Date of Award

2002

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, Old Testament Studies PhD

First Advisor

Randall W. Younker

Second Advisor

David Merling

Third Advisor

Oystein S. LaBianca

Abstract

The problem. Greenberg has recently stated that isolating temporal ceramic indicators for the Early Bronze II-III periods is "one of the thorniest issues in the archaeology of Palestine" (2000: 183). Part of theproblem stems from the homogenous nature of ceramic assemblages from Early Bronze Age Palestine; part of it stems from a continued lack of published information. Both of these issues are addressed by this study. Excavations at Tell Ta`annek between 1963 and 1967 unearthed the remains of a multi-period site, including the residues of an Early Bronze II-III fortified settlement. It is purposed here to isolate that portion of the site in the collected records and residues in order to produce a ceramic sample that is stratigraphically derived. From this sample, inferences may be drawn concerning chronology, technology, and trade.

Method. On the basis of data drawn from field records, a relative chronology of the settlement was built by square and locus. This sequence was tested by the retrieval and analysis of saved ceramic sherds. Index forms forced alterations in the sequence, that, in turn, prompted additional stratigraphic work. This cycle produced approximately 400 isolated loci and a working sample of some 2,000 sherds. This assemblage was then analyzed internally, in typological and technological terms, and externally, through comparison with other published assemblages from North Palestine.

Results. Deposition from Tell Ta`annek suggests three distinct Early Bronze Age strata and a corresponding ceramic sequence stretching from EB I (Stratum 1), through EB II (Stratum 2), and early EB III (Stratum 3). While the presence of fortification and destruction debris is indicative of destabilization and armed conflict, the ceramic record of "Common Ware" is stable and fairly homogenous, interrupted only by the presence of Metallic Ware and Khirbet Kerak Ware.

Conclusion. Using Metallic Ware and Khirbet Kerak Ware as reference points, select "Common Ware" features may be isolated. These contribute to a growing set of knowledge that offers promise for isolating temporal ceramic indicators for the Early Bronze II-III periods. In addition, it is suggested that most residents of Tell Ta`annek were removed from--or resistant to--"imported" potting traditions that left a powerful imprint elsewhere in North Palestine. A preference for local wares over more expensive or exotic forms underlines a rural conservatism that is consistent with the site's location.

Subject Area

Bronze age--Palestine, Ceramics--Palestine, Taanach (Extinct city)--Antiquities, Tell Taʻannek, Palestine--Antiquities

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