‘Atiqot 52 (2006)
The 1996 Excavations along the Northern Hill at Tel Mikhal (Tel Michal)
Keywords: coastal plain, silo, Rhodian handles, stamps, numismatics, fishing, shipping, agriculture, winepresses, pottery kilns, industry, imports, ethnicity, archaeozoology, Phoenicia, Egypt, pendant, amulet
Excavations on the Northern Hill at Tel Mikhal revealed rich finds, in stark contrast with the poorly preserved and scant architectural remains. The earliest settlement here dates to prehistoric times, continuing into the Middle Bronze Age, when a ceramic industry operated at the site. In the Iron Age, settlement was sporadic, and mainly winepresses were unearthed. Toward the end of the Persian period, the area functioned as an industrial area for pottery production and a metal industry, as well as an area for storage and commerce. In the Hellenistic period, the site was also used for industry and storage. No signs of destruction were discerned; therefore, it seems that the area was abandoned toward the end of the second century BCE.
The Pottery from the IAA Excavations at Tel Mikhal (Tel Michal)
Lev Arie Kapitaikin
Keywords: coastal plain, pottery workshop, industry, storage, typology, chronology
Three main assemblages were identified in the pottery from the IAA excavations at Tel Mikhal: Persian coarse wares, imported pottery and pottery from three kilns (Area B1). The Persian wares, including mortaria, stands, kraters and jars, date to the later part of the Persian period (450–300 BCE). The imported Persian-period wares include decorated sherds of Cypriot or Eastern Greek origin, Attic pottery and undecorated imported vessels, such as amphorae and mortaria, dating to the last three quarters of the fourth century BCE. The pottery from Kiln 461 includes forms typical of the Persian period and miniature-sized (votive?) Persian-period vessels. Kilns 466 and 481 yielded pottery from Middle Bronze Age IIB–C (seventeenth century BCE).
Petrographic Analysis of the Tel Mikhal (Tel Michal) Pottery
Keywords: coastal plain, petrography, geology, fabric, Achaemenid Kingdom
Thirty-six vessels were submitted for petrographic analysis, most of them from the Persian period and several from Middle Bronze Age II. Several wasters from the kilns were analyzed as well. The results point to a large variety of pottery types in the Persian period, which were divided into three main groups: local products; short- to medium-range distance imports; and long-distance imports. These finds parallel those identified at other southern coastal sites, which show an overwhelming amount of imported pottery.
Petrographic Analysis of Two Ballast Stones from Tel Mikhal (Tel Michal)
Keywords: coastal plain, petrography, geology, seafaring, shipwreck
Both ballast stones were reused in a Persian-period installation. Their analysis revealed that they were of plutonic material, thus pointing to a distant provenance, perhaps in the Cyprus area. The stones were probably loaded on a merchant ship on its way from the eastern Mediterranean to the Tel Mikhal anchorage.
Coins from Tel Mikhal (Tel Michal)
Donald T. Ariel
Keywords: coastal plain, numismatics, chronology, typology, Alexander the Great, production centers, mint, dies
Thirty-eight coins were found in the excavation on the Northern Hill at Tel Mikhal, 33 were identified: 18 isolated coins, and 15 coins that formed part of a Persian-period hoard. The isolated coins are mainly of the Persian period, probably deriving from one phase of occupation that began in the second quarter of the fourth century BCE. The war between Ptolemy I and Antigonus possibly marks the end of the Persian stratum. The later numismatic evidence at the site indicates that the Northern Hill may have been occupied only during the Seleucid period. The hoard comprises Athenian-style
, dating to the rule of Straton I (371/367–357/354 BCE); several details clearly define these
as imitations. The number of Tel Mikhal coins that were minted in Sidon outnumbers the number minted in Tyre, thus supporting the historical evidence that Tel Mikhal was part of a Sidonian enclave on the central Palestinian coast.
Stamped Amphora Handles from Tel Mikhal (Tel Michal)
Donald T. Ariel
Keywords: coastal plain, epigraphy, chronology, fabricant, eta-rho
Three stamped amphora handles were recovered from the excavations at Tel Mikhal. Two are Rhodian, while the third is most likely the handle of a Samian amphora.
Persian-Period Metal Finds from Tel Mikhal (Tel Michal)
Sariel Shalev and Kamil Sari
Keywords: coastal plain, archeometallurgy, technology, production
More than 100 metal objects dating to the Persian period (fifth–fourth centuries BCE) were unearthed in the excavations at Tel Mikhal. The assemblage included weapons (arrowheads); tools and implements (e.g., knives, needles, nails and tacks); weights; jewelry (bracelets, fibulae, pins and spatulae); a
figurine; and an Egyptian amulet. The arrowheads were of the Irano-Scytic type, made of tin-bronze. All the arrowheads were left as cast, without mechanical treatment. Among the tools and implements, nails form the largest group; they were made of unalloyed copper and tin-bronze. The ten fibulae found at the site were made of tin-bronze; all underwent mechanical treatment. It is apparent that in the manufacturing of the metal objects, emphasis was placed upon the raw materials from which the objects were crafted.
A Lead Amulet of Nefertem from Tel Mikhal (Tel Michal)
Keywords: coastal plain, iconography, art, mythology, Egypt
The amulet represents the Egyptian god Nefertem in his most typical human form—with the divine braided beard. The presence of this figurine in a Persian-period context is further evidence that foreign merchants, Egyptian or Phoenician, were active at Tel Mikhal.
The Stone Anchor from Tel Mikhal (Tel Michal)
Keywords: coastal plain, seafaring, typology, chronology
The triangular limestone anchor has an unfinished elliptical socket on one side. It seems to belong to the “weight anchor” group, characterized by its medium size. The anchor was dated to Middle Bronze Age II based on stratigraphical and typological considerations.
The Flint Tools from Tel Mikhal (Tel Michal)
Keywords: coastal plain, flint, typology
Eleven flint tools were uncovered in the excavations at Tel Mikhal, more than half of them complete. Among the tools were five scrapers, three Canaanean sickle blades, two Middle Bronze Age sickle blades and one ridge blade with bilateral notches. The finds might indicate the presence of an earlier occupation at the site, perhaps as early as the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB).
The Archaeozoological Finds from Tel Mikhal (Tel Michal)
Keywords: coastal plain, fauna, ethnicity, osteology
Abundant Persian-period animal finds were recovered from the excavation at the site. They include 1320 remains from cattle, sheep/goat, dogs, pigs, fallow deer and sea mollusks. The anomalous quantity of cattle bones might suggest that during the Persian period, both Phoenicians and Samaritans lived at Tel Mikhal.
Genesis of the Northern Hill of Tel Mikhal (Tel Michal)
Keywords: coastal plain, physiography, geology, geomorphology
The mound of Tel Mikhal is situated on the southern end of the Ga‘ash anticline. It is classified as a steep slope and has the lowest range of erosion along the coastal cliff in Israel. The geological environment of the site is composed of mobile sand, kurkar,
and grumosol sediments of the Hefer Formation.
Nahal Tut (Site VIII): A Fortified Storage Depot from the Late Fourth Century BCE
Keywords: Menashe Hills, geology, administration, numismatics, politics, military, history, fort, gravestones, anthropology
Excavations at the site revealed a large building complex, comprising casemate walls built on bedrock around a large central courtyard with corner towers. It was a well-planned and well-fortified complex, located at a strategic point. The complex was occupied for a brief period of time, at the very end of the Persian (Achaemenid) period and the very beginning of the Hellenistic period (c. 350–325 BCE). It was destroyed by a violent destruction, which claimed human victims. The destruction was dated by a single bronze coin of Alexander III to 336–323 BCE. The pottery finds at the site were homogenous, including bowls, kraters, cooking pots, a flask, jugs and juglets, storage jars and lamps. Metal tools and weapons were found as well. The stone implements included a pair of fine hopper-rubber millstones, which were imported from the Aegean. Beneath the building were exposed walls of a Middle Bronze Age IIA–B building, alongside pottery vessels and animal bones. Subsequent to the destruction of the Persian-period building, the site served as a cemetery during the Mamluk–Ottoman periods.
Petrographical Analysis of the Pottery from Nahal Tut
Keywords: Menashe Hills, petrography, geology, fabric
Nine samples of Persian-period wares were selected for analysis. Five petrographic groups were identified, pointing to the presence of local wares, close-range imports from the Carmel shore and long-range imports from the Aegean area or western Cyprus. It seems that the trade or exchange patterns at Nahal Tut Site VIII were oriented overseas.
Chemical Study of Basaltic Hopper-Rubber (Olynthus) Mills from Nahal Tut and ‘En Hofez
Keywords: Menashe Hills, geology, chemical composition
Four basalt stones of hopper-rubber (Olynthus) mills were sampled for chemical analysis; two were found at Nahal Tut and two, from ‘En Hofez. All were dated on the basis of stratigraphy to the second half of the fourth century BCE. The chemical examination established that the millstones from Nahal Tut were manufactured in the area of Nisyros, in the Aegean region.
A Persian-Period Building from Tel Ya‘oz (Tell Ghaza)
(Hebrew, pp. 1*–24*; English summary, p. 203)
Orit Segal, Raz Kletter and Irit Ziffer
Keywords: Mediterranean coast, mollusks, jewelry, metal finds, tobacco pipe, Mamluk coin, numismatics
A large, one-phase building was discovered. Its architecture is typical of the Persian period: walls made of fieldstones with regular intervals of well-dressed ashlar stones. All the pottery from the building was fragmentary, dating to the fifth century BCE. Imported vessels include Eastern Greek and Attic wares. Two heads of drinking vessels (rytha), in the shape of a ram and a lion, were found, as well as an almost intact rython with an anthropomorphic face.
Drinking Vessels (Rytha) from Tel Ya‘oz
(Hebrew, pp. 25*–37*; English summary, pp. 203–204)
Irit Ziffer, Raz Kletter and Orit Segal
Keywords: Mediterranean coast, pottery, art, iconography, technology, prestige item
Three drinking vessels (rytha) were found in the Persian-period building at Tel Ya‘oz: an almost complete human-headed rython and two animal heads, of a ram and a lion. The anthropomorphic rython is undoubtedly the most extraordinary of the three. It is a local adaptation of an Achaemenid vessel that was used at royal banquets. Its Egyptian appearance might suggest that is was created by an Egyptian working on the Levantine coast, or by a Levantine trained in Egyptian iconography.
Petrographical Analysis of the Persian-Period Ceramic Assemblage from Tel Ya‘oz
(Hebrew, pp. 39*–44*; English summary, pp. 204–205)
Keywords: Mediterranean coast, petrography, pottery, geology
Thirty-nine samples of Persian-period wares were selected for analysis, and five petrographic groups were identified. The overwhelming majority of the assemblage was of non-local provenance. Several ranges of import were discerned, and it seems that the import-trade-exchange patterns at the site were oriented overseas or toward the Phoenician coast.
The Persian-Period Archaeozoological Finds from Tel Ya‘oz
(Hebrew, pp. 45*–47*)
Keywords: Mediterranean coast, fauna, animals
The archaeozoological finds comprised the bones of domesticated sheep/goat and cattle, and mollusks.
Buildings of the Persian, Hellenistic and Early Roman Periods at Khirbat Kabar, in the Northern Hebron Hills
(Hebrew, pp. 49*–71*; English summary, pp. 205–207)
Keywords: stone vessels, Second Temple period, limekilns, art, epigraphy, burial
Two buildings were exposed. The northern building comprised rooms surrounding a central courtyard; the pottery finds from this building date from the Persian period, and chiefly, to the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods (first century BCE). Only two rooms survived of the southern building, which apparently opened to a courtyard. Many storage-jar sherds were found, seemingly in situ. On two of them, Aramaic letters were incised before firing. An Achaemenid-style conical glass seal was unearthed, depicting a hero or a ruler holding flanking lions. This building may have had an administrative or storage function. Three tombs were uncovered in proximity to the southern building; they probably date to the Persian period.
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