Abstract: In 2013, an ivory bowl was discovered in a chalky matrix in the Early Iron Age (Philistine) levels in Area A at Tell es-Safi/Gath. Conservation revealed it to be a shallow vessel with a single lug handle, decorated in the interior and on the base with an incised twelve-petal lotus-rosette surrounded by five concentric circles. Applying an object biography approach, we investigate the history and far-flung socio-cultural connections of the Tell es-Safi/Gath bowl, which is unique within Philistia. Specific reference is made to parallels in the ivory hoard from the Late Bronze/Iron Age transition (c. late twelfth century/early eleventh century bce) palace at Megiddo, Stratum VIIA. It is proposed that the Tell es-Safi/Gath bowl was one of a set manufactured somewhere in Canaan. The vessel became separated from the set, ending up as a foundation offering at this Philistine site.
- Late Bronze/Iron Age transition
- elephant ivory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (all)