SHRINES AND CERAMICS IN CHALCOLITHIC ISRAEL: THE VIEW THROUGH THE PETROGRAPHIC MICROSCOPE

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Abstract

The question of the nature of social and economic life in the Chalcolithic southern Levant has recently been the subject of increasing interest. Several archaeological sites and features in Israel have been interpreted as elements of religion. These include the shrines at En-Gedi and Gilat and the Nahal Mishmar hoard. The results of petrographic analyses of the pottery assemblages of these three sites, as well as the ceramic cores of copper artefacts from Nahal Mishmar and additional sites, are presented. In light of these results some previous hypotheses are tested. Alternative suggestions are offered as to the role of these sites in the life of the inhabitants of the Chalcolithic southern Levant.

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