The contents of unusual cone-shaped vessels (cornets) from the Chalcolithic of the southern Levant

Dvory Namdar, Ronny Neumann, Yuval Goren, Steve Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Cornets are cone-shaped ceramic vessels, characteristic of the Chalcolithic period (ca. 4700-3700 BC) in Israel and Jordan. Their contents and use are unknown. Gas chromatography with flame ionization and mass-selective detection, showed that extracts of cornets from five different sites with different related activities (domestic, habitation cave and a cultic complex) all contain the same assemblage of mainly n-alkanes adsorbed within their walls. This assemblage differs from those found in other types of ceramic vessels from the same sites, as well as from the residues found within the associated sediments. The assemblage of odd and even-numbered n-alkanes found in the cornets is almost identical to that found in the residues of beeswax heated on modern ceramic fragments, as well as in a beehive from the Iron Age IIA strata at Tel Rehov, Israel. Thus the cornets are most likely to have contained beeswax. The presence of beeswax in the cornets contributes to our understanding of the Chalcolithic period; a time when secondary products such as milk, olive oil and wine are thought to have come into use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-636
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Beeswax
  • Chalcolithic period
  • Cornets
  • GC/MS
  • Ghassulian culture
  • Residue analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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