“Crossing the Lines”—Elaborately Decorated Chalcolithic Basalt Bowls in the Southern Levant

Rivka Chasan, Edwin C.M. van den Brink, Danny Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Late Chalcolithic period in the southern Levant shows a marked increase in symbolic expression. While most Late Chalcolithic basalt bowls are undecorated, notable amounts of these were adorned, and their decorations typically conform to a few canonized conventions. A small amount of the decorated Late Chalcolithic basalt bowls are further incised with unconventional, unique designs on their exteriors. These elaborately decorated basalt bowls stand in sharp contrast to the conventionally decorated ones, thus signifying their different roles. This article discusses their geographic distributions, frequencies, and characteristics, and offers further suggestions as to their position within the Late Chalcolithic symbolic and prestige item systems. The analysis reveals regional patterns—the elaborately decorated basalt bowls are constrained to south of the Yarkon River—suggesting that the function and symbolic value of these bowls were probably geographically restricted. Their limited distribution underlines the exclusivity of these elaborately decorated bowls during the Late Chalcolithic period.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)145-162
Number of pages18
JournalBulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 May 2019


  • Basalt bowls
  • Conventions
  • Decoration
  • Late Chalcolithic
  • Prestige goods
  • Southern Levant

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Archaeology


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