Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Biblical and/or Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology, PhD

First Advisor

Randall W. Younker

Second Advisor

Paul Z. Gregor

Third Advisor

Paul J. Ray



The collared pithos is a very tall, ovaloid, ceramic storage vessel peculiar to the southern Levant. Through the data that has emerged from Cisjordan a general consensus has developed that the collared pithos is part of an Iron Age 1 tradition that ended in the early years of the Iron Age 2. The data from Transjordan, however, is less familiar in discussions of the vessel, as it has only been added to the corpus within the last few decades. Preliminary indications from excavations in Transjordan reveal a different chronological scope and evolution of form than is observed in Cisjordan. However, a thorough and independent examination of the vessel in Transjordan must be conducted in order to complete the overall understanding of the collared pithos.


This study endeavors to bridge the research synthesis gap by analyzing all available examples of collared pithoi from every accessible Iron Age archaeological excavation in Transjordan. In an effort to be as comprehensive as possible, detailed metrics and contextual data were collected for 233 collared pithoi located at 24 sites across all regions of Transjordan. Subjective aspects of the selected vessels were classified according to their shape groups, and objective data were statistically analyzed. Each of the vessels was first categorized by form group, based primarily on neck height, and studied accordingly. Next the pithoi were evaluated according to the dates of their archaeological contexts. Chronological assignments were determined according to the deposition period of the collared pithoi, established by the associated ceramics and the stratigraphic placement of the pithoi. The latter was based largely on the stratigraphic interpretations of the excavators. Ceramic horizons were examined for each vessel and placed within the correlating phase of the Iron Age. Finally, a sample group of 46 collared pithoi from 14 sites in Cisjordan were analyzed and compared to the Transjordan vessels.


The results of the analysis revealed that the development of the collared pithos began in the earliest stages of the Iron Age in Transjordan (ca. 1200 BC) and continued without interruption until its final phase (ca. 586 BC). Recent data suggests that while the collared pithos is a form which is most prolific and enduring on the Central Plateau, it is attested in every region of Transjordan. At the beginning of its development, the vessel generally had a long neck with a flaring rim that stood outside of alignment with a teardrop-shaped collar. During this stage, its piriform body concluded in a flat base. As the collared pithos continued through its development, its neck became progressively shorter and its rounder rim fell further inside of alignment with its triangular-shaped collar. Its body slimmed down and its base became narrow and rounded.


Although the collared pithoi of Transjordan and Cisjordan are parallel forms, indistinguishable during the majority of the Iron Age 1, a more complete evolution of the vessel type can be observed in Transjordan. According to the data currently available, the eastern collared pithoi emerge in the archaeological record earlier than their western counterparts and maintain a ceramic tradition that endures for more than six hundred years.

Subject Area

Pottery, Ancient--Jordan; Jordan--Antiquities


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