POTTER (See Occupations and Professions: Pottery)

POTTER (יָצַר, H3670, to form, frame, make, fashioner; κεραμεύς, G3038, potter). The product of the “fashioner,” the potter, is the most significant artifact in the Near E for archeological purposes. Pottery is a synthetic stone. At Jericho, Wadi Fallah on Mt. Carmel, Buddha near Petra, and Byblos in Syria, a well-developed industry in stone vessels has been found dating back to the period prior to 6500 b.c.

Historical survey.

Because of the small amount of prehistoric excavation carried out at the present time, there is no common consecutive pattern of the stone age shifting into the beginning of the pottery period. Sometime at the end of the seventh, or beginning of the sixth millennium, the art of making pottery and baked clay figurines was introduced to Syria and Palestine. This ability seems to have come from the Anatolian Plateau when groups of people brought in the new ceramic culture.

Regional peculiarities are distinguishable in the pottery from the sixth and fifth millennia. Variations in pottery may be observed such as forms, texture of the ware, and decorative technique including both burnishing and painting. Once the art of making pottery was discovered, artisans quickly developed great skill in all phases of ceramic production. There was a great demand for pottery as it was much superior to the baskets, which could not hold liquid and were easy prey to rodents. It was much cheaper than leather, which required an involved process in preparation.

By the time of Abraham, the Palestinians had not only the stone and clay jar but also expensive copper ones and the still more expensive bronze artifacts with which to cope with life. Man’s tools, weapons, ornaments, and figurines could then be made out of a wide choice of materials. Pottery, however, because of its cheapness and versatility, remained basic in industry.

By the time of Joseph, Pal. was producing the finest pottery ever manufactured in that land. The strong outside influence upon this making of pottery ware was the world unrest. This brought from Mesopotamia by way of Syria the best craftsmen into the Near E. All through history Palestinian ceramics were also influenced to a greater or lesser degree by Egypt. The poorest period of Palestinian ceramics was in the days of the Judges. The cent. preceding Joshua’s invasion saw Mycenean and esp. Cypriot waves of influence entering Pal. from the W. The last of these western ceramic influences was the Philistine, which came in forcefully shortly after Joshua’s time. From then on Palestinian pottery was essentially local until the intertestamental period. At that time Gr. importations modified some Palestinian forms. By NT times imported ware was also coming from Italy.

Pottery clays.

Clay is a substance from the earth that the chemist describes as a hydrated silicate of alumina mixed with a variety of impurities in varying proportions. Sometimes the essential clay factor is less than fifty per cent of the earth material used by the potter. If the clay is too pure it is not very plastic. Such a clay is called a primary clay, because it is found at the place of origin. It is produced by chemical action upon rocks from which come the chemical constituency of clay. Kaolin is the best known primary clay. Porcelain, the finest pottery, is produced from it.

The clays used in Pal., however, were for the most part secondary clays, which are transported, or sedimentary, clays. In their travels, such clays have been ground fine by friction and have picked up numerous impurities that influence the finished ware in a variety of ways. The mixing of the clay with water, the fashioning of a piece of pottery, the drying, and firing process are all influenced by the nature of the clay.

After the clay has been cleaned and brought to the proper plasticity, it can then be fashioned into any desired shape. The shaped vessel can be finished off with any selected surface pattern and it will retain that pattern no matter how crude or how delicate. The vessel is then dried, after which it is fired in the kiln. The shape and the markings are then permanent. The chemical change from the heat in the kiln actually turns the clay into a new substance—a synthetic stone. Not only does the plastic clay become rock-like but the vessel will take on a color dictated by the contents of the impurities in the clay. Iron oxide will produce a vessel that has colors from red to brown. Iron hydrates give shades from yellow to cream. Iron carbonate yields shades of gray. Organic matter may produce in the clay shades of black to brown. The color of the fired vessel usually differs from that of the unfired ware.

Fashioning pottery.

The most common way of making early pottery was by hand. This method usually was abandoned after the invention of the wheel. The former method commonly used coils of clay to form the shape of the vessel, which was then smoothed off into finished form. Most of the pottery used in Bible times was thrown on the wheel. Pottery could also be made in a press mold. In this process the clay is carefully pressed into the mold. After drying it shrinks from the mold. This method was used chiefly in the making of figurines. Beginning in Hel. times it was used also in the making of lamps.

Pottery could be decorated in various ways. The most common technique was that of impressing a pattern on the vessel before it was set out to dry. The patterns were numerous. They might be combings, bands and rows of incisions, chevrons, or beadings. Patterns or pictures could be painted upon the unfired ware with a brush. This type of decoration was most common in the Late Bronze Age, the period preceding Joshua’s conquest. The Philistine ware is the only important painted ware after the conquest.

The better vessels were finished off with a slip, which is an extra pure grade of clay that will produce the finest of colors. It was the consistency of cream and was applied to the vessel before firing. An additional technique, which produced one of the most pleasing patterns, was burnishing. This was at its best in the Middle Bronze and Iron II periods. To burnish a vessel the potter used a hard instrument, such as a piece of bone, and pressed it against the original vessel or the slipped vessel, producing the desired pattern. This method gave a play of light and shadow to the fired vessel.

There are references in the OT that describe the process of pottery manufacturing. 1 Chronicles 4:23 speaks of those who “were the potters” and describes them as dwelling “with the king for his work.” The term used for the potter is יוֹצֵר, H3450, one who “fashions” objects. The work may be with clay, or it may be with other materials such as wood and metal. The worker with clay is the craftsman to whom the word is most frequently applied in the OT (Ps 2:9; Isa 29:16; Jer 18:2-6; Lam 4:2; Zech 11:13).

Reference is also made to the treading of the clay as it is prepared for the fashioning process (Nah 3:14; Isa 41:25). Clay was used for the making of building bricks (Nah 3:14). Anyone can tread brick clay. Isaiah 41:25 specifically speaks of the potter treading out his own clay. This was an art and determined the condition of the vessels when they came out of the kiln. Improper treading of the clay could result in ruined vessels.

Jeremiah 18:1-6 refers to the potter’s house. This was not a reference to the home of the potter, but to his place of manufacture. The house would be near to a field where clay could be weathered and stored and where it could be prepared for fashioning. A kiln for firing the ware and a dump for the broken and discarded vessels would be a part of the potter’s complex. The house would provide cover for the wheel upon which the potter would fashion his vessels in all kinds of weather. This building would also make possible the control of the drying process before the firing. It would be necessary to closely watch the evaporation of the newly fashioned objects since this would also influence the results of the firing process.

Although most of the pottery in Biblical times was shaped on the potter’s wheel, the one specific reference to the wheel in the OT is Jeremiah 18:3. There were two types of wheel. The hand-turned wheel consisted of two discs. The heavier wheel below gave momentum to keep the lighter one above turning, but the vessel was shaped on the upper wheel. The foot-turned wheel consisted of a large wheel which was turned below by the potter’s foot. The small wheel above, connected to the lower wheel by a shaft, was the one on which the prepared clay was thrown and fashioned by the potter. The apocrypha includes a detailed account of the work of the potter at the wheel (Ecclus 38:29-32). As the ball of plastic clay spun around rapidly, the centrifugal force upon the clay was controlled by the deft fingers of the potter so that any desired vessel could be obtained as long as the quality of the clay permitted the completion of the vessel. Jeremiah witnessed that factors can be present that defeat the original intention of the potter. The clay may be the wrong kind. It may have too many impurities. The treading may not have been properly done, or the potter may have failed to place the ball of plastic clay in the exact center of the wheel. If the clay does not yield the desired product, the potter can then reshape the clay into a ball and produce another vessel. It was this process that Jeremiah noted carefully (Jer 18:3, 4).

Clay toys such as animal figures and dolls were fashioned from clay by means of freehand modeling. Jars and bowls could be formed by this method, but archeological evidence indicates that this was the situation only in the early days of the OT. In the Bronze Age and in the time of the prophets of Israel, the bodies of the Astarte figurines were formed by freehand modeling.

A third method by which clay was fashioned in Biblical times was the use of the press mold. A design was prepared in a mold, which was made of metal, wood, or pottery. This design was left on the wet clay when it was pressed into the mold. Reference is made to the power of God in the words, “It is changed like clay under the seal” (Job 38:14). The term “seal” is interpreted as “mold” so that the reference is to the change produced in the clay by the pressure of the mold. The Canaanites in Pal. made plaques featuring the Astarte-type figure by using the press mold. In the time of Jezebel, an idol figure of Astarte was produced by joining the head of the figure, which was made in a press mold, to the body, which had been fashioned by the freehand method. A stamp-seal was used to imprint trademarks on jar handles in the later Israelite period. Sometimes this stamp itself was made of pottery and when pressed on the handle of a cooking pot it fixed its ownership or trademark.

Firing pottery.

The final product of the potter is dependent upon the firing process in the kiln. As much skill is required here as in throwing the best ware. Profit or loss depended upon the skill of the kilnman in controlling the varied temperatures of the kilns at all times. No reference is found in the OT to the technique involved, but this is not surprising since such trade secrets were not shared. “The Tower of the Ovens” is mentioned (Neh 3:11; 12:38) which may be a reference to the pottery kilns. Since the “Potsherd Gate” (Jer 19:2) was nearby, the activity of the potter seems to be foremost in the area. Ware that was broken, cracked, misshaped, over-fired, or under-fired had to be discarded after being taken out of the kiln. The amount of the discards would be considerable and thus would give the name to the gate. With the introduction of cisterns into Pal., discarded pottery could be ground up, added to plaster, and then applied as waterproofing for the floors and walls of the water storage installations.

Ceramic vocabulary.

According to Kelso’s study of the ceramic vocabulary used in the OT, some thirty-four Heb. and Aram. words are used for pottery vessels. Ten different terms are used for vessels in what is generally described as the “bowl family.” There are banquet bowls, or kraters, which would be very large. In the earlier history of Israel these bowls were frequently hand burnished and had two handles. Later they were ring burnished and four handles were attached. According to Exodus 24:6-8 the great bowl was used to hold half of the blood of the sacrificed oxen. From this supply Moses then sprinkled the people after reading from the book of the covenant. It was into a similar bowl that Gideon put the water wrung out from the fleece (Judg 6:38). A smaller medium-sized bowl that had no handles was used as the vessel from which the main dish of the meal was served. Considerable care was given to such a vessel so that it could remain ceremonially clean (2 Kings 21:13). A similar bowl was used as a bread bowl into which the flour and leaven were mixed and left to rise (Exod 12:34). Another bowl, smaller than the bread bowl, held burning charcoal and was used to start a fire (Zech 12:6). A still smaller bowl was used to hold salt (2 Kings 2:20). Elisha requested that a new vessel of this type be provided. He then put salt into it and threw the salt into the spring.

Another class of ceramic vessels designated in the OT includes all the cooking pots. The most common of these was the סִיר, H6105. This was a widemouth cooking pot that was broad and shallow. At first this was a vessel without handles. Later two handles were attached to it. It was used both for cooking (2 Kings 4:38-41) and as a wash basin (Ps 60:8). Reference is made to another type of cooking pot that may have been used for deep-fat frying (2 Sam 13:9).

There are references in the OT to many specialized ceramic vessels. One group is composed of storage jars. In this classification is the jar used for the storage of oil. Such a container is described as being in the home of the widow of a prophet (2 Kings 4:2). This jar had a spout that made possible the pouring of oil into any size container, large or small. Another jar had a hole-mouth and was designed for the storage of both dry materials, such as flour, and liquids. Frequently it served as a common water jar. Rebekah used such a jar at the well (Gen 24:14ff.). The LXX trs. the term specifically as a water jar (ὑδρία, G5620). However, in the encounter between Elijah and the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:12ff.) the hole-mouth jar contained flour. The mouth of this jar was wide enough for the owner to lift out a handful of flour easily, yet narrow enough to be covered over by a light flat stone or potsherd.

The Israelites produced and used a common ceramic pitcher that could hold either wine or water. Usually about eight or ten inches high, the earlier Iron Age pitchers generally had a pinched mouth whereas those of the Iron II period had a round mouth. According to Jeremiah 35:5 the Rechabites were offered wine in pitchers of this type. The most artistic and expensive vessel among pitchers was the בַּקְבֻּק, H1318, of Jeremiah’s time. This was “the gurgling vessel.” The narrow neck of the pitcher produced a gurgling sound when the contents were poured out. When Jeremiah wanted to portray Jerusalem he used this type of water decanter as representative of the people. After water was taken from the cistern in a pitcher, it would be served in the better houses from a decanter at the table. The בַּקְבֻּק, H1318, would have the advantage of aerating the water as it came from the vessel. For travelers and soldiers the potters produced a ceramic water canteen or pilgrim flask. This vessel appeared in the Late Bronze Age and continued in use until the middle of the Iron II period. The mouth of this canteen was shaped so as to be easily stoppered and also to make drinking from it quick and easy. It was this type of vessel that David took from the sleeping King Saul (1 Sam 26:11ff.).

Two very common household ceramic objects that appear in the OT are perfume juglets and lamps. Perfumed ointment was kept in a small juglet, which was from three to six inches high. When Elisha sent a prophet to anoint Jehu he gave him this particular type of ceramic vessel (2 Kings 9:1ff.). The OT lamp (נֵר, H5944) was literally “the light-giving” vessel. When the potter fashioned it, he made a small bowl, and then, while the clay was still soft, he pinched in the rim at some spot so that a wick could be placed in it. It was possible to produce seven such spouts and thus make a seven-branched lamp. Such lamps have been found by the archeologists in both Canaanite and Israelite houses. The term “candlestick” is not a good tr. for the luminary used in the Tabernacle and the Temple, for the “candles” were actually small lamps. The lamp was an essential for life (Jer 25:10). In the intertestamental period the Gr. lamp was introduced and the open-faced lamp of the OT practically disappeared.

These ceramic vessels of the OT and the NT give the major clues to an insight into the culture of the people that used them. Other factors aiding in the interpretation of a culture are to be found in weapons, tools, jewelry, and other items made of such substances as metal, wood, bone, and glass. These cultures, of course, must always be interpreted in terms of the building and houses in which the items are found.

Ceramic chronology.

Because of the cheapness of pottery, all archeological sites in Pal. have tens of thousands of fragments of pottery. From the characteristic forms of vessels, the ware, and the decoration, archeologists have been able to make out a time table. This chronology is based on the length of time that the various forms remained in circulation.

The following chart was prepared by Paul W. Lapp:


R. Amiran, Ancient Pottery of the Holy Land (1970), 1-306; J. L. Kelso, Ceramic Vocabulary of the Old Testament (1948), 1-48; P. W. Lapp, “Palestine in the Early Bronze Age,” Near Eastern Archaeology in the Twentieth Century, J. Sanders, ed. (1970), 101-131.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

pot’-er, pot’-er-i:

1. Historical Development

2. Forms

3. Methods of Production

4. Uses

5. Biblical Terms

6. Archaeological Significance


1. Historical Development:

(1) Prehistoric.

The making of pottery ranks among the very oldest of the crafts. On the rocky plateaus of Upper Egypt, overlooking the Nile valley, are found the polished red earthenware pots of the prehistoric Egyptians. These are buried in shallow oval graves along with the cramped-up bodies of the dead and their chipped flint weapons and tools. These jars are the oldest examples of the potter’s article It is inconceivable that in the country of Babel, Egypt’s great rival in civilization, the ceramic arts were less developed at the same period, but the difference in the nature of the country where the first Mesopotamian settlement probably existed makes it unlikely that relics of the prehistoric dwellers of that country will ever be recovered from under the debris of demolished cities and the underlying deposits of clay and silt.

(2) Babylonia.

The oldest examples of Babylonian ceramics date from the historical period, and consist of baked clay record tablets, bricks, drainage pipes, household shrines, as well as vessels for holding liquids, fruits and other stores. (See Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Chaldea and Assyria, I, figures 159, 160, II, figures 163, 168.) Examples of pottery of this early period are shown in the accompanying figures. By the 9th to the 7th century BC the shaping of vessels of clay had become well developed. Fragments of pottery bearing the name of Esarhaddon establish the above dates.

(3) Egypt.

With the close of the neolithic period in Egypt and the beginning of the historical or dynastic period (4500-4000 BC) there was a decline in the pottery article The workmanship and forms both became bad, and not until the IVth Dynasty was there any improvement. In the meantime the process of glazing had been discovered and the art of making beautiful glazed faience became one of the most noted of the ancient Egyptian crafts. The potter’s wheel too was probably an invention of this date.

(4) Palestine.

The making of pottery in the land which later became the home of the children of Israel began long before this people possessed the land and even before the Phoenicians of the coast cities had extended their trade inland and brought the earthenware vessels of the Tyrian or Sidonian potters. As in Egypt and Babylonia, the first examples were hand-made without the aid of the wheel.

It is probable that Jewish potters learned their art from the Phoenicians. They at least copied Phoenician and Mycenaean forms. During their wanderings the children of Israel were not likely to make much use of earthenware vessels, any more than the Arabs do today. Skins, gourds, wooden and metal vessels were less easily broken.

To illustrate this, a party, of which the writer was a member, took on a desert trip the earthenware water jars specially made for travel, preferring them to the skin bottles such as the Arab guides carried, for the bottles taint the water. At the end of six days only one out of eight earthenware jars was left. One accident or another had broken all the others.

When the Israelites became settled in their new surroundings they were probably not slow in adopting earthenware vessels, because of their advantages, and their pottery gradually developed distinctive though decadent types known as Jewish.

Toward the close of the Hebrew monarchy the pottery of the land again showed the effect of outside influences. The red and black figured ware of the Greeks was introduced, and still later the less artistic Roman types, and following these by several centuries came the crude glazed vessels of the Arabic or Saracenic period--forms which still persist.

2. Forms:

It is not within the limits of this article to describe in detail the characteristics of the pottery of the various periods. The accompanying illustrations taken from photographs of pottery in the Archaeological Museum of the Syrian Protestant College, Beirut, give a general idea of the forms. Any attempt at classification of Palestinian pottery must be considered more or less provisional, due to the uncertainty of origin of many forms. The classification of pre-Roman pottery here used is that adopted by Bliss and Macalister and based upon Dr. Petrie’s studies.

(1) Early Pre-Israelite, Called also "Amorite" (before 1500 BC).

Most of the vessels of this period are handmade and often irregular in shape. A coarse clay, turning red or black when burned, characterizes many specimens. Some are brick red. Specimens with a polished or burnished surface are also found.

(2) Late Pre-Israelite or Phoenician (1500-1000 BC).

From this period on, the pottery is all wheel-turned. The clay is of a finer quality and burned to a brown or red. The ware is thin and light. Water jars with pointed instead of fiat bases appear. Some are decorated with bands or lines of different colored meshes. Cypriote ware with its incised decorations was a like development of the period.

(3) Jewish (1000-300 BC).

Foreign influence is lost. The types which survive degenerate. New forms are introduced. Ordinary coarse clay burning red is used. Cooking pots are most characteristic. Many examples bear Hebrew stamps, the exact meaning of which is uncertain.

(4) Seleucidan.

Foreign influence again appears. Greek and other types are imported and copied. Ribbed surfaces are introduced. The old type of burnishing disappears.

(5) Roman and Saracenic.

Degenerate forms persisting till the present time.

(6) Present-day Pottery.

3. Methods of Production:

The clay as found in the ground is not suitable for use. It is dug out and brought to the vicinity of the pottery (the "potter’s field," Mt 27:7) and allowed to weather for weeks. The dry material is then dumped into a cement-lined tank or wooden trough and covered with water. When the lumps have softened they are stirred in the water until all have disintegrated and a thin slimy mud or "slip" has been formed. In coast cities-the potteries are all near the sea, as the sea-water is considered better for the "slipping" process. The slip is drawn off into settling tanks. All stones and lumps remain behind. When the clay has settled, the water is drawn off and the plastic material is worked by treading with the feet (compare Isa 41:25; The Wisdom of Solomon 15:7). The clay used on the Syrian coast is usually a mixture of several earths, which the potters have learned by experience gives the right consistency. The prepared clay is finally packed away and allowed to stand another six months before using, during which time the quality, especially the plasticity, is believed to improve.

Before the invention of the potter’s wheel the clay was shaped into vessels by hand. In all of the countries previously mentioned the specimens representing the oldest work are all hand-made. Chopped straw was usually added to the clay of these early specimens. This material is omitted in the wheel-shaped objects. In a Mt. Lebanon village which is noted for its pottery the jars are still made by hand. Throughout the country the clay stoves are shaped by hand out of clay mixed with straw.

The shaping of vessels is now done on wheels, the use of which dates back to earliest history. Probably the Egyptians were the first to use such a machine (IVth Dynasty). In their original form they were stone disks arranged to be turned by hand on a vertical axis. The wheel stood only a few inches above the ground, and the potter sat or squatted down on the ground before it as he shaped his object (see Wilkinson, Ancient Egypt, II, figure 397). The wheels used in Palestine and Syria today probably differ in no respect from those used in the potter’s house visited by Jeremiah (Jer 18:1-6). The wheel or, to be more exact, wheels (compare Jer 18:3) are fitted on a square wooden or iron shaft about 3 ft. long. The lower disk is about 20 inches in diameter, and the upper one 8 inches or 12 inches. The lower end of the shaft is pointed and fits into a stone socket or bearing in which it rotates. A second bearing just below the upper disk is so arranged that the shaft inclines slightly away from the potter. The potter leans against a slanting seat, bracing himself with one foot so that he will not slide off, and with the sole of his other foot he kicks the upper face of the lower wheel, thus making the whole machine rotate. The lower wheel is often of stone to give greater momentum. With a marvelous dexterity, which a novice tries in vain to imitate, he gives the pieces of clay any shape he desires.

After the vessel is shaped it is dried and finally fired in a furnace or kiln. The ancient Egyptian kiln was much smaller than the one used today (Wilkhinson, II, 192). Most of the kilns are of the crudest form of the "up-draught" variety, i.e. a large chamber with perforated bottom and a fireplace beneath. The fire passes up through the holes, around the jars packed in tiers in the chamber, and goes out at the top. An interesting survival of an early Greek form is still used in Rachiyet-el-Fakhar in Syria. In this same village the potters also use the lead dross, which comes from the parting of silver, for glazing their jars (compare Pr 26:23). In firing pottery there are always some jars which come out imperfect. In unpacking the kiln and storing the product others get broken. As a consequence the ground in the vicinity of a pottery is always strewn with potsherds (see also separate article). The ancient potteries can frequently be located by these sherds. The potter’s field mentioned in Mt 27:7,10 was probably a field near a pottery strewn with potsherds, thus making it useless for cultivation although useful to the potter as a place in which to weather his clay or to dry his pots before firing.

4. Uses:

Pottery was used in ancient times for storing liquids, such as wine or oil, fruits, grains, etc. The blackened bottoms of pots of the Jewish period show that they were used for cooking. Earthenware dishes were also used for boiling clothes. Every one of these uses still continues. To one living in Bible lands today it seems inconceivable that the Hebrews did not readily adopt, as some writers disclaim, the porous earthen water jars which they found already in use in their new country. Such jars were used for carrying live coals to start a fire, and not only for drawing water, as they are today, but for cooling it (Isa 30:14). The evaporation of the water which oozes through the porous material cools down the contents of a jar, whereas a metal or leathern vessel would leave it tepid or tainted. They were also used for holding shoemaker’s glue or wax; for filling up the cracks of a wall before plastering; ground up they are used as sand in mortar.

5. Biblical Terms:

"vessel," was of wood, metal or earthen-ware in Le 6:28; Ps 2:9; 31:12; Isa 30:14; Jer 19:11, etc.; compare ostrakinos, 2Co 4:7, etc.

pakh, is translated "vial" in 1Sa 10:1; 2Ki 9:1; see so-called pilgrim bottles.

also qasah "cup" or "bowl," translated "cup" in many passages, like Arabic ka’s, which was formerly used for drinking instead of modern cups.

gabhia, translated "bowl" in Jer 35:5.

parur, translated "pots" in Nu 11:8; compare Jud 6:19; 1Sa 2:14; compare chutra, which is similar to Arabic.

kidr, commonly used for cooking today.

’etsebh, "pot," Jer 22:28 the American Revised Version margin.

6. Archaeological Significance:

The chemical changes wrought in clay by weathering and firing render it practically indestructible when exposed to the weather and to the action of moisture and the gaseous and solid compounds found in the soil. When the sun-baked brick walls of a Palestinian city crumbled, they buried, often intact, the earthenware vessels of the period. In the course of time, perhaps after decades or centuries, another city was built on the debris of the former. The brick walls required no digging for foundations, and so the substrata were left undisturbed. After long periods of time the destruction, by conquering armies or by neglect, of succeeding cities, produced mounds rising above the surrounding country, sometimes to a height of 60 or 100 ft. A typical example of such a mound is Tell el-Chesy (? Lachish). Dr. Flinders Petrie, as a result of the study of the various strata of this mound, has formed the basis of a classification of Palestinian pottery (see ''''2, above). With a knowledge of the forms of pottery of each period, the excavator has a guide, though not infallible, to the date of the ruins he finds.

See also CRAFTS, II, 4.


Publications of PEF, especially Bliss and Macalister, Excavations in Palestine; Excavations of Gezer; Bliss, A Mound of Many Cities; Flinders Petrie, Tell el-Ghesy; Bliss and Dickie, Excavations at Jerusalem; Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art (i) in Chaldea and Assyria, (ii) Sardinia and Judea, (iii) Cyprus and Phoenicia, (iv) Egypt; King and Hall, Egypt and Western Asia in Light of Modern Discoveries; S. Birch, History of Ancient Pottery; Wilkinson, The Ancient Egyptians; PEFQ; EB; HDB.

James A. Patch