Social groups to be associated with mycenaean pottery

The evidence from Ugarit and Hazor indicates that Mycenaean pottery, as a general class of material, was widely used by various social groups in these cities. The widespread use of Mycenaean pottery among urban population groups is evident at other sites in the Levant as well. Many of the Mycenaean finds reported from Alalakh (site no. 137) cannot be ascribed to architectural structures with certainty, but at least some of them have been found in buildings meant for habitation.14 Indeed, in discussing levels Ia - Ic at Alalakh, Woolley states that "...it is certain that in all three phases Mycenaean pottery was freely used" and that "by this time it must have been cheap".15 At Tell Sukas (site no. 145) more than fifty Mycenaean sherds were found in three habitation structures.16 At Sarepta (site no. 162) soundings in areas X and Y revealed Late Bronze Age domestic architecture and industrial installations such as bins and basins.17 The structure from levels XVII-XIV at Tyre (site no. 163), likewise associated with domestic and industrial activities, yielded Mycenaean dinner and storage vessels, as well as a female and bovine figurine.18 J. Balensi's study of the finds made by R.W. Hamilton in the 1930s at Tell Abu Hawam (site no. 175) showed that Mycenaean pottery was widespread there too.19 In stratum V (phases V2-aV) such pottery occurred in almost all structures, among which were residential houses and buildings testifying of industrial activities.20 The distribution of Mycenaean pottery at Megiddo (site no. 181) has recently been analysed by A. Leonard and E. Cline. In strata VIII-VIIA this material was concentrated in areas AA and CC, associated with a palace and with residential structures respectively.21 Even though such an unequal distribution pattern indicates that Mycenaean pottery was not used widely among the inhabitants of Megiddo, the finds from residential contexts as well as from a palace suggest that various social groups made use of these vessels. At Ashdod (site no. 222) Mycenaean cups, kylikes and stirrup jars were recovered from the stratum 2 structure in area B.22 On the basis of the presence of a courtyard, silos, storage pits and three ovens, this structure may be interpreted as a domestic structure, possibly with industrial associations. Mycenaean pottery has also been reported from the small Late Bronze Age brick houses in area H at Ashdod.23 At Kamid el-Loz (site no 168) a domestic structure just north of the temple produced Mycenaean storage vessels.24 The domestic structures found in levels VIII and VII to the south-east of the temple at Beth Shean (site no. 187) yielded eleven Mycenaean vessels, scattered about various rooms and associated with local pottery and a few imports.25 Other sites from which Mycenaean pot-

13 Thompson 1979, 9; Bourdieu 1984, 100-101; Appadurai 1986, 21-23; Voutsaki 1995, 9-11; Van Wijngaarden 1999c.

14 Woolley 1955, 371-373.

15 Woolley 1955, 372, 374.

17 Khalifeh 1988 (area X); Anderson 1988, 82 (area Y).

19 Balensi 1980, 315.

20 Balensi 1980, 25-250.

23 Dothan 1993, 96.

24 Hachmann & Kuschke 1966, 56; Marfoe 1995, 156, Fig. 101.

25 Hankey 1993c.

tery has been reported from domestic contexts include Tell Dan (site no. 170),26 Pella (site no. 190)27 and Bethel (site no. 208).28

Mycenaean pottery has also been reported in association with buildings testifying of a certain level of wealth. At Tell Batash (site no. 226) a large structure was excavated in levels VIII and VII, which has been interpreted as a patrician's house, probably belonging to important land-owners in the Sorek valley.29 In the destruction layer of the level VII building, dated to the 13th century BC, a LH IIIA2 straight-sided alabastron was found, in association with a Cypriot bull-vase, cylinder seals and scarabs. A building comparable to the one at Tell Batash has been excavated at nearby 'Ain Shems (site no 227), from which Mycenaean pottery has also been reported.30 At Aphek (site no. 215), in stratum X13, which has been dated to the second half of the thirteenth century BC, a wealthy structure was built in the south-western corner of the area where a palace had stood previously.31 This building is the earliest example of a so-called 'Governor's residency', a type of building that has been associated with an Egyptian administrative presence in Palestine.32 A Mycenaean stirrup jar was found in this building, associated with local and Egyptian bowls, as well as with Cypriot White Slip II bowls.33

At Ugarit, the ruling élite did make use of Mycenaean pottery, albeit not to a greater extent than other inhabitants of the city. At Ras Ibn Hani (site no. 143) two large buildings have been excavated, which can be associated with the royal court of Ugarit.34 The largest of these buildings, the Palais Sud, was apparently cleared out before the end of the Late Bronze Age. Even though, as a result, very few finds were made, a fragment of a LH IIIB amphoroid krater as well as two Mycenaean sherds have been reported from this building.35 The second structure at Ras Ibn Hani, the Palais Nord, yielded a number of cuneiform tablets which made clear that the inhabitants had a kinship relationship with the royal family of Ugarit.36 The western part of this building served as a metal workshop, while in the eastern part habitation quarters were situated. In the courtyard between these two parts three fragment of Mycenaean stirrup jars were found, while a LH IIIB amphoroid krater was discovered in one of the habitation quarters.37 The tomb associated with the Palais Nord, of the same architectural type as those found in the capital of Ugarit, produced a Mycenaean amphoroid krater, along with two stirrup jars, one of which was of the large, coarse ware variety (FS 164).38

The Mycenaean vessels from the settlement levels of the two palaces at Ras Ibn Hani indicate that the social groups attached to these structures made use of such material. The presence of metal working facilities at the Palais Nord suggests that some of the Mycenaean pottery found in this structure may be associated with people working in the building, rather than with the inhabitants themselves.

26 Biran 1994a, 120; 1994b, 8.

27 McNicoll et al. 1992, 67, 87 (area II); Bourke 1997, 108.

30 Bunimovitz & Lederman 1993, 249; Leonard 1994, 202.

31 Beck & Kochavi 1985, 29-30.

32 Oren 1984, 49-50. The majority of 'Governor's

Residencies' date to the twelfth century BC.

According to Bryan (1996, 38) these buildings do not necessarily imply an Egyptian administrative presence, but may be the result of Egyptianising trends among the local Canaanite population.

33 Beck & Kochavi 1985, 35-36.

34 Lagarce 1982; Lagarce et al. 1983; Bounni et al. 1987.

36 Lagarce et al. 1983, 257; 277-278. According to the tablets found in the Palais Nord, the building belonged to a queen, perhaps the mother of king Ammistamru II (1260-1230 BC).

37 Bounni et al. 1979, 240, fig 19 nos. 2-4; 1981, 293, Fig. 53.

38 Toueir 1975.

In comparison with other buildings at Ugarit, such as those in the recently excavated Centre Ville, the Mycenaean pottery reported from the palatial structures at Ras Ibn Hani is by no means abundant. Apparently, social groups associated with the royal palace did not make more extensive use of Mycenaean pottery than other groups in Ugaritic society. This may also be concluded from the three Mycenaean finds from the tomb at Ras Ibn Hani. These may be compared to similar quantities in the majority of tombs at Ras Shamra, including those in the royal palace. Even though Mycenaean pottery, apparently, was considered suitable to be included in the funerary inventories of high-level social groups, the quantities from these tombs are by no means extraordinary. The evidence from Ras Ibn Hani, therefore, seems to confirm the conclusions for the royal palace of Ugarit itself.

At Alalakh (site no. 137) a LH IIIA piriform jar has been reported from room 16 in the palace uncovered in level V (Niqme-pa's palace).39 From the palace in level IV at this site, probably to be dated to the 13th century BC, no Mycenaean pottery has been published, but fragments of a piriform jar, a jug and two stirrup jars have been reported from the area of the palace in strata III-I.40 Because of the likelihood that many finds from Alalakh remain unpublished, the evidence of this site is difficult to interpret, and the only statement to be made is that here too Mycenaean pottery has some association with the ruling élite.

A succession of palaces from the beginning to the end of the Late Bronze Age was found at Kamid el-Loz (site no. 168) in levels P1-P5.41 The so-called 'Schatzhaus' of the palace was actually a tomb from the first building phase, which during stratum P5 was restructured as a storage room.42 A great many imports from various regions have been reported from the early phases of this structure, among which was a LM IB bridge-spouted jar. A fragment of a Mycenaean stirrup jar was discovered in the palace workshops.43 The only other Mycenaean find from a palatial context at Kamid el-Loz is a straight-sided alabastron, possibly of Levantine manufacture.44 In comparison with the temple excavated at Kamid el-Loz (see below) and with other settlement structures (see above), the quantity of Aegean finds from the palace area is relatively small. Moreover, the stirrup jar found in the area of the palace workshops indicates that this vessel was associated with artisans working at the palace rather than with the royal court itself. All this is in agreement with the evidence from Ugarit and Ras Ibn-Hani that social groups connected to the palace did have access to Mycenaean pottery, but did not make more extensive use of it than other urban social groups.

A palatial structure, building 2041, has also been excavated in levels VIII-VIIA at Megiddo (site no. 181).45 From the stratum VIII palace a LH IIIB stirrup jar as well as a body sherd from an amphoroid krater dating to the same period have been reported.46 Four of the seven Mycenaean fragments from stratum VIIB at Megiddo were found in palace 2041: a squat stirrup jar, a bovine figurine and a sherd of unidentifiable shape.47 Nine Mycenaean finds came from the stratum VII palace. Seven of these,

39 Woolley 1955, 370.

40 Woolley 1955, 110-131; 371-373. These strata were heavily disturbed and some finds may derive from lower levels.

41 Hachmann 1978a; 1978b, 1982; Frisch, Mansfeld & Thiele 1985; Marfoe 1995, 121-128.

42 Adler 1994, 133, 208-211.

43 Frisch, Mansfeld & Thiele 1985, 119, Tafel 30.4 no. 118.

45 Loud 1948, 24-29. The absolute dates of these strata have been much debated, see Leonard & Cline 1998, 3-9.

46 Leonard & Cline 1998, 3. The amphoroid krater sherd should probably be excluded from this account, as it was reportedly found within a wall, see Loud 1948, 131. A total of thirteen Mycenaean finds from this stratum were made in areas directly outside the palace.

47 Leonard & Cline 1998, 5-7

four globular flasks, two stirrup jars and a stemmed cup, occurred in a small tripartite building connected to palace 2041 during this phase. Elsewhere in the building a globular flask and a sherd of unidentifiable shape were found. From this account it is clear that Mycenaean vessels were in use among the residents of palace 2041.

At Hazor, finds from the recently excavated palace have not yet been published. The significant amounts of Mycenaean pottery reported from the area adjacent to the palace (area A), however, indicates that Mycenaean pottery was used by the social groups associated with official structures. This picture seems to be confirmed by the discussion above of Mycenaean pottery found in structures at other sites which can be associated with local ruling élite groups. At the same time, however, it is clear that at none of these sites Mycenaean pottery appears to be concentrated in the palaces.

Mycenaean pottery has been found at Ugarit and Hazor in contexts which testify of religious practices. At Kamid el-Loz (site no. 168), a large structure with two courtyards has been excavated, that has been interpreted as a temple dating to the Late Bronze Age. A variety of Mycenaean open and closed vessels, conical and zoomorphic rhyta, as well as a female figurine have been found in this building, in association with cultic objects such as a group of snake figurines.48 At Tell Abu Hawam (site no. 175), a large number of Mycenaean dinner vessels, as well as some storage vessels, a zoomor-phic rhyton and a kernos were found in the first deposit of temple 50, associated with Cypriot, Egyptian and local ceramics and with objects such as faience pearls, steatite cylinder seals and bronze knives.49 A later deposit in the same temple produced three LH IIIB drinking vessels, similarly associated with Cypriot, Egyptian and local wares and with faience and bronze objects.50 In the level VII and VIII temple precinct at Beth Shean (site no. 187) a mixed Egyptian and Syro-Palestinian cult was practised.51 A total of seventeen Mycenaean vessels can be associated with this temple: thirteen storage and four dinner vessels. Of particular interest is a group of five vessels found below the temple floor in association with Egyptian and Levantine cultic objects.52 This deposit has been interpreted as a foundation offering and it shows that Mycenaean pottery could be part of ceremonies of a highly symbolical nature. At Tell Mevorakh (site no. 203) a succession of temples from the Late Bronze Age were excavated on a small mound.53 Because no contemporary settlement was discovered, the building at Tell Mevorakh has been interpreted as an isolated sanctuary site. In stratum X of this building fourteen Mycenaean sherds were discovered, all from LH IIIA2 storage pots.54 It is uncertain whether the square building at Amman Airport site (site no. 194) can be interpreted as a temple.55 The nature of the archaeological material discovered in the square building, which included a large and varied body of Mycenaean pottery, however, indicates that activities of a symbolical nature were practised here. In the so-called 'Fosse temple' at Lachisch (site no. 230) a LH II one-handled cup was part of a group of objects discovered on a bench altar.56 A LH II goblet was found elsewhere in the temple area.57 A Mycenaean chariot krater was discovered in the central hall of the acropolis temple at the same site.58

48 Hachmann 1980, 43, 84, 88, Tafels 24-26; 1982, 33, Tafels 5, 6, 8.

49 Balensi 1980, 83-84.

50 Balensi 1980, 88-89.

51 Hankey 1993c; James & McGovern 1993, 239-240.

52 Hankey 1993c; James & McGovern 1993, 7, 12. The

Mycenaean repertoire in this deposit consisted of a pir-

iform jar, a small jug, a stirrup jar, a globular flask and a deep bowl.

53 Stern 1984.

54 Hankey 1984, 20.

55 Fritz 1971; Hankey 1974; 1995b, 172-173; Herr 1983, 225-229.

56 Tufnell 1958, 211-212; Hankey 1981b, 109.

57 Kantor 1947, 36; Stubbings 1951, 56.

58 Ussishkin 1993, 901.

At Tell Sera' (site no. 237) building 1118 has also been interpreted as a structure in which cultic activities were practised.59 On the floor of stratum X of this building, dated to the thirteenth century BC, two Mycenaean conical rhyta and a hedgehog rhyton were found together with a variety of Egyptian imports, Syrian cylinder seals and Cypriot vessels.60

It is clear that Mycenaean pottery can be associated with Levantine cultic practices. The religious structures at Hazor, Kamid el-Loz, Beth Shean and Lachisch which have produced Mycenaean pottery can be classified as urban, monumental temples, to be related to the official religion at state level.61 Each of these temples is structurally separated from surrounding buildings and possesses at least one courtyard and a number of associated storage rooms. It may be expected that professional priests were attached to these temples, with whom the Mycenaean pottery can be associated. The same may be true for the temples at Tell Mevorakh and Amman, which were free-standing. The Temple au rhy-tons at Ugarit is an example of a structure in which cult was practised at a lower level of society. Building 1118 at Tell Sera', with a large silo and a number of refuse pits, may possibly be interpreted as a shrine as well.62 These two examples show that Mycenaean vessels could also be used in religious practices of a less official nature. The evidence from Hazor, where smaller religious structures in habitation areas did not produce Mycenaean ceramics, however, indicates that this was not always the case.

This overview of Levantine sites with Mycenaean pottery appears to confirm the conclusions drawn in the chapters on Ugarit and Hazor. Mycenaean pottery was widely used by different social groups in the urban communities of the Levant. It was a fairly common class of material in a wide variety of urban contexts. The case of Deir 'Alla, however, shows that not everywhere Mycenaean pottery was a common class of material used by different social strata. The special significance of such pottery at Deir 'Alla may, in a different way, be reflected at the Amman Airport building. Large quantities of Mycenaean vessels were specially selected to be brought to the square structure.63 At a few other sites too, Mycenaean pottery has been found in small numbers in contexts which indicate that these vessels were highly appreciated. In the patrician's residence at Tell Batash (site no. 226) a single straight-sided alabastron was found in an impressive dwelling and associated with a number of other im-ports.64 At the site of Aphek (site no. 215) all the Mycenaean finds were associated with the so-called 'Governor's Residency' and with a tomb found nearby this impressive building.65 Likewise, the majority of the Mycenaean finds from settlement levels at Tell Sera' (site no. 237) were found in association with structure 1118, which also produced Egyptian alabaster vases, cylinder seals and faience jewellery.66 Each of these sites is comparable with Deir 'Alla in the sense that they constitute small regional centres, rather than large urban communities. Moreover, with the exception of Aphek, all of them are situated in the Palestine uplands which, like Transjordan, may be considered as more marginal areas, which during the Late Bronze Age remained relatively independent of Egyptian cultural influence.67

59 Oren 1993, 1331.

60 Oren & Netzer 1974, 265

61 For a distinction in the Late Bronze Age Levant between the official religion at state level, clan cults at the level of clan relations within the urban community and family cults connected to the family, see Van der Toorn 1995a, 48.

62 Oren & Netzer (1974, 265) are in doubt whether to interpret the structure as a residential building or as a sanctuary.

63 Hankey 1974, 131.

65 Kochavi 1981, 81; Beck & Kochavi 1985, 35.

66 Oren & Netzer 1974, 265; Oren 1993, 1331.

67 Bunimowitz 1995, 325; Gonen 1992, 32-36.

Only a few systematic field surveys in the Levant have been published. A survey in the eastern part of the Wadi Arabah showed that Late Bronze Age sites were absent in this area.68 This was not the case in the Wadi el Hasa, just south-east of the Dead sea, where three to five MBA-LBA sites were discovered, none with Mycenaean pottery.69 From the Kerak plateau in Jordan, 109 LBA sites were reported, most of which consisted of relatively small concentrations of sherds.70 Imported ware was not found at these sites. The Judaea, Samaria and Golan surveys in Israel did not yield any Mycenaean finds.71 A survey in the lower Galilee mountains, roughly the area between Hazor and Megiddo, resulted in only four Late Bronze Age sites, none of which with Mycenaean finds.72 During the regional project in the central Jezreel valley a few sites with small quantities of Mycenaean pottery were investigated, such as Tel Qasis (site no. 176), Tell Qiri (site no. 177) and Tell Yoqne'am (site no. 178).73 Each of these sites may be interpreted as a small regional centre. A number of smaller Late Bronze Age sites that without Mycenaean pottery were identified in this region.

It appears that a widespread use of Mycenaean pottery among different social groups is characteristic mainly for the urban culture of the Late Bronze Age Levant. At smaller regional centres these vessels appear to have been scarce, while they seem absent at rural sites. The evidence from Deir 'Alla, Tell Batash and Aphek indicates that at smaller regional centres Mycenaean pottery was restricted to specific, wealthy social groups.

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