New paper on ground stone objects from EB Safi

A new paper on the ground stone objects from Early Bronze Age Tell es-Safi/Gath has just appeared (see link here)!

The paper, spearheaded by Jeremy Beller (originally part of his MA dissertation at the Univ. of Manitoba), deals with the “life history” of basalt ground stone objects from the Early Bronze Age III levels in Area E.

The full title is:

Beller, J. A., Greenfield, H. J., Shai, I., and Maeir, A. M. 2016. The Life-History of Basalt Ground Stone Artefacts from Early Urban Contexts: A View from the EB III of Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel. Journal of Lithic Studies 3(3).

And here is the abstract:

Recent archaeological excavations at the early urban settlement of Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel present the opportunity to reconstruct the life-history of basalt ground stone artefacts of an early urban domestic neighbourhood. Tell es-Safi/Gath is a multi-period site located on the border between the Judean foothills and the southern coastal plain of central Israel. Survey and excavations over the last two decades demonstrated that it was a major urban centre for the region during the Early Bronze Age (EBA) III. At the eastern end of the site, a neighbourhood of commoner residences (some perhaps associated with mercantile activities) have been exposed. This paper describes and analyses the basalt ground stone tools found in association with this domestic neighbourhood. It seeks to establish the nature of production, distribution, consumption, and discard associated with ground stone tools within a domestic context. The study involved several forms of analysis including typology, macroscopic observations, and excavation data. It is suggested that basalt sources from the northeastern regions of the southern Levant were exploited for the small-scale production of basalt artefacts by nonspecialised craftsmen. These commodities were then transported in more or less finished form to Tell es-Safi/Gath where they were further redistributed or sold to the settlement residents. The residents of the Tell es-Safi/Gath neighbourhood utilised the basalt artefacts for traditionally domestic tasks, and ultimately intentionally discarded or recycled them in a few depositional contexts. In summary, this paper presents a unique investigation into the life-history of basalt ground stone artefacts discovered in the EB III occupation levels of Tell es-Safi/Gath. It further demonstrates the potential of ground stone tools for understanding the behaviour and daily life of non-elite people.

Check it out!



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  1. Pingback: New paper on ground stone objects from EB Safi | Haskel Greenfield

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