Biblical Archaeology Review 1:4, December 1975

Two Cases of Discrimination

The Israeli Antiquities Department and the Near East Archaeological Society

Last summer, a kernos was found in a field of an Israeli kibbutz. A kernos is a hollow pottery ring about 12 inches in diameter with various hollow pottery objects sitting on the ring and attached to it. Six objects originally perched on the ring of the kernos which turned up last summer, of which four remain—two birds, a chalice and a pomegranate. Kernoi are rare finds anytime, but this one is especially valuable because it is one of the most nearly complete such vessels ever discovered. It dates to the Iron I period and is 3,000 years old.

The kernos is obviously a cultic vessel although it is not clear how it was used. Apparently wine was poured into the hollow ring through the chalice, a prayer of some kind was chanted and the wine was then poured out through one of the other objects.

The kibbutz kernos was discovered in the course of an emergency excavation by the Israeli Department of Antiquities. A kibbutz tractor levelling some new farmland came upon ancient remains and the work was stopped until the Department could excavate. It was then that the kernos was uncovered.

Shortly after the kernos came to light, the Israel Department of Antiquities gave a picture of this unusual vessel to The Jerusalem Post which promptly published it. So we anticipated no difficulty in obtaining a picture for readers of The Biblical Archaeology Review.

However, the Department of Antiquities refused to release a picture of the kernos to The Biblical Archaeology Review for reasons which remain obscure.

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