Preface 9

Introduction 11

Part I. The Nature of the Ceramic Industry 15

Evidence for Mass Production 15

The Potter's Wheel 18

The Single Wheel 19

The Double Wheel 20

Miscellaneous Fabrication Equipment 25

Potters' Jars 25

Hand Tools 25

The Kiln 26

The Vertical Kiln 27

The Horizontal Kiln 31

Pottery Workshops 33

Workshop Industry Production 34

Urban Industry Production 39

Potters' Marks 45

Potters' Guilds 48

Summary and Conclusions 49

Part II. The Diffusion of ceramic Style 51

Spatial Diffusion of Ceramic Style 54

The Example of Bé 55

Trends toward Standardization 58

Expansion Diffusion of Ceramic Style 59

Commercial Sale of Ceramic Wares 60 A Proposed Model for the Commercial Sale of Ceramic Wares in Ancient Palestine 70 Secondary Agencies for the Expansion Diffusion of Ceramic Wares 77

Relocation Diffusion of Ceramic Style 81

Itinerant Potters 81

Relocating Potters 82

Spatial Style Variability 84

Temporal Variability of Ceramic Style 85

Factors Affecting Temporal Style Change 86 A Proposed Model for the Temporal Variability of Ceramic Style 87

Vessel Lifespan 88

Pottery and the Customer 89

Typical Household Assemblages 90

Lifespan of Household Pottery 91

Summary and Conclusion 92

Bibliography 99

Index of Authors 123


1. Provenience of Palestinian domestic wares from

Tell el-Hesi and Gezer 96

2. Household assemblages for four families in

Chucuito, Peru, 1940-1942 96

  1. Average ceramic inventory for typical households in various cultures 97
  2. Mean vessel lifespan for different vessel types in various cultures, in years 98


  1. Potter's wheel thrust bearings from the Bronze Age 99
  2. Potter's wheel thrust bearings from the Iron Age 100
  3. Reconstruction of a double potter's wheel 101
  4. Plan and section of the potter's wheel emplacement in Cave 37 at Megiddo 102
  5. Potters' jars from the Late Bronze and Iron Ages 103
  6. Schematic cross-section of a vertical (updraft) kiln 104
  7. Vertical kilns from the Bronze and Iron Ages 105
  8. Schematic drawing of the interior of a

Greek vertical kiln 106

9. Schematic cross-section of a horizontal

(downdraft) kiln 107

  1. Horizontal kilns from the Iron Age 108
  2. Eighteenth Dynasty tomb painting of a pottery workshop 109
  3. LB IIA pottery workshops associated with the Stelae Shrine, Hazor 110
  4. Isometric reconstruction of Hazor Stelae

Shrine and associated buildings 111

  1. Potters' Cave 4034 at Lachish 112
  2. Potters'quarter at Ashdod 113
  3. Distribution of archaeological evidence for pottery making in the Bronze and Iron Ages 114
  4. Distribution of Philistine Ware 115
  5. Water jars, bowls and braziers being transported by donkey 116
  6. Pottery for sale in a market at Gueddara, Morocco 116
  7. Pottery merchants in Guatemala setting out with their wares 117
  8. Pottery for sale in a market at Bine el-Quidine, Morocco 118
  9. Water jars being transported by cart,

Sidi Rahal, Morocco 119

  1. Distribution of *Midianite Ware' 120
  2. Degeneration of ceramic form with repeated replication 121

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I was first challenged with the problem of the diffusion of ceramic style in ancient Palestine by my thesis advisor, Professor John S. Holladay, Jr, of the University of Toronto. After six months of diligent research I was able to provide what I believe is a reasonable answer to the question of why ceramic style was similar across Palestine and why that style changed through time in much the same manner in different locations. The results of this research became one chapter in my Ph.D. thesis (Wood 1985:78-220). The present monograph is an expanded version of the original study, which was restricted in scope to the terminal phase of the Late Bronze Age.

Before the problem of the diffusion of ceramic style can be broached, it is first necessary to understand the ceramic industry of ancient Palestine. Thus, the study is divided into two parts: the first dealing with the nature of the ceramic industry and the second dealing with the spatial and temporal diffusion of ceramic style.

I am indebted to Professor Holladay for his guidance and helpful comments during the initial stages of the research. Special thanks go to Rüdiger Vossen of the Hamburgisches Museum für Völkerkunde and Ruben Reina of the University of Pennsylvania for providing illustrations of the transport and sale of ceramics in contemporary cultures. Professor David Clines of Sheffield made many emendations to the final proofs. A number of individuals and institutions were kind enough to grant permission to reproduce copyrighted material for which I am grateful. They are: William Anderson of the University of Pennsylvania, École Biblique et Archéologique Française, Haverford College, Israel Antiquities Authority, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania and the Wenner-

Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. I also wish to express my gratitude to my wife Faith for her unwavering support, for her able assistance on several research trips to various libraries and for typing the manuscript.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania August 1990


A large part of archaeological research in Palestine is devoted to the excavation, processing, analysis and documentation of pottery. The focus, however, has been almost exclusively on the pottery itself, to the neglect of the sociology of pottery, that is, the relationship between pottery and its cultural and economic environment.1 This has resulted in a restricted view of the role of ceramics in ancient Palestine and has limited the use of ceramic data in archaeological analyses. In order to make the maximum use of ceramic data, the overall system of pottery making and its related activities must be reconstructed (van der Leeuw 1977:75; Rice 1987:168).

Stanley Casson was one of the earliest, if not the first, Near Eastern scholar to recognize the importance of a sociological approach to the study of pottery:

Since archaeologists are by nature and origin academic, except for a few rare spirits ... they tend to create from the material archaeological remains which they study a world which, here and there, may be ever so little out of touch with reality. In the study of ceramics this is especially evident. The survival of pots and potsherds on ancient sites, and the organization of their study almost into a science, has given an importance to pottery which far exceeds that given to other material... But one aspect of ceramic seems to me to have received slight attention. I know of almost no literature or research which deals with the economic aspect of pot-making (1938:464-65).

1. The methodology of pottery fabrication in ancient Palestine has received considerable attention: Kelso and Thorley 1943; Kelso 1948; Franken 1969,1971; Hammond 1971; Johnston 1974a, 1986; Glanzman 1983; Edwards and Segnit 1984. These studies, however, do not move beyond the fabrication process itself to ask questions concerning the type of workshop that produced the pottery, the manner in which pottery and pottery styles were diffused throughout the country, the use of pottery in a typical household, etc.

Casson also realized the potential of ethnographic research for properly understanding the role of pottery in antiquity (1938:473).

In the recent past there has been an increased awareness of the importance of the sociology of pottery.1 Frederick Matson, one of the pioneers in this area, has stressed the need for a better understanding of the cultural context in which ceramics were made and used, otherwise 'they form a sterile record of limited worth' (1965:202; cf. 1972:212; Rice 1987:168).

In this two-part study, I shall attempt to reconstruct the sociological system in which pottery functioned in the Bronze and Iron Ages in Palestine. In Part I the industry itself will be examined: the technology of the potters, which will give insight into who was practicing pottery making and for what purpose, the organization of the potters, and the spatial distribution of the craft. In Part III shall take up the complex matter of the diffusion of ceramic style.

Both archaeological and ethnographic data are utilized in the study. Properly used, ethnographic analogy is the most viable means of gaining insight into practices of the past (Schiffer 1978:239; Binford 1983:23-24, 104; Wylie 1985:107). There are two types of ethnographic analogy: continuous and discontinuous. In continuous analogy, the phenomenon being studied can be linked to the past by an unbroken tradition which has continued since antiquity. In areas where this is not the case, analogies from other regions which have similar ecological, environmental and cultural characteristics ('discontinuous' analogies) may be utilized (Binford 1967:2-3; Gould 1978:255; 1980:55-56).

Realizing the value of ethnographic data, and that traditional workshops are fast disappearing in the face of encroaching technology, ethnographers have produced a plethora of studies on traditional pottery making in recent

  1. For informative studies on the sociology of pottery in contemporary cultures, see especially the work of Foster at Tzintzuntzan, Mexico (1960, 1965), David and Hennig at Bi in North Cameroon (1972), Reina and Hill in Guatemala (1978), Haaland at Darfur in western Sudan (1978) and Crossland and Posnausky at Begho in Ghana (1978). For an overview, see Rice 1987:168-206.
  2. 1 In Palestine today, the craft of pottery making is vastly different from what it was in the Bronze and Iron Ages. As we shall see, pottery production in antiquity was a full-time craft specialization utilizing potters' wheels and permanent kilns and practiced by men. Although there are some remnants of the ancient traditions still being practiced in isolated instances, pottery making in modern-day Palestine is largely either an up-to-date operation using electric wheels and kilns or a parttime activity carried on by village women using primitive techniques. Ethnographic studies conducted in Palestine, therefore, are of limited value in reconstructing the sophisticated ceramic industry that was in operation in the large city-states of the Bronze and Iron Ages. We are thus obliged to use discontinuous analogies in investigating the sociology of pottery in ancient Palestine.2 Happily, in other Mediterranean lands (e.g. Egypt, North Africa, Greece, Spain) ceramic production, distribution and use continue today in some areas much as they did in antiquity, providing ethnographic analogies which can be applied to Palestine.

Sufficient ethnographic studies have been conducted in various parts of the world to demonstrate that there are cross-cultural generalizations concerning the relationship of ceramics to environment and culture (see particularly Arnold 1985; van der Leeuw 1977). Since these generalizations are universal in nature they apply to the past as well as the present (Arnold 1985:ix-x, 14-16). It is therefore methodologically correct and, in fact, imperative, to use ethnographic analogies

  1. For a review of this literature, see Kramer 1985; Rice 1987:113-67.
  2. Ethnographic studies on the sociology of pottery in the Middle East are sadly lacking. On the methods of fabricating traditional pottery in the Levant, which include some sociological data, see the following: Palestine—Einsler 1914; Crowfoot 1932, 1938 (all three conveniently summarized by Glock, 1982:146-47); Glock 1983:175-77; Bresenham 1985; Mersehn 1985; Lebanon—Hankey 1968; Cyprus—Taylor and Tufnell 1930; Hampe and Winter 1962; Johnston 1974b; Yon 1981, 1985; London 1987a, 1987b; 1989; London, Egoumenidou and Karageorghis 1989; Egypt—Randall-Maciver 1905; Brissaud 1982; Nicholson and Patterson 1985a, 1985b. For the Aegean, see Xanthoudides 1927; Casson 1938, 1951; Hampe and Winter 1962, 1965; Matson 1972: 211-23; 1973; Voyatzoglou 1973, 1974; Guest-Papamanoli 1983. For Morocco, see Vossen and Ebert 1986; for Iraq, see Ochsenschlager 1974.

not only from the Mediterranean area, but from other parts of the world as well, to interpret archaeological data from Palestine. By bringing together these two bodies of information, namely the archaeological and the ethnographic, a rather complete picture of the ceramic industry and the day-to-day usage of pottery in ancient Palestine is obtained (van der Leeuw 1977:7s).1

Our methodology throughout will be first to examine the archaeological data concerning the particular aspect of ceramics under investigation. Secondly, we shall appeal to ethnographic evidence from cultures still making and using pottery for utilitarian purposes to interpret and supplement the archaeological data. From a synthesis of these data, two hypotheses will be offered concerning the role of ceramics in the Bronze and Iron Ages in Palestine: one to explain the commercial manufacturing-distribution system and one to explain temporal style change.

1. For an example of how archaeological and ethnographic information can be combined to reconstruct an ancient ceramic industry, see Peacock 1982.


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