Some extraordinary finds from the Iron Age II levels at Timnah are three pottery molds for casting female figurines. These are published here for the first time. They were found on a floor of stratum III, above an artificial fill of a street or a courtyard, and they date to the eighth century B.C.

The three clay molds were formed by pressing lumps of clay on original masters. The masters would have been made of either clay, wood or possibly even ivory.

The potter’s fingerprints can be seen on the backs of the molds. The molds seem to have been made in a rather haphazard manner. After firing, the clay molds were used to make additional figurines of the same form for Timnahites.

Two of the molds are complete, but only the head of the third is preserved. All three depict female figures. The two complete figures are standing nudes in frontal posture.

The broken head (mold and modern cast, top) is the finest of the three. It shows a delicate female face, somewhat fleshy, with a necklace and hairdress that resemble Phoenician prototypes, especially known to us in ivory exemplars. The delicate coiffure on the head of the mold suggests that the original head was sculptured in the round in ivory.

Join the BAS Library!

Already a library member? Log in here.

Institution user? Log in with your IP address.