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Deby Sandhaus


M.A. thesis topic: The Contribution of Pottery Assemblages to Understanding the Plan and Function of the Hellenistic Urban House

Advisor: Prof. Zeev Weiss


A Hellenistic neighborhood at Nysa-Scythopolis (Tel Istaba) was excavated by Gaby Mazor and Rachel Bar-Nathan on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The neighborhood is arranged in insulae and comprises rows of two-storied houses. A thick destruction layer (1.5-2 m high), consisting of ashes and brick wall collapse, covered the whole complex. The destruction of Nysa-Scythopolis, one of the cities belonging to the Coele-Syria region, is ascribed to the Hasmonaean conquest of the city in 107/8 BCE.

Inside the houses, two pottery assemblages were identified. The upper one, including complete vessels, was found immediately below and inside the collapsed material, on top of remains of the second-storey floor. The lower assemblage includes pottery lying on the ground floor within a thick fire layer.

My MA research aims to elucidate the contribution of ceramic assemblages to our understanding of the spatial organization and functioning of the Hellenistic urban house. This will be done by examining the distribution of vessel types in each storey of the insulae at Nysa-Scythopolis and investigating the significance of the unexpected appearance of certain vessels in each level (e.g. storage jars, cooking pots and braziers in the upper storey).


  • Area supervisor for the Hazor excavation project, directed by Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor
  • Publication of the 8th century BCE at Hazor, with Dr. Doron Ben-Ami (since 1990)
  • Beth-She’an Project of the Israel Antiquities Authority, publication of pottery (since 1994)
  • Area supervisor for the Sepphoris excavations, directed by Prof. E. Netzer and Dr. Z. Weiss (1993-1994)
  • On-site pottery registration for the renewed excavations at Masada, under the direction of Prof. E. Netzer and G. Stiebel (1996-1998)
  • Analysis of pottery from the Hasmonean palaces Jericho (published) and Masada (forthcoming) as assistant to Dr. Rachel Bar-Nathan
  • Survey for the The Index of Jewish Art (1993-1995)