Biblical Archaeology Review 37:1, January/February 2011

Strata: What Is It?

A. Phoenician juicer

B. Israelite shoehorn

C. Babylonian calendar device

D. Egyptian foot measure

E. Cypriot offering bracket

Answer: E) Cypriot offering bracket

The precise function of this strange, 14-inch-tall ceramic object, often called a “wall bracket,” has long puzzled archaeologists. The piece’s oblong shape, flat back and prominent upper hole indicate that it was most likely hung and displayed on a wall or other flat surface, while the scoop-shaped arm protruding from its base may have been intended to hold small amounts of libations or incense. Archaeologist Nava Panitz-Cohen of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem suggests that such decorated brackets were used primarily by Cypriots as offering stands for small, private family rituals held inside their homes.1

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