Interesting find – a painted Philistine bird in the LPDW style

This year we had an interesting find which we hope to publish in more detail in the future. The birds that adorn the early Iron I Philistine pottery are well known and have been discussed extensively in the literature (see most recently, Yasur-Landau, A. 2009. In Search for the Origin of the Philistine Bird Motif (In Hebrew with English Abstract). Eretz Israel (Ephraim Stern Volume) 28: 231–41, 290*).

It was previously thought that this motif disappears from the Philistine pottery after the Iron I (in fact, after the Bichrome phase of the Philistine pottery). This year, and in fact, in a previous season as well, we have found evidence that the bird motif continues later and can be seen in a Iron Age IIA decorated pottery group known from Philistia – the “Late Philistine Decorated Ware” (LPDW, also known as the “Ashdod Ware”). This group, which was discussed extensively by our team previously (see: Ben-Shlomo, D., Shai, I., and Maeir, A. 2004. Late Philistine Decorated Ware (“Ashdod Ware”): Typology, Chronology and Production Centers. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 335: 1–35) has been shown to be a decorated group typical of Philistia, apparently serving as the prestige decorated ware of this period, copying various motifs from the earlier Philistine decorated pottery. As opposed to the earlier Philistine pottery, the decoration is comprise of black and white motifs on a red, mostly burnished background.

The new finds, two decorated birds in the LPDW style, clearly prove this point! We can clearly see here that the early style of birds is copied on the later pottery.

Here is a picture of a typical early Philistine bird from a decorated vessel from Tell es-Safi/Gath:
09.07.27 Tell es-Safi_0244  K60

And here is a picture of the new bird on a fragment of the LPDW ware:
09.07.27 Tell es-Safi_0251  K60

Very interesting!


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