The Mysterious Pot from Tel Batash
Sidebar to: Excavating in Samson Country—Philistines and Israelites at Tel Batash
A pot is a pot is a pot—until you find one perforated by dozens of small holes. That is what happened at Batash.
Ovoid, wide-mouthed, two-handled vessels—like this one, but without the holes—appear frequently in late seventh-century B.C. levels. Their unadorned surfaces bear regular, parallel, hardly discernible ridges, the sign of a pot turned on a wheel, a pot whose moist clay was smoothed between the potter’s fingers as he gave the wheel another twirl to preserve its spin.
In the debris of a house at Batash destroyed by the Babylonians in about 600 B.C., we found some pottery fragments pierced by holes before firing. When pieced together these sherds became a 23-inch-high pot that was a sport, a mutant of our familiar, rather homely, basic ovoid vessel.
No other such pot has turned up so far at Batash. In fact, the only other one I know of anywhere is a jar found in a cultic corner at Megiddo, in a stratum dated to the time of Solomon in the late tenth century B.C. The cultic nature of this location at Megiddo was assumed from the altars and cultic stands that were found there.
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