Biblical Archaeology Review 21:1, January/February 1995
Excavation Opportunities 1995

Prize Find: Priestly Blessing of a Voyage

Recovery of a harbor scene at Dor

By Ephraim Stern

Part of a Persian period pit produced a perplexing prize find. It was discovered at the end of our 13th season (1993) at Tel Dor.a

Persian period pits (fifth-fourth century B.C.E.) are ubiquitous in Palestinian tells. Why, just at this time, it was so popular to dig pits is not clear. But they are everywhere. They were used to store grain and other agricultural products, and as a final resting place for broken and old cult objects like figurines (a favissa). What is clear is that they often disturb the stratigraphy of the site, for they extend down into earlier strata, but belong to a higher stratum. The excavator must be careful to identify the pit and its contents with the higher stratum.

This particular pit, about two feet deep in our area D2, had already been identified and had yielded several interesting finds—a faience amulet depicting an Egyptian god used as an apotropaic (to ward off evil) on a necklace; an ostracon (an inscribed potsherd) with three lines of text that may have identified the contents of the jar;1 and the usual Dor pottery of the period, both imported Greek and local Phoenician.

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