine opposite the courtyard, which has led to the suggestion that both buildings were functionally related. A Mycenaean straight-sided alabastron (cat. no. 15) was found in this room 6188, in association with two hand-made local bowls. The peculiar architecture of this structure and the presence of several silos and stone shelves have led to its interpretation as a building for storage activities.

It is not uncommon for Bronze Age sanctuaries in the Levant to have an associated storeroom. The location of the entrance of house 6061 directly opposite the entrance of the shrine, as well as the presence of an Egyptian scarab may suggest a relation between the two buildings. If building 6061 indeed possessed religious associations, it may be of importance to note that the Mycenaean alabastron was found in a storage room and not directly related to the ceremonies conducted in the shrine.

area D: cistern 901763

59 Possible additional evidence for pottery production in area C comes from house 6211 in the north-east, where ceramic vessels were found in a large variety and sometimes stacked in heaps, see Yadin 1972, 36. The pottery should properly be assigned to stratum 1A, but the house itself was built during the 1B phase.

60 Yadin et al. 1960, 101-103; Yadin 1972, 35; Daviau

1993, 235-237; Foucault-Forest 1996, 69.

61 It is possible that none of these finds were found on the floor itself, as Yadin (et al. 1960, 102) reports this room as empty, although the locus is mentioned in the accompanying plates; see Yadin et al. 1960 Plates 117 nos. 3, 29; 123 nos. 10, 13.

62 Yadin et al. 1958, 78; 1960, 98; Daviau 1993, 241; Foucault-Forest 1996, 70.

In area D four cisterns and a number of caves were discovered which had been hewn out the rock during the Middle Bronze II period. All of the cisterns were reused during the Late Bronze Age. In the south-west, cistern 9027 was reused in the Late Bronze II period as a tomb; four Mycenaean vessels (cat. nos. 8-11) have been found in it. In the northern part, two LB II kilns point to industrial activities during that period.64 Just south-east of these kilns a cistern (9017) may be associated with the activities around the kilns. A large amount of pottery was found in cistern 9017, among which local bowls formed the largest group. In addition, the cistern contained local kraters, cooking pots, jugs and juglets, pithoi, lamps and a number of decorated vessels. A zoomorphic vessel of local manufacture was also found, just as two Cypriot bowls, one of White Slip II ware, the other of Base Ring fabric. A Mycenaean straight-sided alabastron (cat. no. 7) and a Mycenaean stemmed cup (cat. no. 6) were also found in cistern 9017.

Cistern 9017 has been interpreted as a kind of silo. This seems unlikely, because most of the ceramics found in it were dinner vessels.65 An interpretation of the cistern as a refuse pit seems more plausible. The fact that the Mycenaean vessels, as well as those of Cypriot origin, were discarded in the same manner as the local pottery could indicate that they were not regarded as different. However, the local ceramic repertoire from cistern 9017 is particularly varied and contains some unusual shapes and decorations. The Mycenaean pottery found here, among which a patterned kylix, is part of an atypical assemblage, which may have been used in specific circumstances. The kilns in the vicinity of the cistern point to the possibility that these circumstances were somehow related to industrial production.

The main purpose of this section was to review if a differentiation according to vessel type can be made with regard to the use of Mycenaean pottery among the population of Hazor. In this respect it is interesting to note that there is a difference between areas C and F in the presence of Mycenaean ceramic vessel types. Apart from the kylix found in house 8039 and the figurine in house 8139, all Mycenaean vessels from area F are narrow-mouthed container jars: three stirrup jars and three lentoid flasks. In contrast, all Mycenaean pots from area C are wide-mouthed storage vessels: four straight-sided alabastra and a piriform jar. It is unlikely that this spatial difference is caused by a local geographical phenomenon, since both types of vessels have been found in area D,66 while stirrup jars have been found in areas B and BA67 and area A produced two alabastra.68 Rather we should relate this spatial variation to the different functions of these areas in the society of Hazor. The Mycenaean vessels in area C all occur in structures which have yielded ample evidence for craft manufacture and associated storage.69 In area D, where a straight-sided alabastron was found in pit 9017, there were likewise indications of industrial activities. In the houses in area C which can be classified primarily as habitation structures (houses 6106, 6249), Mycenaean pottery has not been found.70 It seems, therefore, that

63 Yadin et al. 1958, 109-110, 115-116, 118, 127-140.

64 Yadin et al. (1958, 116) think that the southern kiln (9004) was used for pottery manufacture, while the northern kiln was for metals. Unfortunately, no finds were associated with these installations.

65 The imports in the cistern and the fact that most of the local vessels were labelled as 'reused' (Yadin et al. 1958,

118) make it unlikely that products from the nearby kiln were stored here.

66 Stirrup jar of cat. no. 4 and straight-sided alabastron of cat. no. 7

67 Cat. nos. 43 and 44 respectively

68 Cat. no. 39 (LH IIIA2-LH IIIB) and cat. no. 42 (LH IIB)

69 Only for building 6061 is this not the case. However, this house is situated among industrial structures and, in any case, its possible religious associations sets it apart from the other structure in areas F and C.

Mycenaean wide-mouthed containers at Hazor were mainly associated with manufacturing activities, while narrow-mouthed storage vessels were primarily appreciated for their use in habitation areas. The cause of this variation is likely to be related to differences in the contents of these vessel types.

The differences in the spatial and contextual distribution of Mycenaean dinner and storage vessels have already been commented upon. The stemmed cup with patterned decoration which has been found in area D in cistern 9107 can be considered as additional evidence that such vases were endowed with a special significance at Hazor, since it was part of an atypical ceramic repertoire. The only Mycenaean open vessel which has been found in a regular domestic context is the kylix from house 8039. In area D a stemmed cup (cat. no. 5) has been found in close proximity to a Mycenaean female figurine (cat. 1001).71 Otherwise, Mycenaean figurines have been found only in a-typical circumstances, namely in house 8139 and in the LB IIB temple in area H. This indicates that Mycenaean figurines were also endowed with a special significance at Hazor.

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