Biblical Archaeology Review 46:1, January/February 2020

Strata: Archaeology Argot: kernos

A kernos (plural kernoi) is a distinctive type of ancient Greek pottery introduced to the Iron Age Holy Land by Aegean traders and immigrants, likely from Cyprus. It is composed of a hollow ring with several smaller vessels—sometimes in the shape of anthropomorphic figures—attached to it. These smaller vessels held liquids used for libation offerings and were usually connected to the hollow ring through openings at the bottoms of each vessel. This design allowed a single pour to fill the multiple vessels at once. Because of this design, and the fact that many are found in cultic settings, archaeologists believe kernoi served as ritual vessels for pouring libations during cultic ceremonies.

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