Publication Date

April 2015


Kate Birney, Johan Varekamp


Archaeology, Earth and Environmental Sciences


English (United States)


Tel Ashkelon, located off of the southern coast of modern day Israel, was a major port city during the Hellenistic Period, ranging from ca 350 B.C.- ca 68 B.C. Determining how Hellenized, and whether such changes resulted from Greek trade or Greek migration, strengthens the current understanding of the city. Cooking vessels, created to satisfy the participants of the local economic market, act as a proxy to document the cooking culture at the time. The casserole form originates in Greece in the early 5th century B.C. and appears in local fabric at Ashkelon in the early 3rd century B.C. onwards. This study analyzes 30 sherds with thin section optical mineralogy to determine locality of cooking vessel fabric ranging from the early to late Hellenistic. Samples analysis yielded 5 distinct fabric groups. Groups 1-4 represent varying local fabrics surrounding Ashkelon. Boundaries extend north just past Ashdod, east to the start of the Shephelah, south to Gaza, and west through Ashkelon to the coast. Group 5 represents the non-local imported fabric as a point of comparison of foreign vessels. All cooking pots and casseroles come from groups 1- 4. The inundation of Greek settlers at Ashkelon in the late Hellenistic elicited the entry of the new casserole form into local fabrics, which the Ashkelon inhabitants adopted into their cooking culture though the rest of the Hellenistic Period. The acceptance of casseroles in local cook culture facilitates the post processual idea that pottery as active as it contributed to the Hellenization of the city.



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