x (cannot classify)
This page summarizes the results from 5 chemical analyses performed in 1945, 1949, 1964, 1984, & 2004. Another study was performed in 1970 by the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, but their resultant deviation of +50% to -30% uncertainty yielded no important information beyond that reported by the later studies presented below. After the first significant quantity of handles had been recovered by Bliss & Macalister, they noted that handles with different stamps all had such similar ware that they were likely to have been made at the same approximate location since similar vessels produced by modern potteries at Ramleh, Jerusalem, & Gaza contained distinguishable ceramic differences.
1945 StudyThe following is the English summary of the Hebrew article, "Petrographical Examination of Pottery" by Ruth B. Kallner [later Amiran] & J. Vroman on pp. 10-4 of Bulletin of the Jewish Palestine Exploration Society, vol. XII 1945-1946:
Petrographical analyses have been introduced into technological examinations of pottery during recent years. The method described here--examination of the heavy mineral fraction of the pottery--has been used by the authors to study certain wares in Palestine.
It was first applied to sherds of the Kh. Kerak ware with the view of establishing its controversial provenance. The results show that they were made of basaltic earth.
The method & its applicability are illustrated by an investigation of the Royal jar-handles (LMLK), which yielded the following results: The material of the handles stamped "Hebron" & "Socho" is very much alike, indicating origin from neighbouring sites. Socho is, therefore, to be identified with Kh. Shuweika E. of Dhahiriya. The jar stamped "Memshat" is of quite different material from those mentioned as well as from sherds found at Kurnub, but shows much resemblance with sherds from Tell ed-Duweir, giving support to Clermont-Ganneau's identification:--MMST=Moreshet=Maresha (PEF [vol. 31, July] 1899, pp. 204-7).The following table was also presented, showing that only 4 LMLK handles were used, plus representative sherds from 2 other sites:
The minerals listed in the Hebrew columns are: Augite, Hornblende, [?], Titanite, Rutile, [?], Zircon, Tourmaline, [?].
P.939 details are unknown
P.3569 is an S4L from an undocumented excavation
P.542 is an M2U from Moresheth-Gath
1949 StudyIn BA vol. 12 #4 (reported third-hand by the editor, G. Ernest Wright, from David Diringer's correspondence), Dr. K.C. (Kingsley Charles) Dunham found no distinction between the clay used in handles that had the 4 inscription names & both types of icons. Seven handles were used, & he also remarked about the presence of limestone particles: "Thus it is more probable that the clay used came from a formation, perhaps alluvial, laid down in the drainage of a country of sandy limestone rocks." Here is the main list of ingredients that were found:
1964 StudyArchaeometry vol. 7 (by A. Millett, J.B. Pritchard, & E.K. Ralph) presented similar results from a group of LMLK handles excavated from Gibeon & Nasbeh that were compared to jar fragments from Gibeon inscribed "GBON". The chart below illustrates a distinctive difference in 3 (MgO, MnO, & Na2O) of the 9 chemicals scrutinized by emission spectography, but it also notes a few exceptions where an individual LMLK handle came closer to the GBON reading than to other LMLK handles. The scientists noted that the significant difference in CaO readings for some of the LMLK handles could easily be explained by the imbalanced presence of calcium grits, which were not mixed consistently by the LMLK potters as seen in many of the photos on this website (e.g., compare these two H4L handles from Nasbeh: M405 (few grits) & M2827 (many grits)). These calcite inclusions were also noted in the subsequent 1984 study as acting like a diluent that would affect the Ca readings of the clay between the various samples.
The article did not explain why there were 2 groups of HBRN samples like it did for the MMST & ZYF handles since all of their HBRN handles were supposedly from Gibeon, so that's why there are parenthetical question marks in the chart heading. The parenthetical "g" & "n" represent Gibeon & Nasbeh respectively. Here's a breakdown of samples used:
1984 StudyThe wide chart below was compiled from data found by H. Mommsen, I. Perlman, & J. Yellin published in IEJ vol. 34 #2-3, 1984 by The Israel Exploration Society. Please refer to that document for a detailed explanation; the compilation provided below is only intended to give an overview of the results & demonstrate that LMLK jars (Type 484 & pithoi) were made of chemically different clay from 2 distinct geographical regions. Only 9 chemical elements are shown in this abbreviated collection of results that actually analyzed 22 elements by the neutron activation technique. It is impossible to know for sure exactly where/when the jars were made & only deepens the LMLK mystery since it doesn't prove any chemical distinction between jars stamped with different types of seals (including some from complete jars, some with circles, & some with personal seals)--altogether an excellent, comprehensive variety. Samples from handles excavated at the following sites were used in the analysis (quantity of samples in parentheses):
2004 Study"Rosette-stamped Handles: Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis" by Joseph Yellin & Jane M. Cahill in IEJ vol. 54 #2 (published by The Israel Exploration Society) reported a study similar to the 1984 one, except this time the majority of handles were Rosettes with a few LMLKs for reference.
The essentional conclusion was that the Rosette corpus is similar to the LMLKs, in that the majority were manufactured from the same Shephelah clay used for LMLKs (named "RSH I" for Rosette-stamped Handle), & a minority were manufactured from the same Jerusalem clay as the LMLK pithoi (named "RSH II"). However, one important discovery was a single handle "that exhibits a unique chemical composition"; the provenance of this clay was not determined by Yellin & Cahill, & not given any formal classification (designated "RSH III" for convenience on this website).
Samples from handles excavated at 17 sites (plus 1 from the antiquities market) were used in the analysis (all Rosettes except as noted in parentheses):
Here's a breakdown of the chemical elements found for each handle type (quantity of handles used to obtain these mean values is in parentheses). As with the 1984 study, only a small portion of the elements analyzed are shown here for comparison--please refer to the original document for comprehensive chemical details:
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||This page was created on March 21, 2002, & last updated on December 24, 2010|