The life-history of the basalt ground stone artefacts from an early urban domestic neighbourhood in the southern Levant: the remains from Early Bronze III Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel

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Beller, Jeremy A.
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Recent archaeological excavations at the early urban settlement of Early Bronze Age III Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel presented the opportunity to reconstruct the life-history of basalt ground stone artefacts. In specific, this investigation sought to establish the nature of production, distribution, consumption, and discard associated with these commodities. This study involved a provenance analysis using XRF, a typological analysis, a morphometric analysis, and a spatial analysis. The results indicate that the basalt sources in the northeastern sub-regions of the southern Levant were locally exploited for the small-scale production of basalt artefacts by non-specialised artisans. These commodities were redistributed to Tell es-Safi/Gath residents by a centralised authority. The role Tell es-Safi/Gath played in these long-distance exchange networks indicates the socio-economic prominence this settlement held in the Shephelah. This results further demonstrate the potential of ground stone artefacts for understanding the behaviour and daily life of non-elite people.
Archaeology, Near East, exchange