6.0 Conclusions

The results of the petrographic study have formed an essential element in our reconstruction of the activities of the Late Bronze Age potter's workshop at Lachish. The study has allowed us to characterise the fabrics of pottery made in the workshop and thus has also enabled us to recognise vessels imported to Lachish, as illustrated here by the bowl with the incised pot-mark. By reference to geological information and materials, it has been possible to identify potential sources for the raw materials used by the potters.

There is not space here to discuss fully all aspects of pottery manufacture at the Lachish workshop. However, it is clear that the potters were producing a wide range of vessels from a fine silty loess clay, apparently used with little or no modification. The vessel types included wheel-thrown pot-stands, pilgrim flasks, storage jars and a variety of bowls (Magrill and Middleton, in press). In addition to these 'tablewares', the workshop produced cooking pots, made using a combination of hand-building and wheel-finishing techniques (ibid.). For these, the base clay was modified by the addition of about 10% shell temper. Small press-moulded clay figurines, made from the unmodified loess clay, were yet another workshop product. The loess clay and the shell temper seem to have been available locally. The clay may have been obtained from a deposit situated only a few hundred metres from the workshop, the shell probably from a source somewhat farther afield, at a distance of c. 10km.

Thus, it is appears that the potters of Cave 4034 were versatile artisans who engaged in a wide range of activities, each sometimes regarded as the preserve of an individual specialist workshop. The nature of the activities suggests a well-established atelier, presumably providing the ceramic requirements for a significant section of the Late Bronze Age population at Lachish.


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Last updated: Tue Oct 24 2000