Pottery production in Jerusalem during the Iron Age: A new compositional profiling

David Ben-Shlomo, Hans Mommsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a first large-scale compositional study of Iron Age pottery from Jerusalem, the capital of Judah during the Iron Age II (ca. 1000–586 B.C.E.). A sizable group of pottery vessels was analyzed by petrography and neutron activation. The aims were to identify more clearly the compositional profile of the Jerusalem pottery products and attempt to reconstruct trade and taxation patterns during the Iron Age II in the days of the kingdom of Judah. We present results defining new petrographic and chemical profiles not linked with the Moẓa clay previously associated with the Jerusalem production. Vessels made of Moẓa clay showed diverse chemical profiles, possibly indicating several sources within the Central Hills of Israel. The petrographic and chemical deductions were compared, and the complementary nature of these two techniques for pottery analysis was further emphasized, in particular in regards to the sourcing of highly calcareous clays. The compositional results of the pottery indicate that trade or transition of tax commodities related to sites around Jerusalem may have been more intensive in the latter part of the period (the Iron Age IIB), while evidence for trade with more distant regions is generally limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-363
Number of pages15
JournalGeoarchaeology - An International Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2018


  • Iron Age
  • Jerusalem
  • compositional profiling
  • neutron activation
  • petrography
  • pottery

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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