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David Ben-Shlomo


Ph.D. dissertation topic: Pottery Production Centers of Iron Age Pottery Wares in Philistia: An Archaeological and Archaeometric Study

Advisors: Dr. Ilan Sharon, Dr. Aren Maeir


The research is an archaeological and archaeometric study including chemical fingerprinting and petrography. It comprises two main case studies of different pottery groups: the Philistine Monochrome and Bichrome wares of the Iron Age I (12th-11th centuries BCE) and the so-called “Ashdod Ware” red-slipped and burnished pottery of the Iron Age IIA (10th-9th centuries BCE). These wares all principally appear in the Philistine cities of Tel Ashdod, Tel Miqne-Ekron, Tell es-Safi-Gath and Ashkelon.

Previous studies have indicated that the Philistine Monochrome and Bichrome wares were locally made, though their intra-regional provenience has not been sufficiently established. The Iron IIA “Ashdod Ware” has hardly been studied and it remains to be established whether this pottery is local as well and how does the distribution of its production centers compare with the Iron I picture. The study is expected to throw light on cultural-political change and continuity throughout the Iron Age, as well as trade routes and mechanisms.

The method used is chemical analysis by Inductively-Coupled Plasma (ICP MS and AES), which yields accurate chemical profiles of pottery. Major and minor elements are obtained by ICP-AES and trace elements by ICP-MS. The chemical grouping of the samples is established by multivariate statistical analysis.

The results show that all the Philistine pottery (both early and late) was made in Philistia, with various production centers representing coastal cities (Ashdod and Ashkelon) and cities further inland (Ekron and Gath). Some of the vessels were evidently traded between the Philistine sites. During the Iron Age I more inland vessels were traded to the coast than vice versa, while during the Iron Age II the trade was almost entirely from the coast towards inland regions.


  • Excavations and publication of Sha‘ar Hagolan; Neolithic architecture in the Near East
  • Publication of M. Dothan’s excavations at the cemetery of Azor
  • Publication of the excavations at Tel Miqne-Ekron (especially small finds)
  • Publication of M. Dothan’s excavations at Tel Ashdod
  • Petrographic evidence of trade in building materials in the Levant
  • Chemical and petrographic analysis of pottery from Tell es-Safi/Gath

List of Publications