Early Bronze Age Goods Exchange in the Southern Levant by Milevski Ianir;

Early Bronze Age Goods Exchange in the Southern Levant by Milevski Ianir;

Author:Milevski, Ianir;
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 4693300
Publisher: Routledge

Figure 8.4 Distribution map of hippopotamus remains and ivory objects.

Until now the proposed habitat for these animals was the Mediterranean coast and perhaps the rivers of the Central Coastal Plain including Nahal Hataninim, the Yarkon River, Nahal Lachish and Nahal Shiqma. In this setting, it was clear that the tusks found at Arad and Ai were the result of exchange with the areas where the hippopotamus lived. The existence of faunal remains of hippopotamus other than teeth at Bet Yerah and Jericho suggests that at these places hippopotamus herds also existed. Alternatively, it is interesting to note that at both Jericho and Bet Yerah the finds are foot bones which could have remained with a skin that was transported to these sites17 or else the bones could have arrived as a luxury food item.

As was pointed out in Chapter 3, it was a change in the sphere of distribution of northern pottery in the Southern Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea area (e.g. Jericho, Bab edh-Dhra), that was expressed in the absence of MW in this area. This change in the distribution northern pottery reverts back in the following EB III. The distribution of ivory and bulls heads is consistent with the new situation in the EB III, although it begins in the EB II.

The phenomenon of the bulls heads in Canaan is a local one, even if reminiscent of a northern influence (cf. de Miroschedji 1993:38). Both from an iconographic point of view (Beck 1995:23) and the carving technique (Caubet and Poplin 1995:489), the Canaanite workshop(s) worked with a quite different approach from those of Syria and the region of the Euphrates, which manufactured other objects. We prefer to see in the bulls heads the result of several workshops rather than one (cf. Ben-Tor 1972) because the iconographic, chronological and raw material features of the different items are not exactly the same (cf. Table 8.4). It is clear that the hollow in the base of the heads facilitated the head to be fixed, most probably to a stick. It is most likely that the bull’s heads were the upper part of a scepter (de Miroschedji 1988:87, 1993; Beck 1995:24), and not a decorative element of furniture—a chair for instance, as proposed by Garstang (1932:18)—since no pairs of these objects have been found. As the bull’s heads were recovered mostly in cultic or burial contexts, it must be assumed that they were utilized in certain ceremonials or rituals. As Beck (1995:25) has pointed out, the figure of the bull has numerous identifications with deities in the Ancient Near East, and is associated with the royal authorities (cf. Oman 2001; Borowski 2002:407–8).18 At Ugarit, for instance, the bull is the most frequently encountered animal appearing as the epithet for the gods El and Baal (Foster 2002:299, Borowski, idem).19

There are, however, several possibilities about the way in which the production and exchange of the bull’s heads were conducted by the workshops. One possibility is that a number of workshops existed during the


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