Microsoft Word - TbeylDissertation 2013 final
This dissertation deals with the ethnicity and geopolitics of the Phoenicians in the Iron I-
Bibliography ............................................................................................................... 302
List of Tables
Table. 3.1.1. Comparison of Modern Hebrew Script and Ahiram Script. ........................ 29
Table. 3.1.2. Byblian King List......................................................................................... 29
Table. 4.1.1. Stratigraphy at Tyre. .................................................................................... 72
Table. 4.1.4. Stratigraphy at Sarepta. ................................................................................ 80
Table. 4.1.7. Stratigraphy at Tell Kazel. ........................................................................... 90
Table. 4.1.8. Stratigraphy at Tell Keisan. ......................................................................... 94
Table. 4.1.9. Stratigraphy at Tel Dor. ............................................................................... 98
Table. 4.1.10. Stratigraphy at Horvat Rosh Zayit ........................................................... 105
Table. 4.1.12. Stratigraphy at Tell Abu Hawam. ............................................................ 115
Table. 188.8.131.52. Iron I-IIA Stamp Seals. ........................................................................... 134
Table. 4.2.4. Purple Dye Installations. ............................................................................ 139
Table. 5.1. Parallels to Tel Dan Stratum IVA Ceramic Types. ...................................... 179
Table. 5.2. Petrography of Pithoi and Store Jars. ........................................................... 183
Table. 5.3. Petrography of Bichrome Ceramics. ............................................................ 185
Table. 5.4. Petrography of Phoenician Bichrome Ceramics. .......................................... 186
Table. 5.5. Petrography of Red-Slipped Ware. ............................................................... 188
Table. 6.3.3. Sites Associated with the Tribe of Asher................................................... 203
Table. 6.4.3. The Judges Cycle. ...................................................................................... 213
Table. 7.1.1. Comparison of Modern Hebrew Script and Ahiram Script ....................... 262
List of Figures
Fig. 4.1. Pier-rubble wall at Beirut. 282
Fig. 4.2. Standard Phoenician bichrome vessel. 282
Fig. 4.3. Red-on-Black ceramics from Horvat Rosh Zayit. 283
Fig. 4.4. Red-Slipped burnished bowl. 283
Fig. 4.5. Wavy-Band Pithos from Tel Dan. 284
Fig. 4.6. Amulets from Sarepta. 285
Fig. 4.7. Cartouche of Taworset on an alabaster jar found at Sidon. 285
Fig. 4.8. Scarab with Thutmose III cartouche from a cremation burial at Tyre. 286
Fig. 4.9. Scarab with Thutmose III cartouche from Jerusalem. 286
Fig. 4.10. Purple dye industry at Tel Dor. 287
Fig. 4.11. Harvested murex shells from Beirut. 287
Fig. 4.12. Bellow pot from Iron I level at Tel Dor. 288
Fig. 4.13. Cremation burial kit at Tyre Al-Bass. 288
Fig. 4.14. Bichrome cremation urn from Tyre Al-Bass. 289
Fig. 5.1. Area T Stratum IVA, after Biran 1996. 290
Fig. 5.2. Area and Section Plan of Area T South, The Oil Press Installation. 291
Fig. 5.3. Area M plan, after Biran 1996 292
Fig. 5.4. Plan of Area B-East Strata III and IV, c.1968. 293
Fig. 5.5. Plan of Stratum IVB, after Ilan 1999. 293
Fig. 5.6. Plan of Stratum III, c. 1975. 294
Fig. 5.7. Stratum IVA in Area B, East and West. 294
Fig. 5.8. Wall 123 in Stratum IVA and its Position Beneath Stratum III 295
Fig. 5.9. Painted Sherds from Area M 296
Fig. 5.10. Bichrome Krater from Area M, Scale 1:2.5. 297
Fig. 5.11. Bichrome and Monochrome Painted Ware. 298
Fig. 5.12. Phoenician-Style Painted Ware. 299
Fig. 5.13. Red-Slipped Ware. 300
Fig. 6.1. Samarian and Tyrian masson marks compared with known writing systems 301
List of Plates
Pl. 1. Pithoi 270
Pl. 2. Amphoriskos and Decanter 271
Pl. 3. Black-on Red Ware 272
Pl. 4. Cooking Pots Part A 273
Pl. 5. Cooking Pots Part B 274
Pl. 6. Store Jars 275
Pl. 7. Kraters 276
Pl. 8. Bichrome Flasks and Jugs 277
Pl. 9. Red-Slipped Ware-Thick Walled 278
Pl. 10. Bichrome Jug 279
Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1. Questions and Goals
Who were the Phoenicians? Traditionally, the Phoenicians are defined as the
inhabitants of Phoenicia, a region along the Levantine coast between Mt. Carmel and
Arvad, roughly the area of modern Lebanon. These people were primarily known as the
great merchants of the Mediterranean, skilled in seafaring and renowned for the purple
dye they extracted from murex shells. The words Phoenician and Phoenicia come from
the Greek root phoinix, first attested in the 8th century writings of Homer.1
Yet, this simple, concise definition belies the complexities encountered when
trying to define this ancient culture using non-classical sources. According to numerous
ancient Near Eastern sources, Phoenicians were most commonly referred to as
Canaanites. Egyptian Kyn`nw, Nuzi Kina——u, Hittite Kina——i, and Hebrew Kna`ani are
all variations of the term Canaanite, and all refer to the inhabitants of the Lebanese
coast.2 The Phoenicians even referred to themselves as Canaanites, as recorded in the
writings of Eusebius.3 Unfortunately, the term Canaanite also refers more broadly to the
inhabitants of the southern Levant during the Late Bronze Age.4 Anne Killebrew, in her
recent treatment of Canaanite ethnicity during the 13th-12th centuries B.C.E., points out
1 Homer: Iliad VI 290, 291; XXIII 743; Odyssey IV 83,84,618; XIII 272, 285; XIV 288,291; XV 118, 415,
417, 419, 425, 473.
2 B. Maisler, "Canaan and the Canaanites," BASOR 102 (1946): 46-50.
3 Eusebius preserves the work of Philo of Byblos, who translated ancient Phoenician historical sources into
Greek. Philo claims to cite a source dating to the period of the Trojan War, but the veracity of this claim is
doubtful. See Albert I. Baumgarten, The Phoenician History of Philo of Byblos: A Commentary (Leiden:
E.J. Brill, 1981), 232-33
4 Anson F. Rainey, "Who is a Canaanite? A Review of the Textual Evidence," BASOR 304 (1996): 12-13.
that the term Canaanite reflects a multiethnic geopolitical entity spread over the southern
Levant, who shared many cultural features during the second millennium. 5
In the transition from the Late Bronze Age to the Iron Age, major geopolitical
changes in the southern Levant greatly affected the cultural and political landscape.
These changes began a process through which several centralized states emerged, each
with distinct ethnic, identities. Among these states were the Ammonites, Arameans,
Israelites, Moabites, and Philistines. The continuity of Late Bronze Age Canaanite
material culture at Tyre and Sarepta has prompted the view that the Phoenicians were the
ethnic and cultural successor of the Canaanites.6 While there is some truth to this
statement, the term Phoenician presumes a unified people occupying a distinct
geographic territory along the Lebanese coast in the Iron I-IIA periods. However, the
concept that Phoenicians ever formed a self-perceived ethnic identity is questionable.7
Some point to the westward expansion and colonization of the Mediterranean in the
eighth century as the greatest moment of shared commonality among the Phoenician
cities.8 While this later proposal does not use the term ethnicity or make claims about the
psychological perceptions of the inhabitants along the Phoenician coast, it does identify a
geopolitical activity that may have prompted a Greek perception of group identity among
5 Ann E. Killebrew, Biblical Peoples and Ethnicity: An Archaeological Study of Egyptians, Canaanites,
Philistines and Early Israel 1300-1100 B.C.E. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005), 10-16.
6 Seymor Gitin, "The Philistines: Neighbors of the Canannites, Phoenicians, and Israelites," in American
Schools of Oriental Research Centennial Celebration (eds. Douglas R. Clark and Victor H. Mathews;
Washington DC: American Schools of Oriental Research 2000), 5; Wolfgang Röllig, "On the Origin of the
Phoenicians," Ber 31 (1983): 92-93.
7 Glenn Markoe, Phoenicians (Berkeley University of California Press, 2000), 10-11.
8 Maria Eugina Aubet, The Phoenicians and the West: Politics, Colonies and Trade (trans. Mary Turton;
second ed.; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 5-12, 45-4; Markoe, Phoenicians, 11, 4;
Sabatino Moscati, "Who Were the Phoenicians?," in The Phoenicians: Under the Scientific Direction of
Sabatino Moscati (ed. Sabatino Moscati; New York: I.B. Taurus & Co Ltd, 2001), 19.
the cities of the Lebanese coast.9 Additionally, there is a great deal of textual and
archeological data presently available regarding culture and geopolitics along the
Lebanese coast in the Iron I-IIA periods, which may improve our understanding of group
identity in the region.
Thus, the present study examines Phoenician group identity and geopolitics in the
Iron I-IIA periods through ancient textual, archaeological and biblical data. One goal is to
critically examine the terms and archeological data related to the inhabitants of Phoenicia
in the Iron I-IIA period. In order to contextualize these characteristics, it is also necessary
to examine the data concerning the geopolitics of the region. In addition to archaeological
material from coastal sites, unpublished Iron I-IIA material from Tel Dan will be
presented in an attempt to clarify the ethnic and political ties between Israel and the
Lebanese coast. Finally, the present study will critically examine the biblical data related
to Phoenician identity and geopolitics in the Iron I-IIA period.
Except for the material from Tel Dan, the present study is limited in its scope to
published archeological material from Iron I-IIA contexts. New and ongoing excavations
in Lebanon and Israel provide the promise of new data related to the focus of this study,
but these data have yet to be published in detail. Furthermore, long delays in the
publication of some Israeli sites, like Akko, impede a detailed analysis of valuable data.
In the case of Tel Dan, the present study offers a rare opportunity to remedy a gap in the
publication of Iron I-IIA materials.
9 Homer uses the term Sidonian interchangeably with the term Phoenician, possibly reflecting the
dominance of Sidon among the Phoenician cities. See Hans Jacob Katzenstein, The History of Tyre: From
the Beginning of the Second Millennium B.C.E. until the Fall of the Babylonian Empire in 538 B.C.E. (2nd
ed.; Jerusalem: Goldberg's Press, 1997), 62-63.
1.3. Previous Studies
Phoenician Identity and History
In 1946, Benjamin Maisler (Mazar) wrote a seminal article that examined the Late
Bronze Age textual evidence related to Phoenician identity. This brief article focused
only on the earliest attestations of the term Canaanite and its connections with the purple
dye industry.10 In 1970, James Muhly provided a more detailed examination of the
various terms associated with the Phoenician identity; however, new proposals and
archeological discoveries warrant a reevaluation of Muhly’s conclusions.11
In 1980, Wolfgang Röllig wrote a 14-page article surveying the topographical,
archaeological, linguistic, paleographic, and religious data related to Phoenician origins.
At the conclusion of his brief survey, Röllig concluded that the Phoenician coastal region
was likely resettled by displaced Canaanites following raids by the Sea People. These
resettled Canaanites then used their technical skills to create a new Phoenician identity. 12
Though brief, Röllig’s overall approach to the evidence regarding Phoenician origins and
identity, served as a major impetus to the present study.
In 1997, Hans Katzenstein published a second edition of his masterful study of the
history of Tyre. This important work primarily focused on the literary evidence related to
the complete history of Tyre.13 Unlike the present study, Katzenstein’s book synthesizes
the classical, ancient Near Eastern, and biblical texts in his historical reconstructions of
the Iron I-IIA period. Thus, his study suffers from an overly generalized approach to the
10 Maisler, "BASOR," 7-12.
11 James D. Muhly, "Homer and the Phoenicians," Ber 19 (1970): 19-64.
12 Röllig, "On the Origin of the Phoenicians," 79-93.
13 Katzenstein, The History of Tyre, 1-373..
use of texts in history writing. Furthermore, Katzenstein’s work does not engage in a
detailed discussion of archeological evidence.
In 2001, Maria Eugene Aubet published a book on Phoenician westward
expansion.14 While her study focuses primarily on the archaeological evidence related to
Phoenicians in the west, her first chapter is dedicated to a discussion of Phoenician
origins and identity. In this chapter, she presents a brief survey of the Greek traditions
regarding the origins of the Phoenicians and etymologies for the term Phoinix. She also
provides a summary of the Hebrew, Egyptian, and Akkadian evidence for the term
Canaanite. She concludes the chapter with an excellent summary of the geographic
territory of the Phoenicians from the 10th century onward. Aubet’s survey of the origins,
identity, and geographic territory of the Phoenicians is well-balanced for a discussion of
Phoenician identity and geographic territory beginning in the 10th century, but lacks a
detailed analysis of earlier periods.
Reports from the excavations at Tyre and Sarepta in the 1970s provide the main source of
archaeological data for Phoenician material culture in the Iron I-IIA periods.15 In addition
to these studies, recent excavation reports from a number of Israeli and Syrian sites
provide further information regarding Phoenician material culture, including Horvat Rosh
14 Aubet, The Phoenicians and the West, 1-432.
15 Patricia Maynor Bikai, The Pottery of Tyre (Warminster: Aris and Phillips, 1978); James Bennett
Pritchard, Recovering Sarepta, a Phoenician City: Excavations at Sarafand, Lebanon, 1969-1974, by the
University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1978);
William P. Anderson, Sarepta I: The Late Bronze and Iron Age Strata of Area II, Y (Beirut: Université
Zayit, Achzib, Tel Dor, and Tel Kazel.16 These recent publications have prompted new
studies of Phoenician material culture in the early Iron Age.17
Among the newer studies, there are several devoted to ceramic typology. Ayelet
Gilboa has produced a number of articles which define the relationship between Cypriot
and Phoenican style ceramics.18 Patricia Bikai and Nicola Scrieber have also explored
Phoenicia’s interaction with Cyprus through ceramic analysis.19 These studies provide the
most recent research regarding Phoenician-style ceramics and form an important
foundation for my examination of Iron I-IIA Phoenician-style ceramic forms at Tel Dan.
In 2005, Carolina Aznar completed another important ceramic study focused on
market exchanges in the southern Levant during the Iron IIA period. 20 As a result of her
petrographic study, Aznar was able to clearly identify Phoenician ceramic types used in
16 Zvi Gal and Yardenna Alexandre, Horbat Rosh Zayit. An Iron Age Storage Fort and Village (Jerusalem:
Israel Antiquities Authority), 2000; Michal Dayagi-Mendels, The Ahkziv Cemetaries: The Ben-Dor
Excavations, 1941-1944 (Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities Authority, 2002); Eilat Mazar, "Phoenician Family
Tombs at Achziv: A Chronological Typology (1000-400 BCE)," Fenicios y Territorio (2000); Eilat Mazar,
The Phoenician Family Tomb N.1 at the Northern Cemetery of Achziv (10th-6th Centuries BCE)
(Barcelona: Laboratorio De Arquelogia De La Universidad Pompeu Fabra De Barcelona, 2004); Ephraim
Stern, Dor, Ruler of the Seas: Nineteen Years of Excavations at the Israelite-Phoenician Harbor Town on
the Carmel Coast (rev. and exp. ed.; Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 2000); Emmanuelle Capet and
Eric Gubel, "Tell Kazel- Six Centuries of Iron Age Occupation (c. 1200-612 B.C.)," in Essays on Syria in
the Iron Age (ed. Guy Bunnens; Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Supplement; Louvain: Peeters, 2000); Leila
Badre and Eric Gubel, "Tell Kazel Syria: Excavations of the AUB Museum 1993-1998, Third Preliminary
Report," Ber 44 (1999).
17 Ayelet Gilboa and Ilan Sharon, "Between the Carmel and the Sea: Tel Dor's Iron Age Reconsidered,"
NEA 71, no. 3 (2009).
18 Ayelet Gilboa, "The Dynamics of Phoenician Bichrome Pottery: A View from Tel Dor," BASOR 316
(1999): 1-2; Ayelet Gilboa, "Sea Peoples and Phoenicians along the Southern Phoenician Coast - A
Reconciliation: An Interpretation of Sikila (SKL) Material Culture," BASOR 337 (2005): 47-7; Ayelet
Gilboa and Ilan Sharon, "An Archaeological Contribution to the Early Iron Age Chronological Debate:
Alternative Chronologies for Phoenicia and their Effects on the Levant, Cyprus, and Greece," BASOR 332
19 Patricia Maynor Bikai, The Phoenician Pottery of Cyprus (Nicosia: Published by the A.G. Leventis
Foundation with the assistance of the J. Paul Getty Trust, 1987; Nicola Schreiber, The Cypro-Phoenician
Pottery of the Iron Age (Leiden: Brill, 2003).
20Carolina Aznar, "Exchange Networks in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age II: A Study of Pottery
Origin and Distribution" (P.D. diss., Harvard University, 2005).
market exchanges with neighboring states. The results of her study play an important
role in my analysis of ceramics from Tel Dan.
Finally, resumed excavations at Tyre and Sidon have shed new light on unique
mortuary practices and geopolitical interactions during the Iron I-IIA periods.21 These
new discoveries are a major benefit to the present study.
In 1992, Françoise Briquel-Chatonnet published a book which explored the relations
between the Phoenician coast and the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. This monograph was
primarily a philological study, with some general use of archaeology. The Hebrew Bible
provided the foundation for much of the author’s political and historical reconstructions.
Unfortunately, this study was limited to the monarchic period of Israelite history, and the
12th-11th centuries were left untreated.22 The major limitation of this study was a lack of
methodology with respect to the use of the Hebrew Bible in history writing.
In 1991, Edward Lipiński published the proceedings of a conference held at the
University of Lueven, devoted exclusively to papers on Phoenicia and the Hebrew Bible.
The articles from this conference covered a broad range of topics, including the tribe of
Asher, king Solomon’s mines, and the worship of Phoenician deities in Judah and
Israel.23 The proceedings from this conference provide a welcome concentration of
21 Maria Eugenia Aubet, "The Phoenician Cemetery of Tyre," NEA 73, no. 2-3 (2010), 145-55; Claude
Doumet-Serhal, "Preliminary Report on the Iron Age at Sidon: British Museum Excavations 2003-2004,"
Archaeology and History in Lebanon 23 (2006), 2-29.
22 Françoise Briquel-Chatonnet, Les relations entre les cités de la côte phénicienne et les royaumes d'Israël
et de Juda (Leuven Department Oriëntalistiek; Peeters, 1992).
23 Edward Lipiński, ed., Phoenicia and the Bible: Proceedings of the Conference held at the University of
Leuven on the 15th and 16th of March 1990 (Leuven: Departement Orientalistiek: Peeters, 1991); Andre
Lemaire, "Asher Et Tyr," in Phoenicia and the Bible: Proceedings of the Conference held at the University
of Leuven on the 15th and 16th of March 1990 (ed. Edward Lipinski; Leuven: Departement Orientalistiek:
Peeters, 1991), 135-52; Edward Lipiński, "The Territory of Tyre and the Tribe of Asher," in Phoenicia and
research on the Hebrew Bible and Phoenician history, rather than the sporadic articles
dispersed throughout various journals. However, new archeological discoveries made
over the past decade warrant a reexamination of some of the conclusions proposed at this
It is clear from this review that, while several studies have touched on the issue of
Phoenician identity and cultural genesis in the Iron I-IIA periods, there remains no
comprehensive work devoted to an in-depth examination of the subject. Thus, I intend to
make a major contribution in this area of research through a multidisciplinary
investigation of Phoenician ethnicity and geopolitics in the Iron I-IIA period.
One of the terms commonly used in studies of both modern and ancient people groups is
ethnicity. The term ethnicity is originally derived from the Greek ethnos and was used by
Greeks to identify large groups of animals and humans.25 19th century German
archaeological studies on ethnicity were tied to nationalistic and racist interpretations of
history.26 Over the past century the definition of ethnicity has evolved in academics, and
no longer corresponds to the 19th century ideas. Since the 1970’s, definitions of ethnicity
have increasingly moved away from inherent structural perspectives and have focused
the Bible: Proceedings of the Conference held at the University of Leuven on the 15th and 16th of March
1990 (ed. Edward Lipiński;Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta; Leuven: Departement Orientalistiek: Peeters,
1991), 153-6; E. Knauf, "King Solomon's Copper Supply," in Phoenicia and the Bible: Proceedings of the
Conference held at the University of Leuven on the 15th and 16th of March 1990 (ed. Edward Lipinski;
Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta; Leuven: Departement Orientalistiek: Peeters, 1991), 167-8; Hans Jacob
Katzenstein, "Phoenician Deities Worshipped in Israel and Judah During the Time of the First Temple," in
Phoenicia and the Bible: Proceedings of the Conference held at the University of Leuven on the 15th and
16th of March 1990
(ed. Edward Lipiński; Leuven: Departement Orientalistiek: Peeters, 1991), 187-92.
24 See bibliography.
25 M. Chapman, M. McDonald, and E. Tonkin, "Introduction," in History and Ethnicity (eds. M. Chapman,
et al.; London: Routledge, 1989), 12.
26 Sian Jones, The Archaeology of Ethnicity (London: Routledge, 1997), 2
instead on the processes that lead to ethnic identity.27 Thus, a recent definition of
ethnicity is as follows
“All those social and psychological phenomena associated with a culturally constructed
group identity. The concept of ethnicity focuses on the ways in which social and cultural
processes intersect with one another in the identification of, and interaction between
ethnic groups. ”28
One of the obstacles presented by the above definition for both the historian of
antiquity and archaeologist is the psychological component. The nature of artifacts and
limited textual data often exclude our ability to access the psychological perceptions of
past peoples.29 Without access to data related to the psychology of ancient peoples, it
seems questionable for scholars and archeologists to use the term ethnicity when
discussing people groups in the ancient world. This seems especially true in those cases
where there is a lack of ancient textual sources.30 One option available to archaeologists
and ancient historians is to redefine the term ethnicity more generally as Killebrew has
done in a recent study of ethnicity by which she means generally group identity.31 The
question is whether such a broad definition obfuscates the past half century of scholarship
that has led to more technical definitions of ethnicity. Why not simply limit onself to an
examination of group identity? Since there is little hope of effectively accessing data
related to the psychological perceptions of the inhabitants of the Phoenician coast, the
27 In many ways the evolution of perspectives on ethnicity are directly tied to the evolution of approaches to
archaeological interpretation. For an examination of the various approaches see Ian Hodder and Scott
Hutson, Reading the Past: Current Approaches to Interpretation in Archaeology (3rd ed.; Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2003).
28 Jones, The Archaeology of Ethnicity, xiii.
29 In addition to an individual’s psychological perspective, social behavior and interactions plays a key role
in defining ethnic boundaries. Unfortunately, these behaviors and interactions are not always reflected by
physical borders or material culture. Fredrick Barth, Ethnic Groups and Boundaries (Oslo:
Universitetsforlaget, 1969), 15-16.
30 Stephen Shennan, "Introduction: Archaeological Approaches to Cultural Identity," in Archaeological
Approaches to Cultural Identity (ed. Stephen Shennan; London: Unwin Hyman, 1989), 14.
31 Ann E. Killebrew, Biblical Peoples and Ethnicity: An Archaeological Study of Egyptians, Canaanites,
Philistines and Early Israel 1300-1100 B.C.E. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005), 8.
present study will examine factors related to the more general concept of group identity
rather than ethnicity.
The term identity in the study of archaeology can be used with reference to,
ethnicity, class, or sex. 32 In the present study, the goal is to identify characteristic
features related to the culture and geopolitical interactions of the inhabitants along the
Phoenician coast in the Iron I-IIa periods.33 While archeological data plays a significant
role in the present investigation of Phoenician group identity and geopolitics in the Iron I-
IIA period, ancient Near Eastern and biblical texts also provide bodies of data that must
be critically examined. In order to synthesize and assess this data effectively, however,
each type of data requires a different set of methodological parameters.
Pots alone do not define ancient people groups, and thus it is essential to explore
the full range of data related to ethnicity and geopolitics. In a recent debate between
Israel Finkelstein and William Dever on the ethnicity of the inhabitants of the Iron I
highlands, Finkelstein presented a list of cultural characteristics which relate to the ethnic
aspects of group identity: language, script, ritual behavior, physical features, dietary
choices, architecture, clothing style, mortuary practices, and style of artifacts.34
Obviously, the archeological record cannot reflect all of these, but several are
represented: script, ritual behavior, architecture, mortuary practices, and style of artifacts.
When examined against historical texts, geographic units, political and economic factors,
32 See Timothy Insoll, ed., The Archaeology of Identities: A Reader (London: Routledge, 2007).
33 See Sian Jones, "Discourses of Identity in the Interpretation of the Past," in The Archaeology of Identities
(ed. Timothy Insoll; London Routledge, 2007), 44-58. Centers of power play an important role in defining
the geopolitical boundaries in a region, and provide another factor that affects group identity. See Colin
Renfrew, Approaches to Social Archaeology (Edinburgh: dinburgh University Press, 1984), 30-53.
34 Finkelstein, "Ethnicity and Origin of the Iron I Settlers in the Highlands of Canaan: Can the Real Israel
Stand Up?", 203.
these characteristics, along with the use of technology, can be useful in reconstructing
social boundaries of ancient peoples.35
Ancient Near Eastern Texts
Texts play an important role in the multidisciplinary approach taken by the present study.
However, unlike previous studies dealing with Phoenician history and identity, which
weave the classical, biblical, and ancient Near Eastern data together like a historical
tapestry, the present study seeks a stronger methodological approach to the textual
evidence. Since my study focuses on the Iron I-IIA period, only texts from that time
period will be examined. The present study will explore issues of dating and genre in
order to contextualize the function of the data presented in each text.
The question of provenance of some primary textual sources raises important
methodological considerations for the present study, especially given the lack of
controlled archaeological excavations in modern day Lebanon.36 Numerous forgery
scandals have plagued scholars of Levantine archaeology since the middle of the
nineteenth century.37 Therefore, it is necessary to discuss not only the process of
35 The term technology has been used in archaeological studies to refer generally to style or methods of
artifact production. In this paper technology is used in a more narrow sense to describe technical industries.
For a discussion of the more general concept of technology, along with other factors that must be
considered when reconstructing social boundaries, see Miriam Stark, "Technical Choices and Social
Boundaries in Material Culture Patterning: An Introduction," in The Archaeology of Social Boundaries (ed.
Miriam Stark; Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998), 1-11. Attempts to define ethnic
boundaries based on stylistic patterning must take into consideration the nature of the interactions that take
place between people groups. Negative reciprocity often leads to more obvious boundaries in material
culture, while positive reciprocity can blur those boundaries. Killebrew, Biblical Peoples and Ethnicity, 17;
Hodder and Hutson, Reading the Past: Current Approaches to Interpretation in Archaeology, 2-3.
36 Stamp seals and inscribed arrowheads are commonly cited, but are of limited value due to their lack of
provenance and ease of replication. For a comprehensive catalogue of Phoenician arrowheads, including
publication and information regarding provenance, see Robert Deutsch, Gabriel Barkay, and Michael
Heltzer, West Semitic Epigraphic News of the 1st Millennium BCE (Tel Aviv, Israel: Archaeological Center
Publications, 1999), 13-21.
37 In recent years, the forgeries of Oded Golan have received both scholarly and popular attention. Charles
Clermont-Ganneau, "The Shapiro Collection," PEFQS 6 (1874): 114-118. The trend is not new, as
discovery surrounding each document, but also the scholarly perceptions regarding the
authenticity of those texts not recovered through archeological excavations.
The use of the Hebrew Bible as a historical source has been the subject of great debate in
recent decades, particularly in the fields of biblical study and archaeology.38 Despite an
increasing skepticism in these fields, the majority of studies on Phoenician history readily
reference the Hebrew Bible as a historical source, often uncritically. The lack of critical
examination of the biblical witness has led to conclusions uninformed by the
complexities surrounding the biblical texts. Recently, William Dever defined a
methodology which focuses on the relationship between text and material remains. His
methodological approach emphasizes points of convergence and divergence between the
biblical text and the archeological data.39 Much of Chapter 6 examines the convergences
among the archeological data, ancient Near Eastern textual data, and the Hebrew Bible.
From these points of convergence, it is possible to discuss the biblical evidence regarding
ethnicity and geopolitics in the Iron I-IIA period. For a full discussion of Dever’s
methodology and its implementation in this study, see Section 6.0.
commonly referenced inscriptions also lack provenance. One need only consider the Shapiro scandals in
the previous century to be reminded that the forging trade has long plagued scholars. Niel A. Silberman,
Digging for God and Country: Exploration, Archaeology and the Secret Struggle for the Holy Land 1799-
1917 (New York: Knopf, 1982), 100-12; Nili S. Fox, In the Service of the King: Officialdom in Ancient
Israel and Judah (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 2000), 25-32.
38 See a recent review of this debate in Iain W. Provan, V. Philips Long, and Tremper Longman, A Biblical
History of Israel (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 3-104.
39 William G. Dever, What Did the Biblical Writers Know, and When Did They Know It?: What
Archaeology Can Tell Us About the Reality of Ancient Israel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing
Company, 2001), 84-95.
Chapter 1 serves as an introduction to this study of Phoenician ethnicity and geopolitics
in the Iron I-IIA period.
Chapter 2 evaluates the ancient terms associated with the inhabitants of Phoenicia
and the geographic territory of the Phoenicians.
Chapter 3 examines the ancient Near Eastern textual data regarding the
Phoenician coast. The Wenamun text is a Third Intermediate period Egyptian document
which provides information on geopolitical changes in the Levant that affected trade
relations among Egypt, Byblos, Sidon, Dor, and Cyprus. The Annals of Tiglath-Pileser I
provide data regarding tribute and entertainment offered by Arwad, Byblos, and Sidon to
the king of Assyria.
Chapter 4 examines the archeological data from the Phoenician sites of Tyre,
Rachidieh, Sidon, Sarepta, Kamid el-Loz, Byblos, Tell Kazel, Tell Keisan, Tel Dor,
Horvat Rosh Zayit, Achzib, Tell Abu Hawam, and Shiqmona. Key features of
Phoenician material culture from these sites are discussed, including ashlar masonry,
ceramic types, art objects, purple dye manufacture, and metallurgy.
Chapter 5 examines previously unpublished Iron I-IIA Phoenician-style ceramics
from Tel Dan. This chapter surveys the stratigraphy and ceramic typology of vessels
associated with the Phoenician coast. The petrography of 40 samples is then discussed
with regard to Phoenician interactions with Tel Dan in the Iron I-IIA periods.
Chapter 6 examines the biblical data by providing a critical translation, a textual
commentary, and a comparison of the biblical text with archeological data. The main goal
will be to identify points of convergence between the biblical and archeological data.
Chapter 7 provides a review and synthesis of the textual, archaeological, and
biblical data related to Phoenician ethnicity and geopolitics in the Iron I-IIA period. In
addition, a summary of the contributions made by the present study and proposals for
future research will be addressed.
Chapter II: Terms of Identity
We ask again: Who were the Phoenicians? Traditionally, the Phoenicians are defined as
the inhabitants of Phoenicia, a region along the Levantine coast between Mt. Carmel and
Arvad, roughly the area of modern Lebanon. These people were primarily known as the
great merchants of the Mediterranean, skilled in seafaring and renowned for the purple
dye they extracted from murex shells. The words Phoenician and Phoenicia come from
the Greek root phoinix, and first appear in the 8th century writings of Homer.40
Unfortunately, this simple definition belies the uncertainty and debate that surrounds our
understanding of their identity, origins, and geographic territory at the beginning of the
Iron Age. There are in fact three primary terms historically used to refer to the inhabitants
of the Lebanese coast, including the Semitic root kn`n, the Greek word phoinix, and the
general term Sidonian. The present chapter seeks to clarify the meaning and origin of
these terms, in order to assess their relevance to the Iron Age inhabitants of the Lebanese
Outside of classical texts, numerous ancient Near Eastern sources refer to the
inhabitants of Lebanon as Canaanites.41 Egyptian Kyn`nw, Akkadian Kinaḫḫu, and
Hebrew Kna`ani are all variations of the term Canaanite, and refer to the inhabitants of
40 Homer: Iliad VI 290, 291; XXIII 743; Odyssey IV 83,84,618; XIII 272,285; XIV 288,291; XV 118, 415,
417, 419, 425, 473.
41 Ah. Badawi, "Die neue historische Stele Amenophis' II," Annales du Service des antiquités de l’Égypte
43 (1943): 1-23 HSS 13 34:2; 431:8,48; HSS 14 197: 2; 520:42 HSS 15 220:2; 222:7; 233:7; JEN 314:5.
the Lebanese coast.42 The relationship between the root kn‘n and Greek term phoinix is
found in the writings of Eusebius, who preserved portions of the History of Philo of
Byblos. According to Philo of Byblos, the inventor of three scripts was named Eisirios,
the brother of Chna who changed his name to Phoinix.43 It is obvious that this is an
ancient tradition explaining the connection between the roots kn’n and Φοινιξ.44 This late
evidence, however, does not provide any real information regarding the meaning of the
root kn’n or its semantic relationship to the term Φοινιξ. Furthermore, there is no possible
way to verify that either of these terms served as an eponym.
The earliest attestation to a region called Canaan occurs in an 18th century
Akkadian letter found at Mari.45 The term awîlKi-na ah-nu(m)meš is used to describe a
group of brigands at Ra-ḫi-ṣi-imki-ma which is located south of Qatna in the Beqa
Valley.46 On a 15th century statue of Idrimi, king of Alalakh the term ki-in-a-nim is used
to describe a region near Ammiya, which is north of Byblos.47 Four other documents
were found at Alalakh mentioning Canaan.48 In Egypt, the term Kn‘nw appears on a mid
15th century stele of Amenophis II.49 Among the 14th century Amarna texts, there are
42 B. Maisler, "Canaan and the Canaanites," BASOR 102 (1946): 46-50.
43 Philo’s History is allegedly based on the writings of Sanchuniathon who wrote in the period of the
Trojan War. Though Sanchuniathon’s history agrees with much of the material found in Ugaritic and
Hittite sources, most scholars feel that Sanchuniathon must date to a later period. See Albert I. Baumgarten,
The Phoenician History of Philo of Byblos: A Commentary (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1981), 19, 42-61.
44 Ibid., 232-33.
45 Georges Dossin, "Une mention de Cananéens dans une lettre de Mari," Syria 50 (1973): 277-82.
46 Ibid., 278; Nadav Naaman, "The Canaanite and Their Land," in Canaan in the Second Millenium B.C.E.
(Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2005), 111.
47 William Foxwell Albright, "Some Important Recent Discoveries: Alphabetic Origins and the Idrimi
Statue," BASOR 118 (1950): 14-2; Beno Landsberger, "Assyrische Königsliste und Dunkles "Zeitalter","
Jounal of Cueiform Studies VIII, no. 2 (1954): 54. For the geographic location of Ammiya, see Anson F.
Rainey and R. Steven Notley, The Sacred Bridge: Carta's Atlas of the Biblical World (Jerusalem: Carta,
48 AT 48,154,181,188.
49 Maisler, "BASOR," 9.
numerous occurrences of the term matKinaḫḫi.50 At Ugarit, the term occurs primarily as
2.2.1. Geographic Bounds of Canaan
Based on the number of primary Late Bronze Age references to Canaan, it is clear that
the territory is roughly equivalent to the Egyptian province in Asia.52 This broad
geographic range extended from Mt. Hor in the North to Gaza or Kadesh in the South.53
A recent study by Killebrew found that a diverse population inhabited Canaan, with
varying elements of material culture. This diversity was unified under the imperial
control of Egypt, which brought stability to the varied city-states in Canaan. The
withdrawl of Egyptian administrative and military presence in the 12th century
destabilized the region, resulting in the dissection of Canaan into Judah, Israel, Philistia,
and Aram.54 The evidence of cultural continuity, seen in Late Bronze Age Canaanite
material remains and later Iron Age Phoenician remains, has prompted the view that
Phoenicians were the ethnic and cultural successors of the Canaanites.55 The question
remains however, what are the geographic boundaries of the newly formed “Phoenicia?”
2.2.2 Geographic Bounds of Canaan
Due to the complex history of the region from the Iron I-IIC period, Phoenicia’s
territory expanded and contracted, resulting in various claims about the boundaries of
50 EA 8:15; 9:19; 17:25; 30:1; 36:15; 109:46; 131:61; 137:76; 148:46; 151:50; 161:41; 222a:8.
51 In Ug 5 5:10 the bita ku-na-ḫi is mentioned as a proper name.
52 Naaman, "The Canaanite and Their Land," 120.
53 Rainey and Notley, The Sacred Bridge, 34-3; Anson F. Rainey, "Who is a Canaanite? A Review of the
Textual Evidence," BASOR 304 (1996): 1-15.
54 Ann E. Killebrew, Biblical Peoples and Ethnicity: An Archaeological Study of Egyptians, Canaanites,
Philistines and Early Israel 1300-1100 B.C.E. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005), 93-148.
55 Seymor Gitin, "The Philistines: Neighbors of the Canannites, Phoenicians, and Israelites," in American
Schools of Oriental Research Centennial Celebration (eds. Douglas R. Clark and Victor H. Mathews;
Washington DC: American Schools of Oriental Research 2000), 57.
Canaan. A recent study places the limits of Phoenicia during the Persian period at
Myriandos in the north and Ashkelon in the south. These limits are a great expansion of
the 8th century boundaries of Phoenicia, defined in classic sources as Arwad in the north
to Mount Carmel in the South.56 However, for the period between the 12th- 9th centuries
B.C.E., evidence of Phoenician presence has been found further south at the sites of Dan,
Dor, `Akko, Achzib, Tell Keisan, Tell Abu Hawam, Balensi, Shikmona, Tel Mevorakh,
Tel Michal, and other sites within the boundaries of modern Israel.57 The shrinking of
Canaanite territory from a 500 km strip in the Middle Bronze Age to a barely 200km long
region in the Iron IIb period did not occur over night.58 However, in the Iron I-IIA period,
Tel Dor may be considered a southern limit of the newly reduced Canaanite region.59
Early theories proposed a Hurrian origin for the term Canaan, based on the Nuzi and
Amarna occurrences of the term as kinaḫni or kinaḫḫi, and the adjective kinaḫḫu.60 The
suffix ni was deemed to be of Hurrian origin, which was preserved in Hebrew,
Phoenician, Ugaritic and Egyptian.61 Ultimately, William Foxwell Albright abandoned
56 These limits are largely based on the witness of classic Greek and Latin sources along with the biblical
witness. Among the classical sources that cite Arwad in connection with Phoenicia are Herodotus VII, 98;
Diodore of Sicile XVI, 41; Strabo XVI, 753-754; etc. For a full treatment of classic sources referring to
Arados, see Jean-Paul Rey-Coquias, Arados et sa Péréé aux Époques Grecque, Romaine et Byzantine
(Paris: Libraire Orientaliste Paul Geuthner, 1974), 1-51. For the 8th century boundaries see, Josette Elayi,
"Studies in Phoenician Geography during the Persian Period," JNES 41, no. 2 (1982): 86-97.
57 Ephraim Stern, "New Evidence from Dor for the First Appearance of the Phoenicians along the
Northern Coast of Israel," BASOR 279 (1990): 27.
58 Cf. Maria Eugina Aubet, The Phoenicians and the West: Politics, Colonies and Trade (trans. Mary Turton;
second ed.; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 14.
59 The textual, archaeological, and biblical evidence to support this statement will be examined in the
60 Michael C. Astour, "The Origin of the Terms "Canaan," "Phoenician," and "Purple"," JNES 24, no. 4
61 Julius Lewy, "Influences Hurrites sur Israël," RES (1938): 2; William Foxwell Albright, "The Role of
Cannanites in the History of Civilization," in Studies in the History of Culture (Wisconson: Menasha, 1942),
the hypothesis that kinaḫḫi was related to the root *ikna, meaning blue/purple. He
recognized that the then earliest 15th century spellings found at Alalakh, Ugarit, and
Egypt did not conform to Hurrian phonetics.62 Instead, the clear use of kinaḫḫu in Nuzi
texts to refer to the color purple led Albright to suggest that kn‘ may be an unattested root
meaning murex from which purple dye was extracted. Albright proposed the geographic
territory was named after this important mollusk from which they produced their highly
valued dye.63 However, he provided no textual evidence to support this final proposal.64
Thus taking into account the 18th century Mari term kinaḫnu, there is no clear
phonological reason to dismiss the possibility of a Hurrian origin for the term.
An alternative theory by Benjamin Mazar proposed the root kn‘n meant
merchant.65 Mazar’s arguments were based on the contents of an Egyptian stele found at
Memphis, belonging to the reign of Amenophis II.66 On the stele is a list of captives,
including the maryana and Kyn‘nw. Mazar argues that this part of the list deals
exclusively with noble titles and that the term Kyn‘nw refers to a class of merchants, as
maryana refers to chariot warriors. Based on the biblical usage of Kena‘ni as merchants,
Mazar proposes the Egyptian Kyn‘nw should also be translated “merchants.”67 However,
it is an assumption that the 15th century Egyptian usage mirrors later biblical Hebrew. I
62 William Foxwell Albright, "The Role of Cannanites in the History of Civilization," in The Bible and the
Ancient Near East (2d ed.; Wisconson: Menasha, 1961), 356; Astour, "The Origin of the Terms "Canaan,"
"Phoenician," and "Purple"," 347.
63 Modern attempts to reproduce purple dye have led researchers to estimate its value at 10-20 grams of
gold per gram of dye. James Bennett Pritchard, Recovering Sarepta, a Phoenician City: Excavations at Sarafand,
Lebanon, 1969-1974, by the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton
University Press, 1978), 126.
64The only North West Semitic term known for a murex is the Talmudic Hebrew term ḥillazōn. Robert R.
Stieglitz, "The Minoan Origin of Tyrian Purple," BA 57, no. 1 (1994): 52; James D. Muhly, "Homer and the
Phoenicians," Ber 19 (1970): 29.
65 Albright, "The Role of Cannanites in the History of Civilization," 356, n. 50
66 Badawi, Annales du Service des antiquités de l’Égypte XLII (1943): 1-23.
67 Maisler, "BASOR," 9-10.
would agree with Mazar’s observation that Kyn‘nw in this list seems to denote a title, but
the context provides no information regarding the title. Kyn‘nw may simply refer to
individuals with political authority within the Asian province of Egypt.68 Indirect
evidence for the elevated status of merchants in the Levant appears in the numerous
documents found at Ugarit, which provide valuable insight into the elevated political and
economic status of merchants in the Late Bronze Age.69 The socio-economic role of the
merchants at Ugarit may have been similar to those in Cannan.70 Based on this evidence,
some would argue that political authority in Canaan was centered in its mercantile
activity.71 These arguments, however, do not demonstrate directly that the Egyptian
reference is to merchants.
While Mazar’s proposal is meaningful in both Egyptian and biblical contexts, it
has been rejected primarily on linguistic grounds. Specifically, there is no Semitic
connection between the root kn‘n and the meaning merchant. An early proposal made by
W. Gesenius suggested kn‘n meant lowland.72 However, Sabatino Moscati and Michael
Astour argued that the root kn‘ does not have an intransitive meaning, and rejected
Gesenius’s translation. Astour demonstrated that in biblical Hebrew the root only occurs
in the niphal (to be subdued or lower oneself) and hiphil (to subdue). In Aramaic, the root
68 Nadav Naaman, "Four Notes on the Size of Late Bronze Age Canaan," BASOR 313 (1999): 31-32.
69 Caroll Bell, The Evolution of Long Distance Trading Relationships Across the LBA/Iron Age Transition on the
Northern Levantine Coast: Crisis Continuity and Change (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2006), 62-65.
70 Christopher Montfort Monroe, Scales of Fate: Trade, Tradition, and Transformation in the Eastern
Mediterranean ca. 1350-1175 BCE (Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2009), 151-89.
71 Cf. arguments by Lawrence Stager regarding the use of ports to expand geo-political power in the
Middle Bronze Age as a model for Phoenician expansion. Lawrence Stager, "Port Power in the Early and
Middle Bronze Age: The Organization of Maritime and Hinterland Production," in Studies in the
Archaeology of Israel and Neighboring Lands in Memory of Douglas L. Esse (ed. Samuel R. Wolff; Atlanta: ASOR
Books, 2001), 634-35.
72 Wilhelm Gesenius, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testamnet including the Biblical Chaldee (trans.
Edward Robinson; 13th ed.; Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1897), 347; Astour, "The Origin of
the Terms "Canaan," "Phoenician," and "Purple",” 348.
also occurs in the qal (to bend down). In Arabic, the root is used to refer to the bowing of
the stars toward earth. Astour proposed, therefore, that the root referred to the action of
the sun, similar to the Latin usage. Occident in Latin refers to the “land of Sunset,” which
is expressed in West Semitic as kn‘n and in Akkadian as Amurru.73 James Muhly rejects
Astour’s claim that MAR-TU= amurru = Land of Sunset.74 Another weakness in
Astour’s proposal is his treatment of the fourth radical n.
Beno Landsberger suggested that Canaan may be related to Akkadian uqni,
“lapis.”75 However, it is unclear why, as early as the 18th century B.C.E., a large territory
in the Levant would be defined by a color or stone. Though there is evidence of purple
dye production on Crete in this early period,76 and the term for Lapis is likely of
Anatolian origin,77 we lack the evidence required to tie these two factors directly to the
region of Canaan in the Middle Bronze Age. In the Late Bronze Age, the term argmn
was used in Hittite and Ugaritic texts for murex dyed fabric, which further complicates
the issue.78 While it is tempting to tie the Canaanites to the color purple, the current
evidence is merely suggestive, not conclusive. Yet despite weakness in the evidence, I am
73 Astour, "The Origin of the Terms "Canaan," "Phoenician," and "Purple"," 347-48.
74 Muhly, "Homer and the Phoenicians," 29.
75 Beno Landsberger, "Über Farben im Sumerische-Akkadischen," Journal of Cunneiform Studies 21 (1967):
76 Stieglitz, "BA," 49-53.
77André Caquot, Jesus-luis Cunchillos, and Jean-Michel De Tarragon, Textes ougaritiques: Tome II: Textes
religieux et rituels, correspondance ( Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1989), 411-13; Albrecht Goetze,
"Contributions to Hittite Lexicography," JCS 1 (1947): 310. I would like to thank Benjamin Noonan for
sharing his current research on the etymology of lapis.
78 Itmar Singer, "Purple Dyers in Lazpa," in Anatolian Interfaces: Hittites, Greeks and Their Neighbors:
Proceedings of an International conference on Cross-cultural Interaction, September 17-19, 2004 Emory University,
Atlanta GA. (eds. Billie Jean Collins, et al.; Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2009).
not inclined to join Muhly or Moscati in their position that there is no meaningful
etymology to be sought for this geographic term.79
The term Φοινιξ has a complex semantic range which include the color red-purple or the
ethnic term Phoenician. Greek lexicographers determined that the color was the original
meaning, derived from the term Φοινος, “blood colored.”80 Herodotus records a tradition
that this term was thought to refer to the red cliffs of the Persian Gulf, where the
Phoenicians originated.81 Due to a lack of evidence, this ancient tradition has been
rejected by most modern scholars.82 Since the Phoenicians were renowned for their trade
in purple dye, well into the Roman period it has been proposed that the term Phoenician
means “purple people.”83
Tablets found at Knososs and Pylos written in Linear B preserve the term po-ni-
ki-ya, which is used to describe the crimson color of a chariot, suggesting that the term
phoinix occurred in Greek as early as the 15th century.84 Alternatively, it has been argued
that the term Phoinos is derived from the Indo-European root *g”honjos and has nothing
to do with po-ni-ki-ya.85 Building on this argument, Michael Astour believes that po-ni-
ki-ya is a loanword of possible Semitic origin.86 Astour suggests that po-ni-ki-ya is
79 Sabatino Moscati, "Sulla storia del nome Canaan," Studia Biblica et Orientalia III (1959): 268-69.
80 Muhly, "Homer and the Phoenicians," 24-25.
81 Hdt. VII. 89; I. 1.
82 René Dussand, "Les Phéniciens au Négeb et en Arabie," Revue de L,Histoire des Religions 28 (1933): 5-49.
83 E. A. Speiser, "The Name Phoinikes," Language 12 (1936): 125.
84 Muhly, "Homer and the Phoenicians," 31-34.
85 M. Ventris and J. Chadwick, Documents in Mycenaean Greek: Three Hundred Selected Tablets from Knossos,
Pylos, and Mycenae, with Commentary and Vocabulary by Michael Ventris and John Chadwick. With a foreword by
Alan J. B. Wace (Cambridge: University Press, 1953), 344, 405.
86 Astour, "The Origin of the Terms "Canaan," "Phoenician," and "Purple"," 348.
related to the term puwwā, found in Hebrew and Arabic, referring to dyer’s madder.87
The term is found in Ugaritic texts in a context related to dyeing, and may be related to
the later Hebrew and Arabic terms for red-purple.88 Astour proposed that the origin of the
Greek term phoinix comes from the gentilic form of Hebrew puwwā, pûnî, found in a
census list in Numbers 26:23.89 Astour’s proposal is based on the occurrence of puwwā
(purple)90 in parallel with tôlā‘ (crimson) in Genesis 46:13.91 Muhly objected to this
proposal based on an a priori assumption that an early biblical tribal genealogy has no
connection with Phoenician history. Other similar, obscure references to Phoenician craft
skills possessed by Danites in Exodus 35:34-35 indicate that there are historical and
literary complexities within the biblical witness that caution against Muhly’s
assumptions, especially when dealing with the northern tribes of Israel. Unfortunately,
there is not enough textual evidence to determine whether the term should be considered
Semitic, Anatolian, or other in origin.92 What is clear, however, is that at Ugarit purple
dyed fabrics made from murex were called argmn and not pwt.93 So, if the Mycenaean
term po-ni-ki-ya is related to pwt, it cannot be connected with the purple dye industry.
Muhly, in an effort to strengthen arguments for the Greek origin of the term
phoinix, cites archeological evidence of Mycenaean purple dye production as early as the
14th century at Aghios Kosmas.94 He argues that phoinix is an original Greek color word
87 The plant Rubia tinctorum is commonly found in Syria and is the most common method for imitating
expensive purple dye.
88 Harry A. Hoffner Jr., "A Term for the Early Canaanite Dyeing Industry," JAOS 87, no. 3 (1967): 300-03.
89 Astour, "The Origin of the Terms "Canaan," "Phoenician," and "Purple"," 349.
90 Hoffner, "A Term for the Early Canaanite Dyeing Industry," 301-303; Astour, "The Origin of the Terms
"Canaan," "Phoenician," and "Purple"," 348; HALOT 3: 916.
91 Ibid., 348; HALOT 4: 1701-1702.
92 Hoffner, "A Term For the Early Canaanite Dyeing Industry," 303.
93 Singer, "Purple Dyers in Lazpa,"
94 Muhly, "Homer and the Phoenicians," 31-32.
that was used to translate the Semitic term kinaḫḫu. However, a more recent study by
Robert Stieglitz shows several problems with Muhly’s proposal. First, Mycenaean texts
from Knososs refer to purple dyed textiles as po-pu-re-ia, “purple” or wa-na-ka-te-ro po-
pu-re-[ ], “royal purple.”95 The use of the term po-pu-re-ia versus po-ni-ki-ia raises the
question as to whether phoinix etymologically relates to purple dye production.
Furthermore, archaeological evidence suggests that the purple dye industry may have
originated in Minoan Crete as early as the mid 18th century. After the fall of Minoan
culture, Mycenaean Greeks, Trojans, Anatolians, Cypriotes, and Canaanites all developed
purple dye industries of their own from the 15th-13th centuries.96 If, as Stieglitz claims,
the Mycenaean Greeks acquired the terminology of purple dye from the Minoans, one
would expect the Greek translation of the Semitic term kinaḫḫu to be porphyr.
Ultimately, there is no clear connection between the Mycenaean term porphyr and
the dye industry of Minoan Crete. Neither is there a clear connection between the
Mycenaean term po-ni-ki-ya and the purple dye industry. Thus, based on the available
Late Bronze Age texts, there is no etymological reason to relate the term phoenix to the
purple dye industry
Since kn‘n is primarily a Late Bronze Age term and Φοινιξ is a classical term found in
Iron IIB-C texts, we have yet to encounter terminology found in an early Iron Age
setting. One solution to this problem, taken directly from biblical and Homeric traditions,
has been to discuss Iron Age Phoenicia in terms of the major city-states. Both Homer and
the Hebrew Bible favor the gentilic term Sidonian when referring to an individual from
95 Stieglitz, "BA," 52.
the geographic region of Phoenicia.97 Katzenstein argues that the use of the term
Sidonian may reflect an 8th century context in which Tyrian and Sidonian powers were
unified under the rule of Ethbaal.98 Thus, Ethbaal was known as “king of the Sidonians”
because he not only ruled Tyre but also Sidon. There is, however, a late tradition by the
classic author Justin that describes a 12th century attack of Sidon by the king of the
Ashkelonians, which resulted in the founding of Tyre by displaced Sidonians.99 Though it
is impossible to confirm this late tradition, it is clear from excavations that Tyre’s
founding was much earlier than the 12th century.100 The Wenamun story states that Sidon
in the 11th century possessed a fleet of ships two and a half times greater than those of
Byblos.101 Additionally, recent archaeological excavations at Sidon confirm occupation
of the site in the Iron I-IIA periods.102 It remains possible, therefore, that both the
Homeric and biblical texts may preserve a tradition of Sidon’s cultural prominence prior
to the political realities of Ethbaal’s rule. Furthermore, we know from the 11th century
annals of Tiglath-Pileser that Arwad, Byblos and Sidon were the main coastal cities that
collaborated to prevent Assyrian conquest in the region.103 Therefore, the archaeological
and primary textual evidence suggests that Sidon was a prominent Phoenician city in the
97 Joshua 13:4-6; Judges 10: 12; I Kings 5:6. See Hans Jacob Katzenstein, The History of Tyre: From the
Beginning of the Second Millennium B.C.E. until the Fall of the Babylonian Empire in 538 B.C.E. (2nd ed.; Jerusalem:
Goldberg's Press, 1997), 62-63.
98 Katzenstein, The History of Tyre, 129-35.
99 Justinus Epitome XVIII, 3-5.
100 The earliest mention of Tyre is in Egyptian Execration texts dating to the nineteenth century B.C.E.
See Katzenstein, The History of Tyre, 19.
101 Pushkin Papyrus 120 1,59-2,2.
102 Claude Doumet-Serhal, "Preliminary Report on the Iron Age at Sidon: British Museum Excavations
2003-2004," Archaeology and History in Lebanon 23 (2006): 2-29.
103 A.0.87.3 16-25
11-10th centuries B.C.E. Therefore, it is unnecessary to restrict the biblical and Homeric
usage of the term Sidonian to the 9th and 8th centuries.104
2.5 ṮṮṮṮ-K-R, A Departure
Unlike the terms Canaanite or Phoenician, which refer to the inhabitants of a broad
geographic region, the term Sidonian is largely a geopolitical term and more narrowly
defines the inhabitants who lived within the geopolitical sphere of Sidon. While Sidon
may have enjoyed a prominent position among the Levantine coastal cities in the Iron I
period, it is clear from the Wenamun text and the Annals of Tiglath-Pileser I, that Byblos
and Arwad maintained some degree of distinction from Sidon. While it may seem
tempting to coin a new term such as “Neo-Canaanite,” to refer generally to the
inhabitants along the Lebanese coast, such an approach obfuscates the dynamic political
and cultural changes that take place during the Iron I-IIA periods. Rather than create an
artificial term, it is important to recognize the presence of diverse political boundaries
that characterized the identities in this region.
In recent years, the Egyptian term Ṯ-K-R has been associated with Phoenician
material presence in northern Israel in the Iron I period. The Ṯ-K-R known from the
inscriptions of Ramses III were part of the confederation of Sea Peoples who attacked
Egypt in the early part of the 12th century. Based on the Wenamun text, they have long
104 The reality is that our best primary textual evidence for Sidon as a seat of Phoenician authority comes
from the Persian period. From the Eshmunazor sarcophagus, we know that the king of Persia gave Sidon
control of the southern Levant, including the lands of Dagan in the plains of Sharon. In fact, the Persian
period is when Phoenicia’s borders extended the furthest, from Ashkelon in the south to Myriandos in
the North. See further, Elayi, "Studies in Phoenician Geography during the Persian Period," 83-110.
However, the primary textual evidence from the 11th century, which can not be ignored, suggests that
Sidon was greater than Tyre prior to the 10th century. See, Robert R. Stieglitz, "The Geopolitics of the
Phoenician Littoral in the Early Iron Age," BASOR, no. 279 (1990): 9-12.
been considered the foreign occupiers of Dor in the 11th century.105 Ayelet Gilboa has
challenged these assumptions with her studies of ceramics from Tel Dor.106 In her
analysis she demonstrates that “Ṯ-K-R” ceramics are actually the natural predecessors to
Phoenician bichrome ware, and that the overall ceramic evidence from Tel Dor shows a
great deal of continuity with Canaanite forms.107 In the following chapter, the relationship
between the term Ṯ-K-R and the Lebanese coast in the later half of the Iron I period will
be explored in detail.
105 Ephraim Stern, Dor, Ruler of the Seas: Nineteen Years of Excavations at the Israelite-Phoenician Harbor Town on
the Carmel Coast (rev. and exp. ed.; Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 2000), 85-100; Ephraim Stern,
"Phoenicians, Sikils, and Israelites In the Light of Recent Excavations at Tel Dor," in Phoenicia and the Bible
(ed. Edward Lipinski; Leuven: Peeters, 1991), 85-94.
106 Ayelet Gilboa and Ilan Sharon, "Between the Carmel and the Sea: Tel Dor's Iron Age Reconsidered,"
NEA 71, no. 3 (2009), 159-60; Ayelet Gilboa, "The Dynamics of Phoenician Bichrome Pottery: A View from
Tel Dor," BASOR 316 (1999) 1-22; Ayelet Gilboa, "Sea Peoples and Phoenicians along the Southern
Phoenician Coast - A Reconciliation: An Interpretation of Sikila (SKL) Material Culture," BASOR 337 (2005),
47-78; Ayelet Gilboa, "Archaeology and Ethnicity at Iron Age Dor: Sea Peoples, Phoenicians, and
Israelites," (2010 International Meeting. The Ancient Near East in the 12th-10th Centuries BCE: Culture
and History, Haifa, 2010).
107 Gilboa, "The Dynamics of Phoenician Bichrome Pottery: A View from Tel Dor," 12-19.
Chapter III: Primary Texts
There are several ancient Near Eastern texts which date to the Iron I-IIA period and
provide information relevant to Phoenician ethnicity and geopolitics. The texts which will
be examined below include several Byblian inscriptions, excerpts from the Egyptian
Wenamun text, and excerpts from the Annals of Tiglath-Pileser I. In order to critically
evaluate the data from these ancient sources, the present study will review the history of
each document’s discovery, define the genre and function of each document type, and
examine in detail the contribution of each text to the issue of Phoenician ethnicity and
geopolitics in the Iron I-IIA periods.
3.1. The Byblian Inscriptions
Over the past century, several inscriptions dating to the late Iron I-IIA periods have been
recovered through excavations at Byblos.108 Inscriptions KAI 1, 2, 4, and 7 are mortuary
inscriptions. Inscriptions KAI 5 and 6, are offerings to the Lady of Byblos, written on
statues of Sheshonq I and Osorkon I.109 Inscription KAI 3 records the name Azarbaal and
is some type of legal document written on a bronze spatula. All of these inscriptions are
very brief, but provide valuable data related to ethnicity and politics at Byblos during the
Iron IIA period.110
108 KAI 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7. For a summary of the initial publications by the excavators, see William Foxwell
Albright, "The Phoenician Inscriptions of the Tenth Century B.C. from Byblos," JAOS 67, no. 3 (1947),
109 KAI 5, 6.
110 More recently Benjamin Sass has dated these inscriptions to the mid-9th-8th centuries. Benjamin Sass,
The Alphabet at the Turn of the Millenium: The West Semitic Alphabet ca. 1150-850 B.C.E. (Tel Aviv:
Yass Publications in Archaeology, 2005), 49. In general the Shoshenq I statue provides the strongest
evidence for dating the inscriptions. For a detailed rebuttal of Sass’s position see Christopher A. Rollston,
The Byblian inscriptions provide physical evidence of the script used at Byblos
over a 100 year period. From these seven inscriptions it is possible to identify minor
changes in style.111 Below is an example of the earliest script type.
Table. 3.1.1. The Scripts of the Ahiram Inscription and Modern Hebrew.
א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת
א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת
In addition, these inscriptions preserve a small corpus of Byblian names. As seen
below in Fig. 3.1.1, Baal is a common theophoric element in Byblian names. These
inscriptions also inform us of the succession of Byblian rulers, and aid in establishing a
Table. 3.1.2. Byblian King List.
Ahiram Ca. 1000 B.C.E.
Ittobaal Ca. 980 B.C.E.
Yehimilk Ca. 960 B.C.E.
Abibaal Ca. 940 B.C.E.
Elibaal Ca. 920 B.C.E.
Shipitbaal Ca. 900 B.C.E.
Finally, the inscribed offerings of Abibaal and Elibaal on statues of Sheshonq I, and
Osorkon I point to strong and highly valued political ties with Egypt near the end of the
10th century B.C.E.
"The Dating of the Early Royal Byblian Phoenician Inscriptions: A Response to Benjamin Sass " Maarav
15, no. 1 (2008): 57-79.
111 Ibid., 68-78.
3.2. The Wenamun Papyrus: History and Date
The Story of Wenamun is an Egyptian text describing the perilous journey of a temple
official, named Wenamun, to Byblos, in order to procure cedar wood for the bark of
Amun. This Third Intermediate period text113 provides a rare description of the Northern
Levant during the 11th-10th centuries. The text is extremely valuable to this study as it
provides details about several well-known Phoenician ports, as well as the port of Dor,
which is south of the classical boundaries of Phoenician territory. The Story of Wenamun
offers insight into the identity of the Ṯ-k-r (Tjeker),114 and describes the complicated
trade dynamics during this period of Egyptian weakness.
In 1890, the Wenamun papyrus was discovered at El-Hiba in Egypt. The text was
written on papyrus in the Hieratic script. Discovered by fellahin, the document was
broken into pieces in an effort to multiply their profit through its sale on the market.
Russian Egyptologist Vladimir Golenishchev purchased most of the fragments, but was
unable to secure a complete document. Henrich Brugsch generously added another
fragment to Golenishchev’s collection. Currently, the text is at the Pushkin Museum and
is catalogued as Pushkin Papyrus 120.115 Though it is clear that the Wenamun text was
not recovered during excavation, there have been no raised concerns regarding its
113 Technically, the Third Intermediate period does not begin until the death of Ramses XI in 1070. As will
be discussed in detail below, this text probably describes events at the very end of Ramses XI’s life.
114 As will be demonstrated below, onomastic evidence preserved in the story of Wenamun provides clues
regarding the linguistic and cultural heritage of the ruler at Dor.
115 M. A. Korostovtsev, Travel of Wen-Amun to Byblos; The Hieratic Egyptian papyrus No. 120 at the A. S.
Pushkin state museum of fine arts (1960): 118-134. Cited 16 March 2009. Online: http://papyri.ru-
egypt.com/show.php?t=4&txt=8 In print, see Ricardo A. Caminos, A Tale Of Woe: From A Hieratic
Papyrus in the A. S. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow (Oxford: University Press, 1977)
The Wenamun narrative begins in “year five,” but no Pharaoh is named, leaving
one to speculate as to who is in control of Egypt. There are, however, clues within the
text that point to a date. Herihor is mentioned as the high priest of Amun. Historically,
Herihor served as high priest of Amun and vizier of the Thebaid and Nubia during the
rule of Rameses XI.116 He was appointed to this prestigious position during the
nineteenth year of Ramses XI. It was during Herihor’s rule of Upper Egypt that a new
calendar system was introduced, known as the wḥmśwt years, or “Renaissance era.”117
Therefore, it is safe to assume year five in the Wenamun text most likely refers to year
five of the “Renaissance era.” The Wenamun papyrus also mentions Nesoubanebdjed, the
Egyptian name for the Pharaoh known in the Greek tradition as Smendes.118 Prior to the
death of Ramses XI, Smendes ruled Lower Egypt, presumably in a position similar to
Herihor in the south.119 Eventually, Smendes became the founder of the 21st Dynasty, but
in the Wenamun text there is no indication that he has been named Pharaoh.120 Thus, the
setting of the Wenamun narrative is during a unique period of Egyptian weakness when
Ramses XI delegated away his authority and Egypt functionally was ruled by Herihor and
116 Kenneth A. Kitchen, The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100-650 B.C.) (Warminster: Aris &
Phillips LTD, 1986), 541.
117 Arno Egberts, "Wenamun," The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt vol 3:495.
118 Kitchen, The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100-650 B.C.), 255.
119 Ibid., 250.
120 A. Scheepers, "Anthroponyms et Toponymes du Rècit D'Ounamon," in Phoenicia and the Bible (ed.
Edward Lipinski; Studia Phoenicia; Leuven: Peeters, 1991), 23-24.
121 Herihor served as high priest of Amun in the south and eventually became vizier. Smendes, who may
have been a son of Herihor, likely held a similar priestly position in Lower Egypt. Thus, Egypt was divided
into Upper and Lower Egypt, both districts being ruled by a high priest rather than a Pharaoh. See Egberts,
"Wenamun," 541; Ogden Goelet, "Herihor," The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt vol 2:93. For the
breakdown in Rameside rule see Kitchen, The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100-650 B.C.), 248-54.
Adding to the complexity of identifying the setting of the narrative are the various
proposals regarding the date of the actual text. Since the Wenamun papyrus was not
discovered in situ, it is impossible to determine its date securely on archaeological
grounds. At El-Hibeh, numerous mud bricks stamped with the names Menkheperre
(1035-986 B.C.E.) and Pinudjem (1070-1032) attest to the importance of this site during
the 21st Dynasty.122 Limited access to the site has prevented excavators from securely
dating the earliest levels of El-Hibeh. Preliminarily, probes at the site suggest that a
substantial settlement existed prior to the 21st Dynasty.123 However, it is in the later 22nd
Dynasty, under the reign of Sheshonq I, that the site reached its zenith. In this later
period, Sheshonq I built a temple dedicated to “Amun Great of Roarings.”124 Sheshonq’s
choice of El-Hibeh as the temple site may have been a calculated effort to incorporate
into his territory the northern limits of Upper Egypt. Previously, this territory had been
ruled by the High Priests of Amun at Thebes, possibly as early as Herihor’s rule.125
Therefore, based on this limited body of archaeological evidence, it is only possible to
narrow the text’s date to sometime in the 11th century or early 10th century.
Since the Wenamun text cannot be dated based on archaeological context,
numerous scholars have attempted to date the text using paleographic, linguistic, and
122 Pinudjem was the successor of Herihor ruling as the High Priest of Amun and military commander. His
rule appears to extend from Sehel island in the south to El-Hibeh in the North. Eventually with the death of
Ramses XI and a positive relationship with Smendes, Pinudjem aquired the full status of a Pharaoh.
Menkhepere succeeded Pinudjem, though he never really made any serious claim to kingship except to
stamp his title ‘King of Upper and Lower Egypt’ on mud bricks at El Hibeh. See, Kitchen, The Third
Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100-650 B.C.), 257-62.
123 Robert J. Wenke, Archaeological Investigations at El-Hibeh 1980: Preliminary Report (Malibu:
Undena, 1984), 7, 11.
124 Wenke, Archaeological Investigations at El-Hibeh 1980: Preliminary Report 247-55.
13 Kenneth Kitchen based on the discovery of the Wenamun text at this site proposes that El-Hibeh may
have been established as a northern limit during the high priesthood of Piankh or Herihor. However,
Kitchen’s proposal imprudently relies on an unprovenanced text to date an archaeological site. Kitchen,
The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100-650 B.C.), 248 note 32
literary evidence. Many consider the present text to be a copy of an original work and
place the date of composition in the late 20th or early 21st Dynasty.126 There is, however,
no consensus regarding the attribution of the text to a specific dynasty. This has prompted
Wolfgang Helck to propose the early 22nd Dynasty as the date of composition. The basis
of Helck’s argument is the idea that the text is political propaganda and a work of fiction,
rather than a literary reworking of an administrative report.127 Benjamin Sass uses
Blumentahl’s literary forms to define the story of Wenamun as entertainment: tales with
the content of a lament.128 To bolster his argument that Wenamun is a late tale, Sass cites
Stern’s archaeological research at Dor, which demonstrate the site was an urbanized
Phoenician center from Iron I into Iron II. Sass claims the lack of Israelite control of the
site in the 10th century does not stand in the way of dating Wenamun to Sheshonq.129
However, Gilboa has recently stated that there is evidence that the site fell under Israelite
control in the Iron IIA period.130
Recent studies of the Wenamun text challenge the strength of Sass’s position that
the Wenaamun papyrus is a literary production during the rule of Sheshonq. In his recent
book, Bernd Schipper performs a thorough investigation of the Wenamun Story,
126 Gerald Moers, Fingierte Welten in der ägyptischen Literatur des 2 Jahrtausends v. Chr.:
Grenzüberschreitung, Reisemotiv und Fiktionalität (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 263; Alan H. Gardiner, Ancient
Egyptian Onomastica (reprint ed.; vol. 1 of 3: Oxford University, 1968b), 28; Egberts, "Wenamun," 495;
C.H. Eyre, "Is Egyptian Historical Literature "Historical" or "Literary"? ," in Ancient Egyptian Literature:
History and Forms (ed. Antonio Loprieno; New York: Brill, 1996), 432; Jan Assman, Kulturelle und
Literarische Texte (ed. Antonio Loprieno; New York: Brill, 1996), 78.
127 Hans Wolfgang Helck, "Wenamun," Lexicon Der Agyptologie 1216.
128 Elke Blumenthal, "Proigemena zu einer kassifizierung der ägzptischen literatur," in Proceedings of the
7th International Congress of Egyptologists, Cambridge, 3-9 September 1995 (ed. C. Erye; Leuven: OLA,
1998), 181; Benjamin Sass, "Wenamun and his Levant-1075 BC or 925 BC?", Ä&L 12 (2002a): 251.
129 E. Stern is the first to attribute material remains found at Dor to the Tjeker, whose participation with the
‘Sea Peoples’ has traditionally been considered foreign to Levantine material. The Tjeker mentioned in the
Wenamun text and the material culture attributed to them will be discussed in detail below. Ibid., 252.
130 Ayelet Gilboa, "Archaeology and Ethnicity at Iron Age Dor: Sea Peoples, Phoenicians, and Israelites."
(2010 International Meeting. The Ancient Near East in the 12th-10th Centuries BCE: Culture and History,
providing a critical edition of the text, an examination of the Egyptian and Levantine
historical context of the Twentieth—Twenty-second dynasties, and a literary examination
of the narrative. Schipper questions Sass’s conclusion on the basis of the weakness of
Sass’s archaeological evidence.131 Based on his careful review of the information
available, Schipper takes a more conservative stance, asserting that the historical context
for Wenamun more likely belongs to the early Third Intermediate period, or some time
between the 11th and 10th centuries B.C.E.132
Christopher Rollston has recently responded to Sass’s position on the 22nd-
Dynasty dating of the Wenamun text.133 Rollston points out that, while Sass’s
archaeological arguments do not “rule out” a date ca. 925, they hardly “prove” the text
dates to that period. It is important to recognize that both Sass and Rollston are not taking
into account the latest archeological findings at Tel Dor. The current excavators of Tel
Dor, also addresses the connections between the Wenamun text and current
archaeological discoveries. They assert that the text’s portrayal of Dor as a primary
stopping point for Egyptian maritime activity appears to correspond with the
archaeological record. Egyptian jar fragments of the 21st Dynasty appear in almost every
Iron I locus at Dor, demonstrating an unparalleled level of Egyptian commercial activity
131 Bernd U. Schipper, Die Erzählung des Wenamun (Fribourg: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Göttingen,
132Schipper argues, based on a lion scarab from Beersheba, that the veneration of Amun as god-king was
reestablished in the Levant during the 11th century. However, it is not until Sheshonq I that this concept is
consolidated. Thus, the religious themes of Wenamun are relevant in both the 11th and 10th centuries. Hans
Goedicke, The Report of Wenamun (ed. Hans Goedicke; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975),
133 Christopher A. Rollston, "The Dating of the Early Royal Byblian Phoenician Inscriptions: A Response
to Benjamin Sass," Maarav 15, no. 1 (2008).
among Levantine sites.134 Therefore, the current excavators of Dor believe the most
likely context of the Wenamun text is the 21st Dynasty, based on the convergence of
material evidence with the portrayal of Dor in the Wenamun text. This, of course, is not a
conclusive argument regarding the date of the existing Wenamun papyrus, but it does
demonstrate that the details within the document seem to accurately portray a 21st
Dynasty setting rather than a 22nd dynasty setting.
In light of this conclusion, portions of the text will be closely examined in an
effort to better define the Lebanese coast in the 11-10th centuries B.C.E.
3.3. Analysis of the term ṮṮṮṮ-k-r
Wenamun I, 8-9
n Abd 1 Smw jw=j (Hr) spr r _-r-w wa dmj.t n §-k-r.135
In one month I reached Dor, a harbor of Tjeker
In this text, the port city Dor, is associated with a people group known as the
ÃÙ‘, commonly transliterated Tjeker.136 The term Tjeker is only attested in the
Egyptian sources of Wenamun, the monumental inscriptions of Medinet Habu, and the
Onomasticon of Amenomope.137 Since the Medinet Habu inscription lists the Ṯ-k-r as
part of the coalition of foreigners known as “Sea People,” who attacked Egypt during the
rule of Ramses III, it has commonly been assumed a priori that the Ṯ-k-r were a non-
134 Ayelet Gilboa and Ilan Sharon, "Between the Carmel and the Sea: Tel Dor's Iron Age Reconsidered,"
NEA 71, no. 3 (2009): 159.
135 All Transliterations of the Wenamun text (P. Moscow 120) are taken from Schipper, Die Erzählung des
136 Thanks to a long occupational history spanning from the Middle Bronze Age to the Crusader period, as
well as over thirty years of archaeological exploration, much is known about this ancient port city. See the
Tel Dor website: http://dor.huji.ac.il/expedition.htmlEphraim Stern, Dor, Ruler of the Seas: Nineteen Years
of Excavations at the Israelite-Phoenician Harbor Town on the Carmel Coast (rev. and exp. ed.; Jerusalem:
Israel Exploration Society, 2000).
137 Goedicke, The Report of Wenamun, 175-81.
Semitic group of foreigners, forced into migration, that eventually settled in the Sharon
plain.138 The main question is “Where did they come from?”
Phonetics and Geographic Origins
One of the first problems encountered by the term Tjeker is the range of phonetic values
that are possible with the sign for Ṯ, k, and r. K can represent phonetic[k] or [g], and r can
represent both [r] and [l].139 By contrast, Ṯ has several proposed phonetic renderings,
including [tj], [s], [z].140 These variables have resulted in several theories. Fritz
Schachermeyer proposed that Ṯ-k-r referred to Teucros, a hero of the Trojan War who
founded the city of Salamis on Cyprus and became an eponymous ancestor of immigrants
from Cyprus to the Sharon coast.141 As noted by Trevor Bryce, this theory is purely
speculative.142 William Foxwell Albright proposed an alternate reading of S-k-l, in which
he suggested it referred to the Siculi, the founders of Sicily.143 Albright’s proposal that
this particular group of Sea People hailed from Sicily has become a majority view
regarding Ṯ-k-r origins.144 Anson Rainey provides additional evidence for the
138 Ephraim Stern, "Phoenicians, Sikils, and Israelites In the Light of Recent Excavations at Tel Dor," in
Phoenicia and the Bible (ed. Edward Lipinski; Leuven: Peeters, 1991), 85-94; Itamar Singer, "The Origin
of the Sea Peoples and Their Settlement on the Coast of Canaan," in Society and Economy in the Eastern
Mediterranean (eds. Michael Heltzer and Edward Lipiński; Leuven: Uitgeverij Peters, 1988), 245-46;
Ayelet Gilboa, "Sea Peoples and Phoenicians along the Southern Phoenician Coast - A Reconciliation: An
Interpretation of Sikila (SKL) Material Culture," BASOR 337 (2005): 67-68. Goedicke, The Report of
139 James E. Hoch, Semitic Words in Egyptian Texts of the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period
(Princeton: Princeton University, 1994), 411, 30.
140 Singer, "The Origin of the Sea Peoples and Their Settlement on the Coast of Canaan," 245.
141 Fritz Schachermeyr, Die Levante im Zeitalter der Wanderungen vom 13. bis zum 11. Jahrhundert v. Chr
(Wien: Verlag der O ̈sterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1982), 113-22.
142 Trevor Bryce, The Kingdom of the Hittites (New ed.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 338.
143 William Foxwell Albright, "A Revision of Early Hebrew Chronology," The Journal of the Palestine
Oriental Society 1, no. 1 (1920): 57-58.
144 William Foxwell Albright, The Vocalization of the Egyptian Syllabic Orthography (New Haven:
American Oriental Society, 1934), 65; Anson F. Rainey, "Toponymic Problems," Tel Aviv 9, no. 2 (1982):
transliteration S-k-l based on an Akkadian letter found at Ugarit (RS.34.129). This letter
requests the return of a certain Lunadušu who had been captured by the LÚ.MEŠ
KUR.URU. Ši-ka-la-iu-ú, who dwelt on the ships. Based on Assyrianisms found
throughout the text, Rainey concludes that the sign Ši = Si17 and Ši-ka-la-iu-ú should be
normalized as Sik(k)alayū.145 James Hoch’s excellent work with Semitic phonemes in
Egyptian texts confirms [s] should be the preferred reading for Egyptian Ṯ when dealing
with Semitic terms.146 As a final note on this issue, Itamar Singer argues that RS.34.129
bridges the gap between the Siculi in Italy and the Sikil at Dor.147 However, his theory
assumes that the Sikil were foreign to the geographic region of Dor prior to the battles
with Ramses III, which will be challenged by the evidence below.
In his work, The Report of Wenamun, Hans Goedicke challenges the assumption
that the Ṯ-k-r were a foreign non-Semitic people and suggests instead that Ṯ-k-r should
be read as the Semitic root ZKR, meaning “manly.” Furthermore, he proposes that the use
of land determinatives in the name Ṯ-k-r demonstrates that they were the natural
134; E. Edel, "Die Sikeloi in den ägyptischen Seevolkertexten und in Keilschrifturkunden," Biblische
Notizen 23 (1984): 7; Singer, "The Origin of the Sea Peoples and Their Settlement on the Coast of Canaan,
" 245-46; contra Donald B. Redford, "The Tjeker," in Cyprus, the Sea Peoples and the Eastern
Mediterranean: Regional Perspectives of Continuity and Change (ed. Timothy P. Harrison; Scripta
Mediterranea; Toronto: Canadian Institute for Mediterranean Studies, 2008), 9-13.
145 It is important to note that the Egyptian phoneme [Ṯ] does not exist in Akkadian nor in Northwest
Semitic. Rainey’s observation only addresses the Egyptian usage of Ṯ to represent Semitic s in
orthography, and cannot be used in a critical discussion of phonetics. Rainey, "Toponymic Problems," 134.
For RS 34.129, see Manfried Dietrich and Oswald Loretz, "Das 'SeefahrendeVolk' Šikila' (RS 34.129)," UF
10 (1978): 53-56.
146 Hoch, Semitic Words in Egyptian Texts of the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, 402-05.
Redford recently confirmed the Egyptian use of Ṯ for Semitc s, but also demonstrated that Egyptian Ṯ
when used to render Hittite, Hurrian, or Luwian words represented the affricative double sound t + s.
Ultimately, Redford sees no reason to seek a Semitic origin for the Ṯ-k-r and prefers Anatolia as the place
of origin. Redford, "The Tjeker," 9-11.
147 Singer, "The Origin of the Sea Peoples and Their Settlement on the Coast of Canaan," 245-46.
Stern, "Phoenicians, Sikils, and Israelites in the Light of Recent Excavations at Tel Dor," 85-94
inhabitants of the geographic region which would later be called Phoenicia.148 Though
Goedicke’s proposed reading, zeker, has been rejected,149 his arguments regarding the
origin of the Ṯ-k-r have recently been taken up by the excavators at Dor and are worth
Goedicke draws attention to the occurrence of Ṯ-k-r twice within the Wenamun
text (1,9; 2,63) with land determinatives rather than people determinatives (5<‚ and
5<õ).151 Outside of Wenamun, Ṯ-k-r occurs five times: twice with land determinatives
5< (Medinet Habu I 43,19; VIII 600b ), once with land and people determinatives
5!õ< (Medinet Habu I 46,18), and twice with people determinatives 5!õ, 5!O
(Medinet Habu I 28, 51; Medinet Habu II 107,7). Thus, Ṯ-k-r is a homologue
functioning as a geographic term and a gentilic noun.
Medinet Habu I 43,18-25 provides a clue that the Ṯ-k-r may not have been
Aegeans who migrated to the Sharon plain circa 1200 B.C.E. Goedicke draws attention to
the use of the land determinative in this passage as well as to another clue that the Ṯ-k-r
belong to the Semitic world. Expressed in the following lines of praise for the supremacy
of Pharaoh over his enemies, the awe of Pharaoh is compared to the awe of Seth/Baal.
Theologically, Pharaoh’s battle is not merely with the Ṯ-k-r, but also against the god of
his enemies. In this case, Seth/Baal is associated with the enemy Ṯ-k-r.152
148 Goedicke, The Report of Wenamun 182.
149 There is little evidence that Egyptian Ṯ was used to represent Semitic [z]. Rainey, "Toponymic
Problems," 135; Hoch, Semitic Words in Egyptian Texts of the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate
150 Gilboa and Sharon, "Between the Carmel and the Sea," 159-60.
151 An additional mention of Ṯ-k-r appears in the Wenamun text (2,71) where the land determinative is
used again, but Goedicke does not treat this occurrence as it is in a poorly copied section. Goedicke, The
Report of Wenamun
152 Goedicke, The Report of Wenamun, 175-76.
In addition to Goedicke’s observations, another metaphor in Medinet Habu I 43,
18-25, may be related to the Baal myth. In the statement “greater is your sword than a
mountain of metal,” the divine weapon of Pharaoh is juxtaposed to a mountain of metal.
The question is, “In what way is Baal associated with a mountain of metal?” Is this
simply a reference to a heap of swords from vanquished foes, or is it a reference to a
mountain associated with Baal? The most obvious association between Baal and a
mountain is Mount Ṣaphon, or Jebel el-Aqra‘, his dwelling place.153 In KTU 1.3 iii 29-31,
gb‘ tliyt (hill of victory) is one of the epithets given for Mt. Ṣaphon, highlighting the
importance of this geographic location in regard to the victories of Baal. In KTU 1.4 i,
23-35; v, 35-41, the palace is built completely of silver and gold mined from the
mountains and fashioned by Kothar-wa-Hasis, the god of metal-craft from Crete. The
victory of Baal over Yamm is possible through the use of divine weapons fashioned by
Kothar-wa-Hasis (KTU 1.2 iv, 11-27). Although we lack any direct attestation to Mt.
Ṣaphon as a ‘mountain of metal,’ the mountain’s association with silver/gold and the
epithet, “hill of victory,” suggests that Pharaoh’s claim is intended to pit his victorious
sword against the mountain from which Baal derives his victories. Further support for
Mt. Ṣaphon as a mythic mountain of metal can be found in the fragmentary lines of the
annals of Sargon II (I 230-231,233):
Ba’al Ṣapuna, the great mountain, bronze [together created]… of those
mountains, I mixed heaps of their earth, to furnaces…
I heaped up in my city Dur-Šarruken. Within Assyria the price of silver they set
equal to bronze in the 11th year of my reign.154
153 Jebel el Aqra‘ is located over 40 kilometers north of Ugarit near the coast. See further, Patrick N. Hunt,
ed., Mount Saphon in Myth and Fact (Lueven: Peeters, 1991), 108. 176
154 Arthur Gotfreid Lie, The Inscriptions of Sargon II King of Assyria ( Paris: Librairie Orientaliste Paul
Geunthner, 1929), 38; Stephanie Dalley, "Neo-Assyrian Textual Evidence for Bronzeworking Centers," in
Bronzeworking Centers of Western Asia, c. 1000-539 B.C. (ed. John Curtis: Taylor & Francis, 1988), 101.
Although the text is fragmentary, it seems clear that in the 8th century B.C.E., Mt. Ṣaphon
was a wealthy source of precious metal that yielded bronze and possibly silver, which
contributed greatly to the wealth of Assyria.155
The point is that in Medinet Habu I 43, 18-25, the Ṯ-k-r are connected to the deity
Baal and likely his divine abode, Mt. Saphon. The Ṯ-k-r’s connection with both Baal and
an element of his mythology strengthens Goedicke’s argument that the Ṯ-k-r should be
considered Levantine in origin156
The position that the Ṯ-k-r were native to the Lebanese region has been
strengthened by recent archaeological evidence from Dor. Unlike the material remains
found further south in the region of Philistia, there is no evidence of an abrupt change in
material culture at Dor from the Late Bronze Age to early Iron IIA. Rather, one can
match at Dor the developments that occur at sites to the north, such as Tell Keisan,
Sarepta, and Tyre. These developments show the slow transition from Late Bronze Age
“Canaanite” to Iron Age “Phoenician” culture.157 As such, the Dor archaeological
material aids in defining the possible territory of the Šikalayū mentioned in RS 34.129.
In this regard, Gilboa and Sharon point out that despite the mention of the Šikalayū
“living on boats,” the term Šikalayū is preceded by both land and city determinatives, and
thus these people were not migratory pirates, but rather associated with a concrete
geographic location a decade prior to their battle with Ramses III.158 While RS 34.129,
155Ibid., 101. Goedicke, The Report of Wenamun, 28.
157Gilboa and Sharon, "Between the Carmel and the Sea," 160.
47 Note that this position directly challenges Singer’s viewpoint regarding the Siculi who took up residence
in the Sharon plain following the conflict with Ramses III. See Gilboa and Sharon, "Between the Carmel
and the Sea,"159-60; Singer, "The Origin of the Sea Peoples and Their Settlement on the Coast of Canaan
does not provide any indication about the geographic location of the Šikalayū, the view
that they come from the Aegean is now questioned. Further archaeological evidence from
Dor will be examined below in Section 4.1.9.
An additional text mentioning the Ṯ-k-r which uses the land determinative is the
Onomasticon of Amenomope. In the Golenischeff copy of the Amenomope Onomasticon
IV, 6 are listed three geographic terms: Š-r-d-n, Ṯ-k-r, and P-r-š-t.159 It has been
conventionally maintained that these three terms describe the three geographic regions,
ordered north to south, along the Levantine coast settled by these “Sea Peoples.”
Goedicke disagrees with the idea that the Ṯ -k-r were foreign immigrants to the region,
but agrees that the text is useful for describing a north to south sequence of the regions.
However, Gilboa points out that the Levantine cities listed prior to these three regions
lack any strict geographic ordering.160 Therefore, it would seem the Onomasticon simply
confirms a region known as Ṯ -k-r existed in the Levant at the end of the Rameside
period, but can provide no reliable information regarding its specific location.
However, the Onomasticon of Amenope does provide a unique spelling of Ṯ-k-r.
In this instance, the r of Ṯ-k-r is written with the lion glyph (Û) rather than with the
mouth glyph (‘). As noted earlier, this spelling also occurs in Wenamun 2,71.
Scheepers suggests that in the Wenamun text Ṯ-k-r should be read as Ṯ-k-rw, where w
159 Alan H. Gardiner, Ancient Egyptian Onomastica (repr. ed.; vol. 3 of: Oxford University, 1968a), Plate
49 Goedicke, prior to Gilboa, notes that the Amenope Onomasticon does not convey any details about the Ṯ-
k-r. He, however, does not directly challenge the notion that the list is in geographic order. See, Goedicke,
The Report of Wenamun, 181. Gilboa points out that Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Gaza precede Sherden, Sikil,
and Philistine, and thus the list is not strictly organized from north to south. Gilboa, "Sea Peoples and
Phoenicians along the Southern Phoenician Coast - A Reconciliation: An Interpretation of Sikila (SKL)
Material Culture," 47.
marks the plural of ethnicity.161 Note, the term Š-r-d-n uses the people determinative,
indicating it is an ethnic term; by contrast, Ṯ-k-r and P-r-š-t end with the foreign land
determinative.162 The use of the land determinative rather than people determinative
creates a problem for Scheepers proposal, namely that w marks plurality of an ethnonym.
Furthermore, in Hoch’s treatment of Egyptian group writing during the New Kingdom
period, he states that the lion glyph (Û) shifted from rw/lw to li/ri and le/re.163 In
several Northwest Semitic languages, the preferred vowel for the gentilic construction is
i.164 Since the region known as Ṯ -k-r includes Dor, which is in the middle of the
Canaanite language region, it is likely that the gentilic form of Ṯ-k-r would have ended in
i. This is likely an instance where the scribe unwittingly used a foreign gentilic instead of
the proper geographic term. This proposal situates Ṯ -k-r within the linguistic geography
of Hebrew, Phoenician, and Ugaritic.
Based on (RS.34.129) the term Ṯ-k-r should be transliterated S-k-l when referring
to a region, or S-k-li when referring to people from that territory. Unfortunately, a clear
definition of the term S-k-l has yet to be found.165 An interesting proposal made by
Charles Krahmalkov is that the Punic root š-q-l refers to an individual who is a Sicel, or a
161 Scheepers, "Anthroponyms et Toponymes du Rècit D'Ounamon," 69-70.
162 Gardiner, Ancient Egyptian Onomastica, 194-99.
163 Donald B. Redford in his discussion of the issue claims the recumbent lion glyph should be read r
instead of l, and cites Hoch page 509 for his argument. However, Hoch also states that the recumbent lion
glyph, during the period of Sheshonq I, was used for the phoneme l. Furthermore, in the Medinet Habu
inscription Ṯ-k-r is never spelled with the recumbent lion, but rather the mouth glyph. The Story of
Wenamun and the Onomasticon of Amenope are both Third Intermediate period sources and it is therefore
possible to read the recumbent lion glyph as li/le. See Hoch, Semitic Words in Egyptian Texts of the New
Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, 502; Redford, "The Tjeker," 9.
164 Daniel Sivan, A Grammar of the Ugaritic Language (eds. H. Altenmüler, et al.; Leiden: Brill, 2001), 74;
Charles R. Krahmalkov, A Phoenician-Punic Grammar (eds. H. Altenmüler, et al.; Leiden: Brill, 2001),
149; Wilhelm Gesenius and E. Kautzsch, Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar (trans. A. E. Cowley; Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1910), 240.
165 In the various proposed readings of Ṯ--k-r no one has suggested that the k may be a Semitic g, but this is
a possible transliteration.
person from Sicily.166 His evidence comes from jar fragments found in a tomb at
Carthage bearing the name of a man, דבעלעב followed by the word 167.שקל However, if
is to be taken as a gentilic construction, one would expect a final yod for Phoenicianשקל
or aleph for Punic as in the present case.168 It seems more reasonable that here refers שקל
to a weight or value within the vessel. Although Krahmalkov’s case may be lacking with
regard to the Punic evidence, his argument raises the question: are the S-k-l of Wenamun
to be connected to the root š-q-l, (weigh or balance,) and by extension (buy, sell, and
trade)? Based on Hoch’s analysis, Egyptian k can represent Semitic [q] but Egyptian
group sign Ã Ṯ only represents Semitic [s] and never [š].169 So, the root š-q-l is
untenable, and S-k-l is to be preferred.
The idea that the S-k-li should be equated with Seculi is further challenged based
on a unique occurrence of S-k-li on Pylon 7 at Karnak, which contains a list of Asiatic
cities conquered by Thutmose III.170 Gardiner draws attention to the presence of the term
Ṯ -k-li in both the Amenope Onomasticon and the Karnak list, but concludes that they are
homonyms. He bases his rationale on the Karnak list, which contains the names of cities
in northern Syria dated roughly four hundred years before the foreign invasion of the ‘Sea
people.’171 Presuppositions about the origins of the ‘Sea People’ have kept scholars from
accepting that Thutmose III’s geographic list places the S-k-l near the Syro-Lebanese
166 Charles Krahmalkov, Phoenician-Punic Dictionary (vol. XV of; Leuven: Peeters, 2000), 480.
167 A. L. Delattre, "Les Tombeaux Puniques de Carthage," Revue Archéologique 17, no. 1 (1891): 58-60.
168 Krahmalkov, A Phoenician-Punic Grammar, 148.
169 Hoch, Semitic Words in Egyptian Texts of the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, 410-11,
170 Urk IV 788, 136. Note the lack of determinatives in the list of place names including Ṯ-k-r.
171 Gardiner, Ancient Egyptian Onomastica, 200.
region four centuries prior to the wars with Ramses III.172 While many of the names in
the Pylon 7 list have yet to be identified, the following five locations are useful in
providing a general geographic context for Sikal: Tnp (127),173 Ḏrb (130), Ny (132), Ṯ-k-
rw (136), and I-n-m (138).174 Tnp (Tunip) has generally been identified as a location
between Kadeš and Aleppo.175 Tell ʽAsharneh is the most likely location of Tunip.176 Ḏrb
has been associated with modern Zirbe, located 20 kilometers south-west of Aleppo.
However, the ancient city Zulabi might be preferred since it is listed in Ugaritic sources
and is to be located 30 kilometers east of Arwad, near Tunip.177 Ny (Niya) is typically
associated with a region on the east side of the Orontes, north of Tunip.178 Qalʽat el
Mudiq, near the Roman city of Apamea, is the likely location of Niya.179 No specific
geographic location has been suggested for Ṯ-k-rw (Sikal), but it has been generally
placed near Niya, somewhere in the lower Orontes region.180 I-n-m has been associated
172 It is surprising that, as recently as 2005, Ayelet Gilboa dismissed the possible connection between the
Karnak evidence and the S-k-l at Dor. Her reason was largely based on Scheeper’s perception of
the“Foreignness” of the S-k-l. Scheepers’s view that the S-k-l were foreigners appears to be based on the
old theories of Gardiner and Helck, who sought Aegean origins for all “Sea Peoples.” See Gilboa, "Sea
Peoples and Phoenicians along the Southern Phoenician Coast - A Reconciliation: An Interpretation of
Sikila (SKL) Material Culture," 67. Scheepers, "Anthroponyms et Toponymes du Rècit D'Ounamon," 72.
173 There are two numbering systems for the Thutmose III list. I have chosen to follow the Urk numbers
rather than those of W. Mueller. For a discussion of the different numbering systems see J. Simons,
Handbook for the Study of Egyptian Topographical Lists Relating to Western Asia (Leiden: Brill, 1937),
174 Anton Jirku, "Die Ägyptischen Listen Palästinensischer und Szyrischer Ortsnamen," KLIO Beitrege yur
Alten Geschichte 38 (1937): 18-19.
175 Anson Rainey more recently identifies Tunip as a city on the Orontes south between Ugarit and Arwad.
See, Anson F. Rainey and R. Steven Notley, The Sacred Bridge: Carta's Atlas of the Biblical World
(Jerusalem: Carta, 2006), 62.
176 Yuval Goren, Israel Finkelstein, and Nadav Naaman, Inscribed in Clay: Provenance Study of the
Amarna Tablets and Other Ancient Near Eastern Texts (Tel Aviv: Emery and Claire Yass Publications in
Archaeology, 2004), 121.
177 For the location of Zulabi, see Ibid.,100.
178 Ibid., 62; Donald B. Redford, The Wars in Syria and Palestine of Thutmose III (eds. B. Halpern, et al.;
Leiden: Brill, 2003), Map. 1.
179 Goren, Finkelstein, and Naaman, Inscribed in Clay, 93.
180 Henri Gauthier, "Dictionnaire des noms géographiques contenus dans les textes hiéroglyphiques," 70.
with Inimme, a territory of Sidon mentioned in an Esarhaddon text (Prism S III, 10).181 In
the editio princeps of the prism S, Vincent Scheil demonstrates that in a list of Seti I, a
similarly named city is listed prior to Akko. Likewise, a city, Inu’amu, is listed next to
Tyre in an inscription from Deir el Bahri.182 Thus, I-n-m can be generally placed
somewhere in Lebanon, between Akko and Sidon. Although the precise location of Sikal
is unknown, it is likely somewhere between the Orontes and I-n-m. Thus, the earliest
attestation of a location known as S-k-l in Syro-Lebanon comes from the 15th century
inscription found on Pylon 7.
In a recent article, Donald Redford noted that several place names in the Pylon 7
list include variants of the term S-k-r (S-k-l): S-g-r (161), i-S-k-r (197), D-S-k-r (271).183
Since this term occurs multiple times, Redford suggests that Ṯ-k-r is a noun describing
some type of geographic feature rather than a proper place name. He suggests S-k-r
comes from the Akkadian root sgr/skr, meaning to block or dam up.184 Redford therefore
concludes that the term Skr, “dam” as it appears in the Pylon 7 list, cannot possibly have
anything to do with the Skr of the Sea People. However, Redford fails to point out that
the term S-k-r is primarily a geographic term, even in the list of Sea People. Secondly, the
reading of “dam” and its occurrence as an element in multiple place names does not
nullify the fact that the term serves as a proper name for one specific location, S-k-l (132).
Another piece of evidence that S-k-l is a specific location near Sidon is found in Prism S
III, 9, where the city Šik-ku-u, Sikkû, is mentioned in close proximity to Inimme in the
181 Vincent Scheil, Le Prisme S D'Assaraddon: Roi D'Assyrie 681-668 (Paris: Librairie Ancienne Honoré
Champion, 1914), 14.
182 Ibid., 34.
183 Redford, "The Tjeker," 10.
territory belonging to Sidon.185 The final û in Sikkû typically indicates a weak letter or a
guttural, which accounts for a missing l/r. 186 Finally, Redford’s preference for the Indo-
European origins of the S-k-l is not completely supported by the continuity of coastal
material culture found at Tel Dor.187 There is some evidence of Syrian style material in
the form of drinking vessels, and a very large mud brick building, but this evidence must
be considered alongside the coastal material.188 The prominence of the S-k-l in the
Wenamun text and the cooperation of Byblos with them suggests there was a degree of
geopolitical cooperation between the S-k-l and the city-states along the Lebanese coast.
The combination of shared material culture and geopolitical cooperation suggests closer
cultural and geographic ties between the two groups.
3.4. Onomastic Analysis
jw B-d-r pAj=f wr (Hr) dj.t jnj n=j aqw 50 jrp msḫ mAs.t n kA.
B-d-r it’s ruler189 arranged that someone bring me 50 loaves of bread, 1 container
of wine (and) 1 haunch of beef.
jA jr pA HD n(y)-sw Jmn-Ra nsw.t nTr.w pA nb n nA tA.wj n(y)-sw N(y)-sw-bA-nb-Dd.t n(y) –
sw ¡rj- ¡r pAj=j nb nA ktḫ aAy.w n km.t ntk sw n(y) –st W-r-t n(y) –st M-k-m-r n(y) –st §-
k-r- b-a-l pA wr n K-p-n-y
Indeed as concerns the silver; it belongs to Amun-Re, king of gods, the lord of
the two lands, it belongs to Smendes, it belongs to Herihor my lord, (and) to other
great ones of Egypt. To you it belongs, it belongs to W-r-t, it belongs to M-k-m-r,
it belongs to Ṯ-k-r-baal the ruler of Byblos.
185 Vincent Scheil, Le Prisme S D'Assaraddon: Roi D'Assyrie 681-668 (Paris: Librairie Ancienne Honoré
Champion, 1914), 14.
186 Though much has been made over the most appropriate reading of the final letter r/l, it is a common
phenomenon in Semitic languages for r/l/n to be confused over time and between languages. It would not
be surprising, therefore, for an Akkadian root ending in final r to shift to l over time.
187 Gilboa, "Sea Peoples and Phoenicians along the Southern Phoenician Coast - A Reconciliation: An
Interpretation of Sikila (SKL) Material Culture," 47-78.
188 Gilboa and Sharon, "Between the Carmel and the Sea," 154-56.
189 Wr literally means ‘great one’.
In the lines translated above, we have a list of foreign rulers that Wenamun was to visit in
his quest for cedar. This onomastic evidence can be used to determine the language, and
possibly the culture, to which these individuals belong. In this case, the first ruler B-d-r is
earlier called the ruler of Dor (Wenamun 1,8-9), which is a S-k-l port. While in port,
Wenamun reports a theft of 30 dbn of silver, a portion of which was to be distributed to
B-d-r himself along with three other named rulers. Numerous proposals have been made
with regard to these names in an attempt to contextualize the origins of the S-k-l, as well
as the three other rulers. The following examination proposes that most of these names
are Northwest Semitic.
To date, several readings have been proposed for B-d-r. Hans Goedicke
proposed that BA-dj-r should be read as PA-(n)-dj-r meaning “that one of Dor.” However
when one looks at the heiroglyphs the name begins with the stork glyph w which clearly
represents bi and not pA.190 A. Scheepers proposed that BA-dj-r meant “son of Dor,”
where the first element BA represents the Semitic term ben “son” with assimilation of the
final n.191 Lipiński suggests the name means bidal/badal, a Semitic term for “viceroy,”
attested in Eblaite and Ugaritic texts.192 Lipiński is correct to seek a Semitic reading
given the Phoenician material excavated in 11th century levels at Dor. However, there is
no evidence for the term bidal/badal in Northwest Semitic. Furthermore, Lipiński’s
assumption that the S-k-l are foreigners precludes his investigation of Semitic onomastic
190 Hoch, Semitic Words in Egyptian Texts of the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, 507.
191 Schipper, Die Erzählung des Wenamun, 172-73.
192 Edward Lipinski, "Šu-bala-aka and badalum," in Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft von Ebla (eds. H.
Waetzoldt and H. Hauptmann; Heidelberg, 1988), 257-60.
options.193 Goedicke proposed the biblical name ְּבָדן, a fourth generation son in the line
of Manasseh (1 Chron 7:17). Surprisingly, Goedicke considers this name to be non-
Semitic, a viewpoint Scheepers refutes, noting the Hebrew root bdl meaning “isolated”
and the Aramaic root bdr meaning “disperse” as possible Semitic roots for the name.194
Furthermore, Noth has proposed the name may mean “offspring of El.” The first element
bd is attested in Phoenician onomastics195 which he translates as “branch,” and the second
element r represents the theophoric element ʼēl.196 However, bd in light of Hebrew and
Ugaritic usage should be translated as “in ones charge/ in the service of.”197 Based on
previous arguments outlined in this paper regarding the geographic location of the S-k-l,
there is little reason to seek a reading beyond a West Semitic context. Thus Bd-ʼl, first
proposed by Noth, but with a new meaning “in the power of El,” is to be preferred over
the other suggestions. Furthermore, Bd-ʼl is an attested name in Ugaritic and later in
The next foreign ruler to whom Wenamun was to bring some of the silver was Wrt. W. F.
Albright suggested the name is derived from Pisidian warda which is an appellation for
Zeus. He argued the “Sea Peoples” originated in southwestern Anatolia, and that this
name attests to a ruler who probably resided in one of the cities of the Philistine
193 Lipinski, "Šu-bala-aka and badalum," 260.
194Goedicke, The Report of Wenamun
195Martin Noth, Die Israelitischen Personennamen im Rahmen der Gemeinsemitischen Namengebung.
(Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1928), 13. Examples of such names are bd ʼšmn, bdbʽl, bdʽštrt, etc. See, Frank L.
Benz, Personal Names in the Phoenician and Punic inscriptions (Rome Biblical Institute, 1972), 283-86.
196 Noth, Die Israelitischen Personennamen im Rahmen der Gemeinsemitischen Namengebung., 13; M.
Burchardt, Die Altkanaanäische Fremdworte und Eigennamen im Ägyptischen (vol. 2 of; Leipzig, 1910),
197 Krahmalkov, Phoenician-Punic Dictionary, 97-98., I, §159.
198 Benz, Personal Names, 283-86.
Pentopolis.199 However, Scheepers observes that if Wrt lived in the south, one would
expect Wenamun to have visited him before reaching Dor.200 At the recommendation of
Lipiński, Scheepers notes that the term Wrt could be Hurrian and cites the Ugaritic text
CAT 4.369: 18, as well as Nuzi economic documents which refer to Wi-ir-ru-ut-ta, Wa-
ra-at-te-ia/wa-ra-te/Wa-ra-te-ei.201 Regarding this textual evidence from Nuzi, Wi-ir-ru-
ut-ta occurs only once as the name of a cook.202 With regard to the names Wa-ra-at-te-
ia/Wa-ra-te/Wa-ra-te-e, they are well-attested and should be translated as “servant of Tea
(Teshup).”203 The connection between this Nuzi name and the name mentioned in the
Wenamun text is enticing, but one must consider whether a Hurro-Akkadian name fits an
Iron I Levantine context.
Another proposal by Hans Goedicke is that Wrt is related to the name Wrktr, ruler
of Sidon, which occurs in line 1.2,2 of the Wenamun Papyrus. According to Goedicke,
the final r of Wrktr, which stands for the theophoric element ʼl, has been omitted in a
shorter form of the name, Wrt. The omission of k may be seen as unintentional. Goedicke
thus proposes ʼluktēl as the appropriate reading, but provides no meaning for this
proposed name.204 M. Green also sees a connection between Wrt and Wrktr and argues
199 William Foxwell Albright, "The Eastern Mediterranean about 1060 B.C.," in Studies Presented to D.M.
Robinson I (ed. G. Mylonas; Saint-Louis, 1951), 223-31.
200 Scheepers, "Anthroponyms et Toponymes du Rècit D'Ounamon," 43; Goedicke, The Report of
201 Elena Cassin and Jean-Jacques Glassner, Anthroponymie et Anthropologie de Nuzi (vol. I of; Malibu:
Undena, 1977), 167.
202 HSS XVI 454:10 See, Michael C. Astour, "Les Frontières et Districts du Royaume D'Ugarit: Éléments
de topographie historique régionale " UF &" (1981): 6,12.
203 Wa-ra-at-te-ia (HSS XVI 85:9; 337:3) Wa-ra-te (HSS XIII 253:7; 255:11; 388:3) Wa-ra-te-e (HSS XIII
249:6; HSS XVI 249:1). See further, Ignance J. Gelb, Pierre M. Purves, and Allan A. MacRae, Nuzi
Personal Names (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1943), 265.
204Goedicke, The Report of Wenamun, 32-33. J. Simons, Handbook for the Study of Egyptian Topographica
lLists Relating to Western Asia (Leiden: Brill, 1937)
Wrkt is a geographic location mentioned in the Toponym list of Pharaoh Shoshenq I.205
He believes the person’s name may be a homonym of a geographic locale, especially as
the two occurrences are accompanied by a person determinative. For a definition of this
term he suggests Akkadian (w)arkatu ‘rear side, rear area’ and Aramaic ’l ‘these’
resulting in the generic term ‘these backwoods.’206 Green’s proposed reading is at best an
awkward and inappropriate use of Aramaic, and his proposed reading of the toponym
from the Shoshenq list is problematic.207
Within the Ugaritic corpus, one document contains the name wrt mtny (KTU
4.368:17-19). Frauke Gröndal translates the geographic term mtny as Mittani which
seems to support Scheepers’ argument for a Hurrian connection.208 However, Michael
Astour, in his examination of the frontiers and districts of the kingdom of Ugarit, reads
mtny as a gentilic and places mtn to the southwest of Ugarit.209 Unfortunately, Astour is
unsure exactly where mtn is to be located within the Piedmont. It is interesting to note in
this regard that in modern Lebanon, the Matn Mountains are located just east of modern
Beirut. However, the term matn “back” comes from standard Arabic, and may have no
relevance to the earlier Ugaritic root.210
205 The toponym is written yX‘Ùëëk. See M. Green, "<<m-k-m-r>> und <<w-r-k-t-r>> in der
Wenamun-Geschichte," Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 113 (1986): 115-19.
206 Green, "<<m-k-m-r>> und <<w-r-k-t-r>> in der Wenamu-Geschichte," 119.
207 In cartouche number 76 of the Shoshenq I Toponym List, the k is reconstructed in a break. Thus, the
cartouche should be transcribed as follows yX‘[Ù] ëëk. In addition to a questionable k, the face of the
bird is damaged. Instead of the eagle glyph, Anson Rainey reads an owl glyph, and does not reconstruct the
k ( personal communication May 29, 2009). Therefore he suggests transliterating the name Aw-m-l-ya-ta.
See Anson F. Rainey and R. Steven Notley, The Sacred Bridge: Carta's Atlas of the Biblical World
(Jerusalem: Carta, 2006), 187-88.
208 F. Gröndahl, Die Personennamen der Texte aus Ugarit (Rom, 1967), 314.
209 Daniel Sivan and Ziporah Cochavai-Rainey, West Semitic Vocabulary in Egyptian Script of the 14th to
the 10th Centuries BCE (ed. Shmuel Ahituv; Ben-Gurion: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 1992), 51-
210 Elie Wardini, Lebanese Place-Names: Mount Lebanon and North Lebanon (Leuven: Peeters, 2002),
Another point to consider regarding the name Wrt is that the first sign group in
the name, yX (wA), is used in the spelling of Semitic terms during this period to
represent the vowels ô/û. Typically, this feature is preserved when WA is in the medial
position of known verbs.211 The question is can WA in an initial position represents an
ô/û, which would result in a reading of the name as ôrt or ûrt? Based on Hoch’s treatment
of Semitic terms in Egyptian he considers the few initial wA terms found in Semitic
contexts to be non-Semitic.212 Further, he provides only one example of a Semitic term
with initial ʼ followed by an o/u vowel ëv¾v‘ôëëG: ( ʼu-ba-ra-ya.)213 Since there is no
strong evidence regarding the Egyptian spelling of Semitic terms with initial ʼu we should
at least consider the Ugaritic evidence. Within the Ugaritic corpus, the name urt is
attested in CAT 4.617:44, and syllabically as ú-ri-te.214 A similar name with a final n
(urtn) is found in six other texts from Ugarit.215 Two similar names are also attested in
the Nuzi corpus, ur-ti-ia and ur-te-e.216 Ultimately this argument is similar to Lipiński
and Scheeper’s proposal above but, with a greater degree of uncertainty regarding
Egyptian spelling conventions for words with initial ʼu. Thus, the onomastic evidence
from Ugarit suggests the name wrt in the Wenamun text is some variant of a Hurrian
The third ruler mentioned by Wenamun is M-k-m-r. Green proposed that the name M-k-
m-r refers to the mountain Makmal located east of modern Tripoli, and that the ruler of
211 Hoch, Semitic Words in Egyptian Texts of the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, 406.
212 Hoch, Semitic Words in Egyptian Texts of the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, 421.
213 Hoch, Semitic Words in Egyptian Texts of the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, 51.
214 DULAT, 110.
215 Ibid., 110.
216 Cassin and Glassner, Anthroponymie et Anthropologie de Nuzi, 161.
this region may have shared the same name. One could argue that Green’s proposal in
this instance is bolstered by the fact that m-k-m-r is written with only the foreign land
determinative 5<. However, the following name, Ṯ-k-r-b-a-r, which is a perfectly good
Phoenician name, also lacks a person determinitive. If both of Green’s proposals are
correct, then Wenamun would have been bearing gifts for the two port cities of Dor and
Byblos, and for the two inland mountain regions where cedar was harvested. In this way,
Wenamun would be providing gifts not just to the ports which provide transportation, but
also to those towns where the laborers cut the cedar.
Regarding the meaning of the name M-k-m-r, Albright suggested it contains two
elements found in Cilician onomastics, Carian mu(n)k and Lycian,217 mura which would
place the name’s origin in southwestern Anatolia.218Goedicke preferred a Phoenician
origin for the individual and identified him as the ruler at Tyre. He based his conclusion
on the belief that Wenamun was listing the port rulers between Dor and Byblos in
geographical order. Thus, Wrt rules Sidon and M-k-m-r rules Tyre.219 However,
Goedicke does not provide a meaning for the name.
Another proposal by Lipiński associates M-k-m-r with the deity Mekal, who is
depicted on an Egyptian stele dating to the late 14-13th centuries and found at Beth
Shean, as well as on Phoenician and Aramaic inscriptions.220 The name Mekal has been
read as a version of the Hebrew name Mi-ka-ʼēl, “who is like El.” In the Wenamun text
the name occurs with a longer spelling of the name, Mi-kamo-El meaning “who is like
217 Johannes Sundwall, Die Einheimischen Namen der Lykier nebst einem Verzeichnisse kleinasiatischer
Namenstämme (Leipzig: Dieterich´sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1913), 152,55,56.
218 Albright, "The Eastern Mediterranean about 1060 B.C.," 228-29.
219 Goedicke, The Report of Wenamun, 33-34.
220 Scheepers, "Anthroponyms et Toponymes du Rècit D'Ounamon," 45; Benz, Personal Names, 343.
El.”221 This same god seems to be referenced in a Phoenician inscription from Cyprus
(CIS 89-91,93-94) along with the diety Rešep.222 Scheepers notes that the final r in m-k-
m-r is spelled with the lion glyph (Û) rather than the mouth glyph (‘). He argues the
scribe intended an r sound, not an l sound, based on other names ending with the mouth
glyph.223 For this reason, Scheepers prefers another proposal by Lipiński, who argues
Mer224is a theophoric element found in Amorite names. However, Scheepers’ preference
for this reading contradicts his later argument regarding the unique spelling of Ṯkr found
in line 2,71 where the lion glyph is used for the final r. For Ṯkr, he emphasizes the
biliteral function of the lion glyph (rw) where w is the plural of ethnicity, but concludes
Ṯkr should be read Skl.225 As discussed earlier, Hoch confirms the possible range of the
lion glyph as ri/re, li/le, demonstrating there is no reason to prefer Lipiński’s Mer.226
Further, Scheepers’ ‘plural of ethnicity’ is no longer relevant if the final vowel is i/e. The
preferred reading should be reconstructed as an expanded form of the attested Semitic
name M(y)k’l “who is like El= Mi-kamo-eli “who is like my El?”227
3.4.4 . ṮṮṮṮ-k-r-b-a-r
The final name in the list is Ṯkr-b-a-r, the ruler of Byblos. Although the use of Egyptian
Ṯ for z is unique in that Ṯ usually represents Semitic S, it has been argued that the earlier
221 Rainey, "Toponymic Problems," 134-36.
222 See mkl Benz, Personal Names, 343.
223 Ibid., 46.
224 The god Mer is glossed with Adad in the god list An= Anum and should therefore be considered some
type of weather god. See, Hans Wilhelm Haussig, Wörterbuch Der Mythologie I. Götter und Mythen im
Vorderen Orient (Stuttgart: Ernst Klent Verlag, 1965), 135-37.
225 Ibid, 70 note 383.
226 Hoch, Semitic Words in Egyptian Texts of the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, 502.
227 HALOT, 576.
form of the verb was *skr and the s shifts to z in later time periods, resulting in zkr.228
There is little dispute that the name is composed of the Semitic root zkr and the
theophoric element ba`al.229 There is, however, some debate over the meaning of the root
zkr. The majority view is that the name is similar to the biblical name Zeḵaryā, where zkr
is the verbal root “remember.” Thus “Baal remembered” would be the name of the king
of Byblos. 230 An alternative reading proposed by Goedicke suggests the noun zāḵār
meaning “man,” thus the name of the ruler of Byblos was “man of Baal.” As noted
earlier, Goedicke’s proposed reading of “manly” for the meaning of the ethnonym of the
inhabitants of Dor (Ṯkr) has been highly criticized.231 In his discussion of the name,
Schipper has no doubt that it derives from the root zkr ‘remember,’ but sees no
etymological connection between Zkr-b-a-r and the region/people known as Ṯkr. He also
notes that this name is Phoenician and attested in 5-4th century texts,232 and evidenced on
a metal bowl from the 10-11th centuries.233 Schipper argues that the similarity of the
spelling of Ṯkr and Ṯkr-b-a-r plays into a theological motif found within the text. The Ṯkr
are a hostile group no longer under the control of Amun. Likewise, the ruler of Byblos,
whose name can be read ‘the Ṯkr of Ba’al’, has been reluctant to supply cedar for Amun.
Baal, the god of the foreign Ṯkr territory, is at odds with the will of Amun. Thus, for
theological reasons Ṯkr and Ṯkr-bal appear to contain the same word, when in fact there
228 Rainey, "Toponymic Problems," 133-34; S. Harris, A Grammar Of the Phoenician Language (New
Haven: American Oriental Series, 1936), 99; R.S. Tomback, A Comparative Semitic Lexicon of the
Phoenician and Punic Languages (Missoula: Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series, 1978), 228-
229 Noth, Die Israelitischen Personennamen im Rahmen der Gemeinsemitischen Namengebung., 134; Benz,
Personal Names, 210-11; Rainey, "Toponymic Problems,"
230 Benz, Personal Names, 305.
231 See page 3-4.
232 KAI 22,1; Schipper, Die Erzählung des Wenamun, 177.
233 Schipper, Die Erzählung des Wenamun, 275-181.
is no etymological connection between the two.234 I could not agree more with this
reading of the text, especially given the fact that Ṯkr-bal lacks the person determinative,
appearing solely with the glyphs for foreign land 5<.
In conclusion, we can safely say that Badil, Mikamo’el, and Zakar-Baal are good
Northwest Semitic names similar to ones in Phoenician inscriptions.235 Wrt (Wld) is less
certain. Although Warad seems to be an appealing Semitic reading of this name, one has
to grapple with the possibility of a Levantine ruler with an East Semitic name. Ugaritic
evidence of wrt or urt brings us closer to placing the name in a Levantine context, but
offers no real information regarding the name’s meaning or ethnic affiliation. A reading
of wld would be peculiar in Northwest Semitic due to the preservation of an initial w, but
the root is common in Semitic, occurring even in Phoenician.236 Neither wld nor yld,
however, is attested in Phoenician onomastics. As to the geographic location of these
rulers, one cannot assume they only governed port cities.
jw=j (Hr) Dd n=f (j)n bn br n km.t xr nA ntj (Hr) Xnj Xr N(y) –sw-bA-nb Dd.t (j)n wn m-dj=f
js.t xArw jw=f (Hr) Dd n=j (j)n mn 20 n mnS dj n tAj=j mr jw=w n xbr jrm N(y)-sw-bA-n-
nb-Dd.t jr pAj ©-d-d-n pA ky j:sS=k r=f (j) n mn ktj 50 n br jm jw=w n xbr jrm W-r-k-t-r
jw j:jr.w jtH r pAy=f pr jw=j(Hr) gr n tAj wnw.t aA.t
“Is it not an Egyptian ship and Egyptian crew who sail under Smendes? Has he
(perhaps) a Syrian crew? He said to me: Are there not 20 ships here in my harbor,
they are in charter with Smendes? As for this, Sidon is another which you passed by.
234 It is true that Hoch argues the Semitic [z] is always written with Egyptian D, but in this case, the
Phoenician name may have been altered to create an eponymous connection between the ruler of Byblos
and the Ṯkr. See Hoch, Semitic Words in Egyptian Texts of the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate
Period, 408 Rainey, "Toponymic Problems," 134-36.
235 Benz, Personal Names, 283-86, 305, 43.
236 With regard to the Aramaic evidence Steven A. Kaufman posits that *wald split into two lexical forms
yald and wlad. The same split may have also occurred in Ugaritic ( personal communication December 3
Are there not another 50 ships there? They are in charter with Wrktr. They haul for
his house. Then I said nothing for a long time.”
This passage provides yet another foreign name found in connection with the port
city of Sidon. As mentioned earlier, Goedicke argued that the names Wrt and Wrktr are
both variants for the name of the ruler of Sidon.237 Scheepers accepts Goedicke’s
proposal that Wrktr is the prince of Sidon.238 However, Schipper raises an important
problem with Goedicke’s translation, namely that Sidon would not have a ḫbr with itself.
The term ḫbr was recognized by Max Muller to be a Semitic term referring to contractual
work on ships.239 Benjamin Mazar cites 2 Chr 20:35-36 as evidence that the term ḫbr was
used to describe business relationships between Tyre, Israel, and Judah in the 10th-9th
centuries.240 In Zakar-Baal’s response it is clear that domestic navies sailed under the
banner of Egypt. Zakar-Baal’s statement that a fleet of 20 ships from his harbor at Byblos
and another 50 ships from Sidon were in ḫbr with Egypt leaves Wenamun speechless.
Which raises the question, how does Wrktr relate to Egypt?
An early proposal made by Albright was that the name Wrktr is a ‘Sea People’
name, probably belonging to a prince in Philistia. According to Albright, the linguistic
provenance of the name is southwestern Anatolia and it should be read as Warkadara.241
Mazar furthers Albright’s hypothesis by arguing that Warkatara was a powerful prince of
Ashkelon.242 It is not clear, however, how a xbr with Philistia would have any relevance
to Zakar-Baal’s case. Helck prefers a Semitic reading of the name, proposing the reading
237 Goedicke, The Report of Wenamun, 32-33.
238 Scheepers, "Anthroponyms et Toponymes du Rècit D'Ounamon," 49-50.
239 Max Müller, "Neues semitisches Sprachgut aus dem Papzrus Golénischeff," Orientalistische
Literaturzeitung. 3 (1900): 207.
240 Benjamin Mazar, "The Philistines, Israel, and Tyre," in The Early Biblical Period (eds. Shmuel Ahituv
and Baruch A. Levine; Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1986), 66-68.
241 Albright, "The Eastern Mediterranean about 1060 B.C.," 223-31.
242 Mazar, "The Philistines, Israel, and Tyre," 66-67.
Warkat-El “Behind El.”243 Scheepers, however, criticizes both Helck’s with Green’s
proposals on the grounds that neither author provides any Semitic onomastic evidence for
their proposals.244 Helck further speculates that Warkat-El was a powerful Syrian who
traded with Egypt.245
Taking a cue from Schipper, let us reconsider the context in which Zakar-Baal
mentions the name Wrktr. In l,57-58, Wenamun challenges the use of Syrian crews for
the transportation of the lumber by raising the question, “Is it not an Egyptian ship and
Egyptian crew who sail under Smendes?” In a scathing response, Zakar-Baal responds by
“Are there not 20 ships here in my harbor which are in charter with Smendes?
As for this, Sidon is another which you passed by.
Are there not another 50 ships there? They are in charter with Wrktr, they haul for
his house. Then I said nothing for a long time.”
Wenamun’s claim that Egyptian crews typically transported cargo for Smendes,
but that a Syrian crew would be acceptable, is directly challenged by Zakar-Baal. In
order for the argument to carry any force, Zakar-Baal’s mention of Sidon and its 50 ships
must relate in some way to an official contract with Egypt. Wenamun is not concerned
about the business relations of Byblos and Sidon with other countries, which have no
bearing on his mission. Therefore, Wrktr must be a reference to some ruler or official in
Egypt. I would argue that the Egyptian text records a name spoken by a Semitic speaker
243 Hans Wolfgang Helck, Die Beziehungen Ägyptens zu Vorderasien im 3. und 2. Jaurtausend v. Chr. (2
ed.; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1971), 356.
244 Scheepers, "Anthroponyms et Toponymes du Rècit D'Ounamon," 51.
245 Helck, Die Beziehungen Ägyptens zu Vorderasien im 3. und 2. Jaurtausend v. Chr., 356. Thomas
Schneider, refutes Helck’s proposal offering instead evidence from a 1st century North Arabian seal. This
far-fetched proposal is fraught with geographic and chronological issues. Cf. Thomas Schneider, Asiatische
Personennamen in ägyptischen Quellen des Neuen Reiches (Freiburg, Schweiz; Göttingen:
Universitätsverlag ; Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1992), 82.
which should be understood as an epithet or a title for an Egyptian ruler.246 The first
element of the title should be understood as the Egyptian title wr “magnate/ruler.” The
second element can be read as the Semitic term gdl “big/great.” In his examination of
juridical terminology for international relations in Egyptian texts, David Lorton notes the
term wr is used by Egyptians for foreign kings regardless of their vassal or parity
status.247 Unlike the term wr, HqA was used to denote the status of “independent ruler.”248
The humble title wr would not have been used by an Egyptian speaker to refer to
Pharaoh.249 The Egyptian usage of wr for the great kings of Hatti and Babylon does not
correspond to the Akkadian terms found in the Amarna text. In the Amarna
correspondence, the term šarru rabû was used by the king of Byblos to address Pharaoh.
In a treaty between Ramses II and Hattusilis the term šarru rabû is rendered in Egyptian
as wr `A in reference to a foreign king.250 Zakar-Baal, being a good Semite and familiar
with the eloquence of parallelism, needed a second term for Smendes and used this
hybrid term, which is related to the earlier Akkadian term šarru rabû.251
The portmanteau title Wr-gdl, however, seems to have meant nothing to the
Egyptian author. The foreign quality of this term is expressed by the incorrect spelling of
246 As briefly noted earlier, at the end of Ramses’ XI rule, Egypt was divided into two parts. Herihor ruled
the south, while Smendes seems to have been in control in the North. However, at the exact time of the
Wenamun Tale setting, it appears that Smendes is yet to be Pharaoh and rules the north under some other
title. See Scheepers, "Anthroponyms et Toponymes du Rècit D'Ounamon," 24-28.
247 David Lorton, The Juridical Terminology of International Relations in Egyptian Texts Through Dyn.
XVIII (ed. Hans Goedicke; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1974), 62-63.
248 In line 2,10 of the Wenamun text the title HqA appears in proper usage.
249 Schneider, Asiatische Personennamen in ägyptischen Quellen des Neuen Reiches, 79-84. For Amarna
Evidence see EA 68, 74, 76, 78, 79, 83, 88, 89.
250Lorton, Juridicial Terminology, 62-63. For the treaty between Ramses and Hattusilis see Gardiner, JEA 6
251 Pinhas Artzy mentions that melek gadol is the Hebrew translation of šarrru rabu as demonstrated by the
translation of the term used by rāb šaqê when addressing the people of Jerusalem. See, Pinhas Artzi, "Some
Unrecognized Syrian Amarna Letters (EA 260, 317, 318)," JNES 27, no. 3 (1968): 165, n.18.
the term wr which is typically spelled using the bird glyph ~ rather than the rope glyph
y. In fact, a survey of the studies done on Semitic personal names and foreign words
with initial w- show all but three names and one word are spelled using the rope.252 This
trend may account for the choice of the rope glyph over the bird glyph. As for the
consonants k-t, it is well known from the spelling of Meggido mkti in a Tutmosis III
inscription that Semitic [g] can be rendered in Egyptian with k, and the semitic [d] can be
rendered with Egyptian ti.
Finally, one grammatical feature discussed at length by Goedicke is the proper
understanding of pAy=f in line 2,2. Goedicke rejects the reading of pAy=f as a
demonstrative referring to Wrktr, and proposes instead that it refers to Smendes.
However, it is ambiguous to which individual pAy=f refers. Goedicke bases his reading
strictly on meaning, recognizing that the meaningful subject of Zakar-Baal’s statement is
the maritime power of Smendes.253 However, if Wr-gdl is an epithet for Smendes, “the
great ruler,” then pAy=f can refer both directly to the epithet and indirectly to the earlier
mention of Smendes, thus solving the perceived ambiguity. Furthermore, the structure of
lines 1,58b -2, 2 is similar to conventions found in Ugaritic narrative poetry and archaic
Hebrew poetry. One could argue that Zakar-Baal’s rebuke is structured loosely as a
tricola. There are two parallel statements regarding the number of ships from different
ports in contract with two individuals. Though these two lines are not worded in perfect
poetic parallelism, they do share a high degree of parallel words. The two parallel strains
are then expanded upon by a third element which ties the two parallel lines together.
252 Burchardt, Die Altkanaanäische Fremdworte und Eigennamen im Ägyptischen, 17; H. Jacob
Katzenstein, The History of Tyre (Jerusalem: The Schocken Institute For Jewish Research, 1973), 65, 82.
253 Goedicke, The Report of Wenamun, 72.
(Byblos) has 20 ships in charter with Smendes
Sidon, the place you passed, has 50 ships in charter with Wr-gdl
They haul for his house
When organized in this fashion, in light of known Northwest Semitic poetic style,254 it
seems obvious that the referent of the pronoun ’They’ should be understood as both fleets
of ships and that the pronoun ‘his’ refers to a single individual mentioned twice by
Although it is entirely possible that Wr-gdl refers to a foreigner, as suggested by
the determinative 5!, I suggest that this title was not understood by the Egyptian
scribe.255 The portmanteau title Wr-gdl may have caused as much confusion for Egyptian
scribes as it has for modern scholars. However, the context of Zakar-Baal’s argument
seems to exclude theories of Wrktl as an individual not directly related to the Egyptian
trade authority. The structure of Zakar-Baal’s argument in light of Northwest Semitic
literary conventions preserved at Ugarit and in the Hebrew Bible, points to Wrktl and
Smendes as parallel names.
3.5. Wenamun and the History of the Lebanese Coast.
Thus far we have discussed the port cities of Dor, Sidon and Byblos. Another port city,
Tyre, is also mentioned in the Wenamun text. Unfortunately, the lines in which this port
254 Poetic works unearthed from Ugarit provide the greatest resource for the study of Northwest Semitic
poetry from the Late Bronze Age. Tricola with patterns similar to Zakar-Baal’s statement can be found in
KTU 1.17: VI: 26-28 and KTU 1.16: I: 47-49; see Stanislav Segert, “Parallelism in Ugaritic Poetry,” JAOS,
no. 1 (1983): 302. Cf. Marjo C.A. Korpel and Johannes C. de Moore, "Fundamentals of Ugaritic and
Hebrew Poetry," UF 18 (1986), 173-212. Furthermore, the Ugaritic texts attest to the use of parallel
couplets in stock greeting formulas in letters. These greetings show a close relationship with a more poetic
blessing found in KTU 1.6: IV: 22-24; Baruch Margalit, A Matter of Life and Death: A study of the Baal-
Mot Epic (CTA 4-5-6) (AOAT, 206; Kevelaer: Butzon & Brecker; Neukirchen- Vluyn: Neukirchener
Verlag, 1980), 174; cited in Wilfred G.E Watson, Traditional Techniques in Classical Hebrew Verse (eds.
David J.A Clines and Philip R. Davies; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994), 56-57
255 Since the current text is likely a copy of an original composition it is impossible to know whether the
misunderstanding happened at the moment of composition or later during the copying process.
appears are damaged. Depending on how one translates the verb prj-m, Wenamun either
“escaped” Tyre or “departed” from Tyre.256 In the fragmented lines following his
interaction with Tyre, Wenamun ends up confiscating 30 deben of silver from a ship, but
it is unclear to whom the silver belongs. However, it does seem likely that he acted
against the Skli in this incident since charges are brought against Wenamun in lines (2,63-
64) by the Skli.
In the negotiations for timber, Wenamun is greatly criticized by Zakar-Baal for
having arrived penniless, without official documents, and lacking any supplies to carry
out his mission (lines 1,51-57). The money stolen from Wenamun, 30 deben of silver
and 5 deben of gold, was a minimal sum.257 The question is, why was this sum so small?
One possible scenario regarding the small amount of funds in Wenamun’s
possession is that although Egypt was in a state of political weakness, it still felt it had a
right to the tribute exacted in an earlier period of strength.258 Alternatively, it could be
that this was a traditional way of engaging in economic exchange. Mario Liverani draws
attention to a commercial exchange between Egypt and Alashiya in Amarna letter EA 35.
In this letter, Alashiya sends a sample of the goods requested by Egypt with a request for
a large sum of silver in order to send the remainder. This exchange between Egypt and
Alashiya is similar to the Wenamun text, where Zakar-Baal sends seven cedar logs with a
256 Schipper, Die Erzählung des Wenamun, 179.
257 Based on Schippers analysis, the deben’s traditional weight of 91 grams may have been reduced to 13.1
grams by the New Kingdom period. Thus the weight of the silver here was somewhere between 2,821
grams and 406.1 grams. The weight of the gold was between 455 grams and 65.5 grams. Even at the
original standard this sum of metal divided among four people hardly compares with sum of 1,000 deben
tallied by Zakar-Baal. See Schipper, Die Erzählung des Wenamun, 173.
258 Maria Eugina Aubet, The Phoenicians and the West: Politics, Colonies and Trade (trans. Mary Turton;
second ed.; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 113.
request for payment (2,35-42).259 Unlike in EA 35 it is clear Egypt’s initial request is sent
with a sample gift of gold and silver which will be multiplied if there is a successful trade
agreement.260 This suggests that to one degree or another, the four individuals Badil,
Mikamo’el, Wrt and Zakar-Baal, were supposed to be party to the negotiations. It may
also be the case, however, that the silver and gold were intended for Wenamun to use as
bribes or “gifts” to aid in reaching his destination, where the real negotiations would
It is in the final assembly scene at Byblos (2,71-74) that one begins to see the
complexity of trade relations in the region during the Iron I period. Zakar-Baal, like
Badil, is forced to act as judge when the S-k-li show up and make charges against
Wenamun. Zakar-Baal has just finished a trade deal with Wenamun, exchanging
harvested wood for gold, silver and other goods sent by Smendes. Now, he is forced to
address the criminal charges leveled against his trade partner. The S-k-li offer to transport
the wood for Zakar-Baal as long as he is willing to hand over Wenamun, but Zakar-Baal
is unwilling to harm a messenger of Amun. The S-k-li’s request to deliver the goods to
Egypt was no doubt an attempt to use Wenamun’s crime as a means of interjecting
themselves into a trade deal with Egypt. They had been excluded from this deal when
Wenamun failed to deliver his initial gift. Perhaps the S-k-li’s request that Wenamun be
beaten is not because of theft, but because of a perceived plot to exclude the S-k-li from
their part in this deal. Zakar-Baal has his own interests to protect, and handing over
Wenamun to the S-k-li jeopardizes his reward, which is the erection of a stele honoring
259 Mario Liverani, International Relations in the Ancient Near East, 1600-1100 BC (New York: Palgrave,
260 It should not be assumed a priori that Egypt’s initial request from Alashiya was unaccompanied by a
him for providing timber for the bark of Amun ( 2, 54b-62a). Rather, Zakar-Baal offers
the S-k-li an opportunity for justice by recommending that they settle the matter on the
It is inadvisable to draw too firm a conclusion from this narrative since its
portrayal of events and actors is clearly motivated by the theological veneration of Amun.
It can be said that in the perception of the Egyptian author, the ruler of Byblos had a
degree of reverence for the god Amun, while the S-k-li are portrayed as hostile to Amun
and Wenamun’s mission. Nevertheless, Wenamun’s willingness to stop first at Dor, as
well as the archaeological evidence of a significant Egyptian commercial presence at
Dor, suggests that the S-k-li were engaged in mercantile activity with Egypt. The
theological component of Wenamun’s mission may have been of little interest to the S-k-
li. In other words, they had no places of worship that held any significance to the
Egyptians, as Byblos clearly had in centuries past.261 The tension between hostility and
cooperation attests to a fragile relationship between Egypt and the S-k-li. The S-k-li, who
had participated in the wars against Ramses III several generations earlier, level charges
of some unmentioned crime against Wenamun at Byblos. The preference of Wenamun to
reach Byblos over the Levantine ports of Tyre and Sidon recalls an Amarna
correspondence with Byblos, which highlights Byblos’ loyalty to Egypt during a period
of political instability.262 The long heritage of trade between Byblos and Egypt begins in
the third millennium, and no doubt explains the commercial and religious ties Byblos
261 Maurice Dunand, Byblos Son Histoire, ses Ruines, Ses Légendes (Beirut: Musée National De Beyrouth,
262 Moran, The Amarna Letters, 140-70.
maintained with Egypt throughout the centuries.263 However, even Byblos is exercising a
measure of independence in the Wenamun text, as demonstrated by the tough
negotiations over the purchase of wood and the reference to an envoy, Ḫ`-m-wAs, who
was held prisoner for the remainder of his life at Byblos.
3.6. Conclusions from the Wenamun Text
The Wenamun text depicts the travails of a temple official in securing lumber for the
great bark of Amun. His quest takes him straight to a Ṯkr port. Based on the above
analysis, I believe the term Ṯkr is primarily a geographic term and as a Semitic term
should be transliterated as Skl, based on Ugaritic evidence. The people identified with the
S-k-l region were part of the confederation of “Sea People” who attacked Egypt only
decades earlier. The geographic region called S-k-l lies in Syria near the Lebanese coast,
and is first documented in the 14th century BCE. While three of the four foreign rulers
mentioned in the Wenamun text possess names directly connected to Phoenician
onomastic evidence,264 I propose Wrktr should be read Wr-gdl, an Egypto-Semitic title
used as an epithet for Smendes. In past studies, the S-k-l have been labeled pirates who
prey upon ships sailing the coast, thereby causing trouble for Byblos, Egypt, and
Phoenicia in general. I argue that the S-k-li are indigenous to the Syro-Lebanese region
and are part of the complex geopolitical matrix along the Lebanese coast. These
burgeoning states sought to increase their autonomy and control of trade through
maritime dominance. Wenamun’s struggle to secure a deal with Byblos demonstrates that
Egyptian envoys were in a position of weakness in their negotiations with rulers along the
263 Nina Jidejian, Byblos Through the Ages (Beirut: Dar El-Machreq, 1968), 15-56; Saghieh Muntaha,
Byblos in the Third Millennium B.C.: A Reconstruction of the Stratigraphy and a Study of Cultural
Connections (Wilts: Aris & Phillips LTD, 1983), 104-06, 30-32.
264 Badil, Mikamo’el, and Zakar-Baal Benz, Personal Names, 43, 283-86, 305, 43.
Levantine coast in this period. Although Byblos and Sidon had a ḫbr (contract) with
Egypt, the Levantine rulers were not above exploiting Egypt’s political weakness.
Byblos’s past loyalties to Egypt did eventually lead to a business deal, but no refuge from
3.7. The Annals of Tiglath-Pileser I
Another important source of primary texts related to the Phoenician coast in the 11th
century is the Annals of Tiglath-Pileser I. Among the tens of thousands of cuneiform
tablets excavated from the cities of Nineveh and Aššur in the later half of the 19th century
C.E. there are several tablets that form the corpus Tiglath-Pileser I’s annals.265 At Aššur a
clay prism of Tiglath-Pilesar I was discovered which was used in the early decipherment
of cuneiform writing.266 Kirk A. Grayson in The Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia:
Assyrian Periods recently published in three volumes a critical analysis and translation
of all royal Assyrian texts. Unlike the Wenamun text, most of the royal cuneiform texts
came from controlled excavations. Additionally, many texts have been preserved in
multiple copies allowing for a more accurate reconstruction of original documents in their
entirety.267 Unlike Wenamun however, there seems to be far less information to be
gleaned about the Levantine coast during the 11th century B.C.E.
3.7.1. Summary of the Annals
Beginning in the forth regnal year of Tiglath-Pileser I, a concerted effort was initiated to
subdue the Aḫlamu Arameans. The Assyrian monarch crossed the Euphrates twenty-eight
265 David Stronach and Kim Codella, "Nineveh," The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology In The Near
East 145; Roland W. Lamprichs, "Aššur," The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East 225.
266 Lamprichs, "Aššur," 225.
267 Kirk A. Grayson, Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC: I (1114-859 BC) (ed. Kirk A.
Grayson; vol. 1; Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991), 5-7.
times in his campaigns westward during the course of his rule (A.0.87.4 line 34).
Eventually he reached Mt. Lebanon and the great sea, exacting tribute from the lands of
Byblos, Sidon, and Arvad (A.0.87.3 lines 16-25). At Arvad, Tiglath-Pileser I was
treated to a great maritime adventure. The Assyrian king was taken by boat from Arvad
to a nearby coastal city, Ṣamuru. While at sea he was given the opportunity to hunt and
kill a large air breathing marine animal, probably a whale or dolphin (A.0.87.3 Lines 21-
25). Among the items received by Tiglath-Pileser as tribute were a crocodile and a large
female monkey (A.0.87.4 Line 27) which he took back to Aššur along with the cedar he
took from Lebanon (A.0.87.3). He later installed these cedar beams in the temples of Anu
and Aššur. He also had a replica made in basalt of the great marine animal he killed to
flank his royal entrance (A.0.87.4 lines 59-71). This is a full summary of the interaction
that Tiglath-Pileser I had with the northern Levantine coast around the same time that
Wenamun traveled to Byblos.268
3.7.2 Analysis of the text
From the cuneiform texts we learn that the Assyrians refer to the coastal region of Sidon,
Byblos and Arvad generally as Amurru, meaning “West.” This region was a rich source
of cedar valued for the construction of temples. As noted in the Wenamun text, Egypt
also prized this wood for use in the construction of solar barks. Although Tiglath-Pileser I
claims to have conquered all the lands of Amurru, it appears these coastal cities avoided
conflict by giving tribute to the Assyrian King. Among the precious commodities
supplied by these coastal regions were exotic animals. Similar gifts of exotic animals are
268 Wenamun’s journey is set in the 23rd year of Ramses XI rule which is ca. 1075 B.C.E. Tiglath-Pileser’s
journey to the west happened some time between 1109-1076 B.C.E. See, Kitchen, The Third Intermediate
Period in Egypt (1100-650 B.C.), 465-69; Grayson, Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC: I
(1114-859 BC), 5.
found in the Egyptian records of Hatshepsut’s expedition to Punt.269 Had there been a real
conflict with the Assyrians it seems unlikely that Tiglath-Pileser I would have been
treated to an exotic whale hunt at Arvad. The close connection between Ṣamuru and
Arvad in the Assyrian Annals is maintained until the time of Strabo, who mentions this
port as the southern limit of Arwad’s territory.270
Further evidence that Tiglath-Pileser I may have never reached Byblos or Sidon
is found in text A.0.87.4 line 26. It states that he received tribute from the city (URU) of
Arvad, and the lands (KUR) of Byblos and Sidon. The more general usage of the
determinative KUR (land) for Byblos and Sidon suggests that he never reached the cities
of Byblos and Sidon. Perhaps these neighboring cities sent a delegation with tribute to the
king while he was at Arvad in an organized effort to avoid conflict and to send the
Assyrians back home fat and happy. Based on the Wenamun Text, Byblos and Sidon
were in a position of wealth with significant port cities and therefore could avoid military
One question raised by these texts is to what extent Arvad should be considered
“other” than Byblos and Sidon. It would appear from the Assyrian point of view that
Arvad, Byblos and Sidon all constitute a similar region that was “conquered.” However,
the portrayal of these cities as possessing a commonality may extend no further than a
willingness on their part to form a temporary coalition to resist martial conflict with the
Assyrians. One such famous coalition was formed two centuries later between Aram,
Israel, Arvad, and Byblos in an attempt to defeat the powerful campaigns of Shalmaneser
269 The question is whether the monkeys were native to Byblos or had they been imported from Egypt. For
Punt evidence see Breasted II, § 265.
270 Strabo Book XVI, 2, 12
III.271 The very temporary nature of Israel’s cooperation with Aram against the Assyrians
is indicated by the biblical tradition that Ahab king of Israel was killed while in battle
against Aram.272 While Assyrian lists of military coalitions provide insight into
geopolitical alliances during a specific battle, they do not reliably inform us about the
more general geopolitical relations in regions that are not in immediate conflict with
Assyria. Rather, archaeological remains provide the most likely source of evidence for
Arwad’s cultural connection with the southern Phoenician states. Unfortunately, the
small island of Arwad has been continuously occupied and most of the material prior to
the Roman period has been lost. However, the coastal site of Tell Kazel (Ṣamuru)
demonstrates a new orientation toward trade with the Lebanese coast and Cyprus around
1150 B.C.E., well before Tiglath-Pileser’s arrival around 1100 B.C.E. 273 The
archaeological evidence from excavations at Tell Kazel will be discussed further in the
From the textual sources that are available, there are several points of data which relate
directly to the issue of ethnicity. The Byblian inscriptions provide evidence of the script
and language used at Byblos in the Iron IIA period. Onomastic evidence from both the
Byblian inscriptions and Wenamun text confirm that Baal was an important theophoric
element in names at Byblos. Other Iron I-IIA names include Bad-El, and Mi-kamo-eli,
which are both attested in later Phoenician inscriptions.
271 A.0.102.2 lines 89b-102, there is some debate over the reading Byblos: Kirk A. Grayson, Assyrian
Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC: II (858-745 BC) (ed. Kirk A. Grayson; vol. 2 of; Toronto:
University of Toronto Press, 1996), 23.
272 I Kings 20-22.
273 Emmanuelle Capet and Eric Gubel, "Tell Kazel- Six Centuries of Iron Age Occupation (c. 1200-612
B.C.)," in Essays on Syria in the Iron Age (ed. Guy Bunnens; Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Supplement;
Louvain: Peeters, 2000), 432.
In terms of geopolitics, Arwad, Sidon, and Byblos are the three main cities
which define a common coastal region in the Assyrian texts. In the Wenamun text
Byblos and Sidon also share some degree of commonality through their trade agreements
with Egypt. By contrast, Dor is treated as different from Byblos and Sidon. While the
otherness of Dor and its S-k-l ruler has been much emphasized in the past, onomastic,
archaeological, and textual evidence points to strong similarities between Dor and other
Lebanese city-states. Thus, in the Iron I period the major city-states along the Levantine
coast were both distinct politically and unified by alliances and common trade interests.
Despite Byblos’ continued trade relations with Egypt in the Iron I period, the Wenamun
text clearly shows a weakening of relations with Egypt and a lack of respect for the
interim ruler Smendes. However, during the rule of Shoshenq I it is evident that Byblos
regained its respect for the ruler of Egypt.
Chapter IV: Material Culture
In an article on the ethnicity of the Iron I settlers in the highlands of Canaan, Israel
Finkelstein lists the following cultural characteristics which relate to ethnicity; language,
script, ritual behavior, physical features, dietary choices, architectural forms, clothing
style, mortuary practice, and style of artifacts.274 Previously in Chapter 3, the language
and script of the Phoenician coast was presented, along with onomastic evidence. While
not all of the cultural characteristics listed by Finkelstein have been preserved in the
archeological record, there is data regarding ritual behavior, architectural forms, mortuary
practice, and style of artifacts. In addition to these, I would add that technology can be
characteristic of ethnic identity. In the case of the Iron Age Phoenicians, their unique
abilty to produce purple dye served as identifying characteristic of the inhabitants along
the Phoenician coast.
In order to better understand the development of Phoenician material culture, the
present chapter will examine the material remains that have been excavated along the
Lebanese coast as well as sites beyond Lebanon, including Tel Dor in the south and Tel
Kazel in the north. In the presentation that follows the regions of Tyre, Byblos, Sidon,
and Sarepta are considered the more centralized sites of coastal Lebanon and the center of
Phoenician cultural and political identity. Therefore, the following study will begin with
an overview of sites which preserve material from the 12th to 8th centuries B.C.E. located
in this central region. The study will then expand to the more northern site of Tel Kazel,
274 Israel Finkelstein, "Ethnicity and Origin of the Iron I Settlers in the Highlands of Canaan: Can the Real
Israel Stand Up?," BA 59, no. 4 (1996): 203.
which appears to have been a site of early Phoenician expansion. Finally, sites along the
coast between Dor and Tyre will be surveyed.
In addition to surveying the data from Iron I-II archaeological sites, the present
study will critically assess cultural characteristics, such as architectural style,
technologies, style of artifacts, and mortuary practices unique to these sites. It is hoped
that this chapter will define characteristic elements related to the ethnic and geopolitical
sphere of the Phoenician coast in the Iron I-IIA period.
4.1. Phoenician Sites:
The site of ancient Tyre, once an island off the coast of Lebanon, was made into a
peninsula during the siege of Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.E.275 The first excavation of
the site was by Ernst Renan in 1860, as part of a commission by Napoleon III to survey
the historical sites of Phoenicia.276 Renan probed down through eight meters of material,
exposing the most important levels of ancient Tyre. However, Renan, who was primarily
interested in finding the temple of Melqart, only succeeded in exposing later Byzantine or
Roman material. A lack of knowledge regarding Phoenician construction and an
underestimation of how deep the Phoenician material was prevented Renan from working
the deep Phoenician levels of the site. In 1921, Macridy Bey, on behalf of the Imperial
Museum of Constantinople, excavated seven Iron Age tombs. The finds were sent to
Istanbul. In the years that followed, several excavations uncovered Hellenistic and
275 Arrian Anabasis II: 15-25. Katzenstein, The History of Tyre , 9-10.
276 Ernest Renan, Mission de Phénicie (Paris: Imprimerie Impériale, 1864), 1-2.
Roman remains, and surveys were made of the South harbor of Tyre.277 After the
interruptions of World War II, excavations resumed under Emir Maurice Chehab, the
director of the Lebanese Department of Antiquities. The majority of material recovered
by Chehab belonged to the Hellenistic or Byzantine periods. A number of tombs were
excavated by Roger Saidah, dating to the 6th-4th centuries, and were published in 1967.278
For the purposes of the present study, the excavations conducted by Patricia Bikai are the
most valuable. In 1973-74, Bikai led a year-long excavation that began in the Roman
levels twelve meters above sea level and reached bedrock.279 From the material
excavated, Bikai published a study of the ceramic sequence from the Early Bronze Age to
the beginning of the eighth century B.C.E..280 In addition to the pottery, Bikai’s study
provides some plates with section drawings, area plans, and photos of other small
finds.281 The following chart shows the stratigraphy at Tyre as defined by Bikai:282
Table. 4.1.1. Stratigraphy at Tyre.
I ca. 700 XII 1000?-925?
II-III 740-700 XIII 1070/1050-?1000
IV-V ?760-740 XIV 1200-1070/1050
VI-VII 800-760 XV 1375/1360-1200
VIII-IX 850-800 XVI 1425/1415-1375/1360
277 A. Poidebard, "Reconnaissance dans l'ancien port de Tyr," Syria 18 (1937): 355-56; A. Poidebard, Un
grand port disparu: Tyr (Paris: Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner, 1939); Denyse Le Lasseur, "Mission
archéologique à Tyr (premier article)," Syria 3 (1922): 1-26; Denyse Le Lasseur, "Mission archéologique à
Tyr (deuxiéme article)," Syria 3 (1922): 116-33.
278 Roger Saidah, "Chronique," BMB 20 (1967), 159-61.
279 Patricia Maynor Bikai, The Pottery of Tyre (Warminster: Aris and Phillips, 1978), 1.
280 Ibid., 68.
281 Ibid., Pl. I-XCV.
282 Ibid., 68.
X 850 XVII 1600-1425/1415
XI 925?-850 XVIII 1600-1425/1415
Strata XIV-VIII and the materials they contain are a primary source of central Lebanese
material culture from the Iron I-IIA periods.
Stratum XIV preserves evidence of small stone-lined pits and blackened earth,
likely from domestic cooking activities. Nearly all walls in this stratum show signs of
having been robbed. 1,886 red faience beads were recovered from this area in Stratum
XIV. The beads are attributed to the continued production of faience in this area, which
began in Stratum XVI.283
In Stratum XIII much of the previous building plan was maintained, with
evidence of some new construction or rebuilding of walls. In this stratum, a layer of large
pottery fragments nearly fifty centimeters thick was encountered. None of the pottery
appeared to be kiln wasters. Also discovered in this stratum was a large bin lined with
small stones and filled with pottery.
In Stratum XII new buildings were constructed over the large bin of Stratum XIII.
One noticeable change is the beginning of terracing, with the western area lower than the
eastern by 1.5 meters. This architectural feature greatly affected the building activity in
later levels. The buildings in this stratum continue to be used through Stratum XI.
In Stratum X, two large fills are present, which were added to the area after the
apparent destruction of one of the walls. The fills were used to level the entire area. The
largest group of pottery for the entire excavation was recovered from one of these fills.
283 Ibid., 8.
Most of the pottery was small, worn, and badly damaged. The second fill was full of
large pieces of pottery.
Stratum IX shows a major reconfiguration of the passageway between building
walls. The older wall, W36, was robbed and a new wall was built further to the west,
which widened the passage from 1 m. to 2 m. in width. A pier and rubble wall appears in
this level, a building technique commonly associated with Phoenician building
In Stratum VIII three fills were excavated, all composed of the same material.
These three fills completely covered the walls of the earlier period and new buildings
were erected upon the fills. New walls made with distinctively larger stones characterize
the buildings of this stratum. It is interesting to note, however, that ashlar masonry does
not appear until Stratum V, which was dated by Bikai to ca. 760 B.C.E.
This basic summary of the early Iron Age material published by Bikai
demonstrates how little is known about ancient Tyre in the early Iron Age. For decades,
Bikai’s study served as the only window into the archaeology of ancient Tyre. In 1990,
the picture slowly began to change with the recognition by local and western
archeologists that material illegally obtained may belong to a Phoenician tophet.
Permission was given to conduct an archeological survey in 1991 and Tyre-Al Bass was
identified as the primary location of the looting activity. Cinerary urns, offering jars,
votive gifts, and inscribed standing stones were found in abundance in the area. The full
account of the brief rescue mission was promptly published in the journal Berytus, with
284 R. W. Hamilton, "Tell Abu Hawam: Interim Report," Quarterly of the Department of Antiquities in
Palestine 3 (1933): 78; Bikai, The Pottery of Tyre, 11, 16.
tantalizing images of what might be evidence of a Phoenican tophet in the heartland of
In 1997, construction of an agriculture products factory in the area of Tyre-Al
Bass was stopped after Phoenician urns were unearthed. A rescue excavation was
initiated by the Direction Générale des Antiquités du Liban, which resulted in the
discovery of an Iron Age cemetery filled with cremation burials.286 In 1999, a geo-
morphological survey of the Necropolis was mades. In all, fifty-six cremation burials
dating from the 9th to 7th centuries B.C.E. were recovered in this excavation. From these
finds, a standard burial kit became evident, which consisted of one or two large cinerary
urns covered by a plate. At the base of the urn were typically two jugs, a mushroom lip
jug (perhaps for honey) and a trefoil mouth jug (perhaps for wine), and a fine ceramic
bowl. In the urn, personal items such as scarabs or amulets were common. In a couple of
cases, stone stele with inscriptions or carved symbols accompanied the burial.287
In 2002, the Tyre-Al Bass project was initiated by Maria Eugene aubet and was
projected to reach completion in 2005. Based on Maria Eugene Aubet’s University webp
the excavations continued through 2009.288 A total of 320 burial urns have been
recovered from Tyre Al-Bass.289 The ongoing publication of the material being
excavated from this site will no doubt greatly expand our understanding of Phoenician
285 Helga Seeden, "A Tophet in Tyre?," Ber 39 (1991): 39-82; Janice Conheeney and Alan Pipe, "Note on
Some Cremated Bone From Tyrian Cinerary Urns: AUB Rescue Action Tyre 1991," Ber 39 (1991): 83-87;
William A. Ward, "The Scarabs, Scaraboid and Amulet Plaque From Tyrian Cinerary Urns," Ber 39
(1991): 89-99; Helen Sader, "Phoenician Stelae from Tyre," Ber 39 (1991): 101-26.
286 Maria Eugina Aubet, "The Tyre Necropolis," in Decade: A Decade of Archaeology and History in
Lebanon (ed. Claude Doumet-Serhal; Beirut: Lebanese British Friends of the National Museum, 2004), 18.
287 Aubet, "The Tyre Necropolis," 20.
289 Maria Eugenia Aubet, "The Phoenician Cemetery of Tyre," NEA 73, no. 2-3 (2010): 145.
burial practices from the end of the 10th through 7th centuries B.C.E.290 Burial customs
often relate to group identity, and the material from Tyre attests to a unique mortuary
practice along the Phoenician coast beginning in the 9th century B.C.E.
Rachidieh is the modern archaeological site frequently associated with Palaetyrus, or
Uzu, the mainland Phoenician site closely associated with Tyre. The ancient sister site of
Tyre, Uzu, is first mentioned in the Amarna letters.291 The Assyrians make reference to
the site, calling it Ushu.292 The same city was later referred to as Palaetyrus in the
classical work Dionysiaca of Nonnos.293 However, the association of Rachidieh with
Ushu is a matter of debate among scholars, with no clear solution.294
In 1903, urns containing calcinated bones and cremated ashes were found by
Macridy Bey, curator of the Imperial Museum in Constantinople. More urns were
recovered by Maurice Chehab in 1942. In total, over one hundred vessels were recovered,
but they were never properly published.295 In 1974, a rescue excavation was undertaken
at Tell el-Rachidieh after the chance discovery of five Iron Age tombs. Following the
excavation by Hafez Chehab and Ibrahim Kawkabani, the material from tombs IV and V
290 Helen Dixon at the University of Michigan is currently writing her dissertation on Phoenician burial
practice. Her research includes time spent on the excavation in Lebanon.
291 EA 146, 147, 148, 149, 151, 154, 155.
292 Prism of Sennacherib ii 37- iii 49. Daniel David Luckenbill, The Annals of Sennacherib (Chicago:
University of Chicago, 1924).
293 Nonnos Dionysiaca, 40; Claude Doumet-Serhal, "The Location and Ancient Names of Mainland Tyre
and the Role of Rachidieh in Context," in Decade: A Decade of Archaeology and History in the Lebanon
(ed. Claude Doumet-Serhal; Beirut: The Lebanese British Friends of the National Museum 2004a), 62.
294 Doumet-Serhal, "The Location and Ancient Names of Mainland Tyre...," 60-69.
295 Claude Doumet-Serhal, "Jars from the first Millennium BC at Tell Rachidieh: Phoenician Cinerary Urns
and Grave Goods," in Decade: A Decade of Archaeology and History in the Lebanon (ed. Claude Doumet-
Serhal; Beirut: The Lebanese British Friends of the National Museum, 2004b), 72.
was published by Claude Doumet-Serhal.296 The other three tombs were not published
until a preliminary report on the ceramics appeared in 2004.297 Doumet-Serhal concludes
that Tomb IV dates somewhere to the middle of the eighth century and Tomb I likely
dates to the end of the eighth century. Doumet-Serhal notes that cremation, which is the
primary form of treating the deceased at Rachidieh, is first evidenced in Syria-Palestine
during the 11th century B.C.E. at Carchemish, Hama, Tell Halaf, Hazor, and Cyprus.298
Cypriot bichrome, Phoenician Bichrome, and Black-on-Red ware all appear in the Tell
Rachidieh assemblage and point to strong connections between Cyprus and the
The site of ancient Sidon was among the locations that Ernst Renan surveyed and
excavated in 1860 at the commission of Napoleon III. Based on the clandestine discovery
of the Eshmunazor sarcophagus in 1855, Renan focused his excavation on the area of the
ancient necropolis. Since Renan was overseeing work at both Byblos and Tyre, he
appointed Joseph Charles Gaillardot, a French Physician stationed in Sidon, to supervise
the work. Unfortunately, treasure seekers had beaten the archeologist to the site and very
little was left to excavate.300 In the years that followed, several chance finds of marble
and clay anthropoid sarcophagi were reported to the French consular agent in Sidon,
Alphonse Durighello. These burials were dated by the excavators to the 4th century
296 Claude Doumet-Serhal, "Les tombes IV et V de Rachidieh," Annales d'Historie et d'Archeologie de
l'Universite Saint Joseph Vol.1 pg 89-148 (Beirut: Université Saint Joseph, 1982).
297 Doumet-Serhal, "Jars from the first Millennium BC at Tell Rachidieh...," 70-87.
298 Ibid., 72.
299 Ibid., 74-79.
300 Renan, Mission de Phénicie, 361-400.
B.C.E.301 In 1887, a necropolis at Ayaa was discovered, and another at Ain el-Helwe in
1901. The Ain el-Helwe discovery resulted in a Turkish excavation by Theodore C.
Macridy of a temple of Eshmun built by Bodashtart around the 4th century B.C.E.302
Finally, between 1914-1920, George Contenau excavated Magharat Abloun, the site of
Renan’s earlier excavations. Contenau had little success in the burial areas and focused
primarily on a 13th century medieval castle. Contenau’s excavations were published in the
journal Syria.303 Unfortunately, all of these early excavations paid little attention to
stratigraphy, and were governed by the quest for large valuable items.
In 1924, Maurice Dunand began excavations at Bostan esh-Sheikh, where he
discovered a large Roman Mosaic near the temple of Eshmun. Following Dunand’s work
at Bostan esh-Sheikh, P. E. Guiges explored Middle Bronze Age tombs in Leb`a, Kafar-
Jara, and Qrayé in the foothills near Sidon.304 Dunand returned to Sidon and excavated
between 1963 and 1969. In 1970, the onset of Lebanese civil war brought a quick end to
excavations. Unlike the multiple publications of the excavations at Byblos, little was
published of Dunand’s work at Sidon.305
301 Ibid., 480-483.
302 Theodore C. Macridy, Le Temple d'Echmoun à Sidon (Paris: Librairie Victor Lecoffre, 1904).
303 Georges Contenau, "Mission Archéologique à Sidon (1920)," Syria I (1920): 1-147; Georges Contenau,
"Deuxième Mission Archéologique à Sidon (1920)," Syria IV (1923): 261-81; Georges Contenau,
"Deuxième Mission Archéologique à Sidon (1920). Deuxième article," Syria V (1924): 9-23; Georges
Contenau, "Deuxième Mission Archéologique à Sidon (1920). Troisième article," Syria V (1924): 123-34.
304 P. E. Guigues, "Lebe`a, Kafar-Garra, Qrayé; necropoles de la region sidonienne," BMB I (1937): 35-76;
P. E. Guigues, "Lebe`a, Kafar-Garra, Qrayé; necropoles de la region sidonienne: « deuxième article »,"
BMB II (1938): 27-72.
305 For the preliminary publication of Dunand’s excavations at Sidon, see Maurice Dunand, "Rapport
Preliminaire sur les fouilles de Sidon en 1963-1964," BMB XIX (1966): 103-05; Marice Dunand, "La
statuaire de la favissa du temple d'Echmoun à Sidon," in Archäologie und altes Testament (Festschrift Für
Kurt Galling) (ed. J.C.B. Mohr; Tübingen, 1970), 27-44; Maurice Dunand, "Rapport Preliminaire sur les
fouilles de Sidon en 1964-1965," BMB XX (1967): 101-07; Maurice Dunand, "Rapport Preliminaire sur les
fouilles de Sidon en 1967-1968," BMB XXII (1969): 61-67.
Despite the discovery of valuable inscriptions and remnants of a temple to
Eshmun, the overall state of archeological investigation at Sidon was rather poor. So in
1998, the British Museum secured permission to begin a more extensive archeological
excavation of Sidon. The new excavations at Sidon have been in progress from 1998 to
the present. The progress of these digs and their findings has been regularly published in
various articles.306 Material from the third millennium BCE to the Roman period attests
to the long and continuous occupation of the site. However, to date, the early Iron Age
levels at Sidon remain quite fragmentary. In 2006, an article was published on the
fragmentary ceramic evidence of the early Iron Age levels uncovered in 2003-2004 at
Sidon.307 In general, the ceramic evidence for the early Iron Age points to similarities
with the assemblages found at Tyre and Sarepta between the 10th and 8th centuries
B.C.E.308 Another very important find is an Alabaster vase with the cartouche of
Twosret. Since Twosret only ruled Egypt two years the vessel can be dated to ca.1190
B.C.E. This vase demonstrates continued political ties with Egypt during the early 12th
century B.C.E.309 Unfortunately, the corpus of material published to date is not sufficient
for establishing an evolution of pottery forms. Further, the lack of stratified architectural
remains greatly limits our knowledge of early Iron Age Sidon.
In 1969, the University of Pennsylvania museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
began excavations at the Lebanese village of Sarafand, which continued until 1974.
306 A complete bibliography of the Sidon British Museum Excavations is available at
307 Claude Doumet-Serhal, "Preliminary Report on the Iron Age at Sidon: British Museum Excavations
2003-2004," Archaeology and History in Lebanon 23 (2006): 2-29.
308 Doumet-Serhal, "Preliminary Report on the Iron Age at Sidon...," 25-35.
309 Marcel Marée, "A Jar From Sidon With the Name of Pharaoh-Queen Taworset," Archaeology and
History in Lebanon 24 (2006): 121-28.
Unlike most of the other Phoenician port cities, this site had not been previously
excavated in the earlier part of the century. Despite the lack of attention the site has
received in modern times, Sarepta is well-attested in Egyptian, Assyrian, Hebrew, and
Greek sources.310 As with Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos, significant Roman remains were
uncovered in the harbor area in the first year of excavation, with no signs of Phoenician
material.311 In order to focus on Iron Age material, the excavation was moved to the
highest point of the tell. The first sounding, X, uncovered an industrial area where
murexes were harvested for their dye, olives were pressed for oil, and pottery was
manufactured. The second sounding, Y, was primarily a residential area and provided a
clear sequence of eleven strata.312 The following chart outlines the dates assigned to the
strata of the Early Iron Age in the two different soundings at Sarepta:313
Table. 4.1.4. Stratigraphy at Sarepta.
Sounding X Sounding Y Approximate Dates
Stratum V Stratum F 1275-1150
Stratum VI Stratum E 1150-1025
Stratum VII Stratum D2 1025-950
Stratum VII Stratum D1 950-800
310C.f. Papyrus Anastasi I, Sennacherib Prism col. ii, lines 41-45, I Kings 17:9-10, and Pseudo-Scylax,
Periplus,§ 104. For a comprehensive treatment of the ancient sources, see James B. Pritchard, "Sarepta in
History and Tradition," in Understanding the Sacred Text: Essays in Honor of Morton S. Enslin on the
Hebrew Bible and Christian Beginnings (ed. John Reumann; Valley Forge: Judson Press, 1972), 102-04.
311 James B. Pritchard, Recovering Sarepta, a Phoenician City: Excavations at Sarafand, Lebanon, 1969-
1974, by the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University
Press, 1978), 49.
312 Ibid., 74-77.
313 This chart is a slightly modified version of the one found in A. Issam Khalifeh, Sarepta II: The Late
Bronze and Iron Age Periods of Area II, X (Beirut: Publications de l'Université Libanaise, 1988), 160.
Though Stratum F belongs to the time period commonly referred to as Iron IA,
the material shows a clear continuity with the previous Late Bronze Age stratum. Thus,
for the site of Sarepta, William Anderson defines Stratum F as a late continuation of the
Late Bronze Age II or early Late Bronze Age III.314 Bilobate kilns and large quantities of
pottery were recovered from both soundings X and Y. Most of the objects found appear
to be the product of craftsmen working in this area.315
Stratum E shows the first signs of a private dwelling in sounding Y, evidenced by
two circular ovens used for baking bread. Pottery production is also evident in this
stratum in the continued use of the kiln built in Stratum F. The pottery produced in this
period continues forms belonging to the Late Bronze Age tradition.316
Stratum D represents a significant change in architecture and ceramic forms. In
sounding Y, this area was completely redesigned, resulting in two complexes of houses
separated by a narrow street. Stratum D can be subdivided into two distinct phases, the
earlier D2 and the later D1. Ashlar blocks appear in the new construction of Stratum D2
walls. Notable changes in ceramic forms include a change from the fragile rounded
storage jar to the sturdier torpedo-shaped storage jar.317 Red-Slipped fine ware bowls and
ridged-neck or trefoil mouth jugs become prevalent in this level. There is also a notable
increase in the concentration of bichrome vessels.318 The ceramic and architectural
material found in both phases of Stratum D at Sarepta are directly comparable to the
314 William P. Anderson, Sarepta I: The Late Bronze and Iron Age Strata of Area II, Y (Beirut: Publications
de l’Université Libanaise, 1988), 390.
315 Pritchard, Recovering Sarepta..., 79-82.
316 Anderson, Sarepta I..., 390-94.
317 Pritchard, Recovering Sarepta..., 82-83.
318 Anderson, Sarepta I..., 396-97.
Strata XIII-VIII finds at Tyre.319 Despite the radical change in material in Stratum D,
there is no evidence of destruction or abandonment of the site between Strata E and D,
indicating continuous occupation of the site.
Stratum C is characterized by rebuilding efforts that resulted in both architectural
change and continuity. The expansion of dwelling space appears to have been the primary
motivation for the architectural changes. Along with the gradual development of forms
and surface finishing, the continuity of ceramic tradition is evident.320 By Stratum C, all
burnished vessels are strictly wheel-burnished.321 A major increase in storage vessels
appears in Stratum C, perhaps related to the architectural modifications made in this
level. One of the more unique features present in Stratum C is the combination of
burnished red slip with standard Phoenician bichrome decoration.322
Numerous, small finds made in sounding Y at Sarepta provide additional insight
into domestic elements of Phoenician material culture. The items found include jewelry,
ceramic mask fragments, amulets, seals, spindle whorls, and cosmetic jars. The
discoveries made in sounding X, meanwhile, point to extensive industrial activity.
Twenty-two kilns found distributed over five strata attest to a significant ceramic industry
at the city of Sarepta. Pritchard estimates the total number of kilns at close to five times
the number excavated. The kilns were made with the firing chamber dug into the ground.
The overall shape consisted of an oval chamber divided into two kidney-shaped lobes.
The stone walls of the kiln were then layered with clay, which became hard in the firing
319 Ibid., 405.
320 Ibid., 407-408.
321 Ibid., 404.
322 Ibid., 410. This pattern of decoration is also attested on a decanter from Tel Dan. See Section 5.3.9.
process.323 In addition to the kilns, tanks for levigating clay were also uncovered. The
four walls of the tanks were covered with cement, while the floor was left unplastered,
allowing the water for washing to slowly drain away.
In addition to the ceramic industry, the production of purple dye is evidenced at
this site by the discovery of a refuse pit filled with crushed murex shells. Over ten
standard rubber excavation baskets were filled with the excavated shells. Unfortunately,
the workshop in which these shells were processed was never found, but is likely located
further south of the excavation area. James Pritchard suggests that two distinctive jars
with drains at the bottom may have been used as part of the manufacturing process.324
Finally, there is trace evidence of a metal-working industry in sounding X. The
rim of a crucible, displaced bits of slag, and part of a jewelry mold provide fragmentary
evidence that some degree of metal-working was practiced in the vicinity of this
In summary, the published excavations at Sarepta offer the most comprehensive
set of data available for the study of the material culture of central Phoenicia in the early
Iron Age period. Unlike most sites excavated in Israel, the change in material culture
between the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age happens in the 11th century rather than the
4.1.5. Kamid el-Loz
The site of Kamid el-Loz is strategically located at the southern end of the Beqaʽ Valley,
at the cross-roads between the Phoenician coast and the north-south road that connects
323 Similar vessels found at Dor are discussed below. Pritchard, Recovering Sarepta..., 111-15.
324 Ibid., 126-27.
325 Pritchard, Recovering Sarepta..., 127-29.
the Jordan Valley with the Beqaʽ. Based on cuneiform tablets found at the site, the tell has
been identified as the ancient city Kumidi, mentioned in New Kingdom sources.326 The
first set of excavations occurred from 1963 to 1981, and was conducted by Arnulf
Kuschke and Rolf Hachmann. Finds date from the Neolithic Age up to the Roman period.
The early Iron Age remains consist primarily of domestic dwellings, which
suggest that the site may have been little more than a village in the Iron I period.327 The
early Iron Age material is published in a report on the stratigraphy of the site, which also
contains plans of the meager architectural features. No discussion of ceramics appears in
the volume on stratigraphy.328 Given the poor state of architectural features from the early
Iron Age and the lack of published ceramics and other small finds from the same period,
little can be said about the site in the early Iron Age. By contrast, there is a wealth of
evidence dating to the Late Bronze Age, including a temple, a palace, and a workshop.
The workshop shows signs of metallurgy and frit production.329
In 1997, excavations were resumed by Marlies Heinz of the Albert-Ludwigs-
Universität in Freiburg. Preliminary reports of each season have been published on the
university’s website, covering up to the 2008 excavation season.330 From these
preliminary reports, it is possible to see some of the ceramic types associated with Iron I
levels.331 In area II-e-6 and II-e-7, the east slope of the tell, Iron I buildings have been
excavated. The building in area II-e-6 shows four periods of use. The house consisted of
326 Rolf Hachmann, "V. Kamid el-Loz Kumidi," Ber 37 (1989): 89-94. Cf. Thutmose’ III geographic lists
from the Great Temple of Amun at Karnak, Meggido-list: 8; Northern List: 8 in J. Simons, Handbook for
the Study of Egyptian Topographical Lists Relating to Western Asia (Leiden: Brill, 1937), 28-38, 111, 217.
327 Rolf Hachmann, "II. The Excavations," Ber 37 (1989): 36.
328 Rudolf Echt, Kamid El-Loz: 5. Die Stratigraphie (Bonn: Dr. Rudolf Habelt GMBH, 1984).
329 Ibid., 56, 97-99.
four rooms or courtyards, each retangular in shape.332 Finds in this building are limited
mostly to cooking pots and tannours.333 The house was destroyed by fire and remained
unoccupied until the Persian period.334
In area II-e-7, a two-room house with a courtyard was excavated. The pottery
discovered here suggests that the house belongs to the Late Bronze Age. Tannour ovens
and bits of metal were also found within the building. Unfortunately, later Roman
construction damaged part of this structure that may belong to the Late Bronze/Iron I
transition. Thus far, there has been no significant finds dating to the Iron II period. In
contrast to other Phoenician sites, Kamid el-Loz was destroyed at the end of the 13th
century, and never reestablished as a major city. The Late Bronze Age site of Kumidi was
destroyed and reoccupied for a brief time in the Iron I period, and then apparently
abandoned until the Persian period.
The site of ancient Byblos (Gubla) is located at the modern town of Jebeil, twenty-five
miles north of Beirut. The ancient city was an ideal location due to its close proximity to
the timber-rich mountains of Lebanon and a suitable harbor for ships. In 1860, Ernest
Renan surveyed the site as a part of his commission by Napoleon III.335 Renan quickly
discovered that the local population living on the ancient ruins of Byblos was damaging
the site by robbing stone work, digging wells, and, looting ancient artifacts.336 Renan’s
excavations consisted primarily of small soundings made in gardens and between houses
332 http://www.vorderasien.uni-freiburg.de/english/kamid_2005.html, section 1.1.
333 http://www.vorderasien.uni-freiburg.de/english/kamid_2005.html, section 184.108.40.206
334 http://www.vorderasien.uni-freiburg.de/english/kamid_2007.html, section 1.1
335 Renan, Mission de Phénicie, 1.
336 Ibid., 155.
and surface finds, which included numerous inscriptions. Furthermore, his discovery of
recycled building materials in the architecture of a Crusader castle pointed to a complex
history of occupation at Byblos.
Half a century later, Pierre Montet embarked on a second campaign of
excavations at Byblos, which lasted for four years. In his first year of excavation, he
uncovered the foundation of a temple with cartouches from the Egyptian Old Kingdom
and materials datable to the Middle Kingdom.337 However, the presence of modern
houses upon the site prevented him from recognizing that multiple phases of a single
building lay beneath the surface. Instead, the varying types of material found between
houses were seen as evidence of multiple constructions.
In 1922, a landslide exposed the remains of a royal tomb in the cliffs above the
sea. In the tomb, a sarcophagus with the remains of a king, dating to ca. 1800 B.C.E. was
discovered, along with rich funerary remains. Over the course of two more excavation
seasons, a total of nine other royal tombs were excavated. The most famous tomb is that
of Ahiram, whose sarcophagus preserves an early alphabetic inscription. Indeed, the
various alphabetic inscriptions found throughout the many excavations are invaluable to
scholars of early Phoenician History.338 Proposals for the date of the Ahiram sarcophagus
are based primarily on script type and artistic style. Although no complete vessel types
were found in this tomb, there were a number of sherds painted in standard Phoenician
337 Pierre Montet, Byblos et L'Egypte, Quatre campagnes de fouilles à Gebeil 1921, 1922, 1923, and 1924:
(Paris: Libraire Orientaliste Paul Geuthner, 1928), 68-74.
338 Wolfgang Röllig, "On the Origin of the Phoenicians," Ber 31 (1983): 84-92.
style.339 The closest parallels to these fragments come from the cinerary urns retrieved in
late 10th-8th century contexts at Tyre and Ahkziv.340 Based on our current state of
knowledge regarding Phoenician bichrome cinerary urns, the Ahiram inscription dates no
earlier than the 10th century.
The third set of excavations at Byblos was conducted by Maurice Dunand, who
directed multiple campaigns between 1926 and 1965.341 Though Dunand initially faced
the same challenges as his predecessors, he was able to expand his excavation activity
greatly after the government purchased all twenty-nine homes located within the
excavation area. Dunand was then able to excavate the full limits of the Baalat-Gebal
temple and define its various phases of construction up to the Roman period.342 Despite
the benefit of excavating without the obstacle of modern construction, the Iron Age
stratigraphy at Byblos had already been destroyed in antiquity. In all of the areas
excavated at Byblos, there were no stratified levels belonging to the early Iron Age. Only
the Tomb of Ahiram provides a sealed locus for early Iron Age material.343Iron IIA
material is evident by a Black-on-Red jug found out of context on the surface.344 A
couple of early Iron Age vessels were also recovered in level II: a globular jug with red
bands around the neck345and a white globular jug with faded black lines.346 Two
339 Montet, Byblos et L'Egypte...Texte, 218-19; Pierre Montet, Byblos et L'Egypte, Quatre campagnes de
fouilles à Gebeil 1921, 1922, 1923, and 1924: Atlas (Paris: Libraire Orientaliste Paul Geuthner, 1929), Pl.
340 Seeden, "A Tophet in Tyre?," 53-56.
341 The preliminary reports found in the BMB volumes cover the excavations up to 1965: Maurice Dunand,
Fouilles de Byblos I (Paris Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner, 1939); Fouilles de Byblos II (Paris
Librairie d'Amerique et d'Orient Adrien Maisonneuve, 1954); BMB IX, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII,
XIX, XX; Idem., Fouilles de Byblos II (Paris Librairie d'Amerique et d'Orient Adrien Maisonneuve, 1954),
342 Dunand, Fouilles de Byblos I, 66-79.
343 Nina Jidejian, Byblos Through the Ages (Beirut: Dar El-Machreq, 1968), 57-59.
344 Dunand, Fouilles de Byblos II, 98-99.
345 Ibid., 134,140.
bichrome vessels, numbers 8246 and 8743, were identified by Dunand as being
Mycenaean. Each of these vessels can be found in the later repertoires of Iron Age strata
and are considered examples of Phoenician or Cypriot bichrome ware.347 Number 8743 is
especially interesting, since it closely parallels cinerary urns found in Iron IIA-B
cremation burials at Tyre and Ahkziv.348 These large and sometimes complete urns are
evidence of early Iron Age activity at the site of Byblos. However, their research value is
greatly limited by the lack of stratigraphic context. A synthesis of all the Iron Age
material published from the excavations of Byblos is sorely lacking, but beyond the focus
of the present study.349
In sum, the material found at Byblos relating to the early development of central
Lebanese material culture in the Iron Age is frustratingly limited. These limitations are
further compounded by the lack of a systematic presentation of the early Iron Age forms
in the excavation reports.
4.1.7. Tell Kazel
In the early sixties, excavations were conducted at the site of Tell Kazel by Maurice
Dunand, the excavator of Byblos.350 These preliminary excavations demonstrated that
Tell Kazel was a large settlement in the Late Bronze Age that slowly diminished into a
346 Ibid., 141, 157.
347 Number 8246 is a complete vessel that has fragmentary parallels at Tell Keisan Level 4 and Tyre
Stratum X; see Jaques Briend and Jean-Baptiste Humbert, Tell Keisan (1971-1976): Une Cité phenicienne
en Galilee (Fribourg, 1980), PL. 28:2; Bikai, The Pottery of Tyre, Pl.XXIIA:15.
348 Seeden, "A Tophet in Tyre?," Fig. III.73:2; Michal Dayagi-Mendels, The Ahkziv Cemetaries: The Ben-
Dor Excavations, 1941-1944 (Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities Authority, 2002), Fig. 5.4:2
349 Based on the published area plans from the second volume of Fouilles de Byblos, it is clear that nearly
3,680 square meters were excavated during the campaigns of Dunand, before World War II. The continued
excavations between 1948 and 1965 no doubt exposed an even larger area. Despite this large scale
exposure at Byblos no strata were discerned for the early Iron Age.
350 Maurice Dunand, A. Bounni, and N. Saliby, "Fouilles de Tell Kazel. Rapport preliminaire," Annales
Archéologiques Syriennes 14 (1964), 1-14.
small military fort by the Roman period. Later surveys in the Akkar plain showed that
many sites near Kazel were abandoned at the end of the Late Bronze Age, but Kazel
remained an important fortified city. The wealth of international material preserved in the
Late Bronze Age strata has led the excavators to associate Tel Kazel with the ancient city
Ṣumur, first mentioned in the campaigns of Thutmose III.351 Based on the importance of
this site, permission was acquired in 1985 to begin excavations. The field work has
continued on an annual basis up to the present under the directorship of Leila Badre.
The material found by Badre and her team has been published in preliminary
reports and several journal articles.352 Unfortunately, the preliminary nature of the reports
means that there remains no comprehensive stratigraphy for the four areas of excavation.
Rather, each area has developed it’s own stratigraphic sequence, which complicates the
discussion of the finds. The following chart details the varying stratigraphic sequences by
area for the periods relevant to the present study:353
351 Françoise Briquel-Chatonnet, "Tableau Chronologique des Attestations de Ṣumur," Syria 71 (1994):
352 Leila Badre, "Tell Kazel, Syria. AUB Museum Excavations, 1985-1987. Preliminary Reports," Ber 38
(1990): 9-124; Leila Badre, et al., "Tell Kazel (Syrie): Rapport préliminaire sur les 4e-8e Campagnes de
fouilles (1988-1992)," Syria 71 (1994): 259-359; Leila Badre and Eric Gubel, "Tell Kazel Syria:
Excavations of the AUB Museum 1993-1998. Third Preliminary Report," Ber 44 (1999): 123-203; Eric
Gubel, "Tell Kazel - Six Centuries of Iron Age Occupation (c. 1200-612 B.C.)," in Essays on Syria in the
Iron Age (ed. Guy Bunnens; Ancient Near Eastern Studies Supplement 7; Louvain: Peeters, 2000), 425-57;
Emmanuelle Capet, Corrected Reprint of Tel Kazel (Syria) Preliminary Report (1993-2001) (Beirut: The
American University of Beirut, 2003), 63-128.
353 Badre, "Tell Kazel, Syria...," 9-124; Badre and Gubel, "Tell Kazel Syria...," 123-203; Badre, et al., "Tell
Kazel (Syrie)...," 259-359.
Table. 4.1.7. Stratigraphy at Tell Kazel.
Late Bronze II Iron IA Iron IB Iron IIA
Area I Level 16 Level 14 Levels 13-8
Area II Level 6 Level 5 Level 4 (late)
Area III Level 4? Level 3
Area IV Level 5 Level 4 Level 3 Level 2-1
Unlike the site of Sarepta, at Tell Kazel there is evidence of a break between the
Late Bronze Age architectural structures and the remains associated with the Iron Age. In
Area II, a large Bronze Age residence shows signs of having been partially destroyed by
fire. The space was rearranged with a mix of old and new walls. Evidence of water
damage suggests that the roof of the rebuilt complex leaked. The plaster and shell floors
of the Late Bronze Age are replaced by compacted earthen floors. Eventually, the new
construction built over the Late Bronze Age remains was destroyed by a violent fire,
resulting in 50 cm of burnt debris.354 The building techniques demonstrate a decline in
quality from one period to the next. In the Iron I period, walls without cut foundations
first appear, and the fine-crafted and large mudbricks of the Late Bronze Age are
replaced with smaller and coarser bricks.355
As with Sarepta, the pottery at Tel Kazel demonstrates an uninterrupted
continuation of Late Bronze Age local forms into the Iron IA period. However, the lack
of imported forms in the beginning of the Iron Age suggests an interruption in maritime
exchanges. Despite the evidence of several conflagrations, the continuity of the ceramic
354 Gubel, "Tell Kazel...," 436.
355 Ibid., 437.
tradition suggests that the local population overcame these disturbances and persisted to
inhabit the site. Yet, the degradation of architecture, lack of imported luxury goods, and
multiple destructions attest to the instability of the period.356
In area I, architectural remains likely from the Iron I period are quite limited, but
include a pebble floor and a floor made out of stone slabs. The slab floor is associated by
the excavators with a period prior to the arrival of Tiglath-Pileser I.357 A small amount of
Iron I forms were recovered, which include an amphoriskos, fragments of bichrome jugs,
a trefoil dipper juglet, and bowls with hand-burnished slip or red wash.358
One of the major finds in Area I is the “jar-building,” which appears to have been
in use from the early first millennium until the Assyrian conquest of Ṣumur in 738
BCE.359 In the earliest level of this building, twenty sack-shaped amphorae with crisp,
brittle ware were found, one of which had bichrome decoration. The excavator compares
the bichrome example with others found at Sukas, Hama, Hazor, Cyprus, Carthage, and
Sarepta; this broad distribution is attributed by badre to Phoenician expansion in the 9th-
8th centuries.360 However, it might be safer to say that these vessels indicate Phoenician
mercantile activity at the site during this period. Other Phoenician ceramic forms found
here include Red-Slipped jugs and juglets, and numerous fragments of Black-on-Red
356 Ibid., 438-41.
357 Gubel, "Tell Kazel...," 443.
358 Badre and Gubel, "Tell Kazel Syria...," 132-34.
359 Ibid., 443.
360 Badre and Gubel, "Tell Kazel Syria...," 129.
361 Gubel, "Tell Kazel...," 445-46.
In area IV, the remains of a Late Bronze Age temple were uncovered.362 Level 6
is the earliest stratum and belongs to the LB II period. The material suggests that this
wealthy city enjoyed close relations with Egypt and Palestine. The later phase of level 6
shows an increase in Hittite influence.363 In Level 5, two phases of construction are
present. However, the near-absence of pottery and other small finds suggests that the first
phase was completely emptied before the second phase was built. The better-defined
monumental features of the first phase point to Hittite building activity. The temple of the
first phase was completely cleared and then reoccupied in the second phase for a short
period before being destroyed by fire.364
Level 4 belongs to the Iron I period, and points to an economic recession at the
site.365 The walls in this period lack foundations and are made of small rubble stones.
Finds include globular pilgrim flasks and jugs painted with red and black concentric
circles.366 Level 3, also contains late Iron I material, but shows signs of renewed
construction activity. The new construction maintains the same orientation as Level 5, but
the proportions are expanded to create a larger cella. A basalt tripod bowl and other small
finds demonstrate that the material culture of Levels 4 and 3 is closely associated with the
Syro-Palestinian coastal region.367 There is little evidence of foreign imports in these two
levels of Area IV of foreign imports in these two.
In addition to pottery and architecture, figurines, amulets, seals, ivory and metal
objects provide insight into the material culture of the site. Most of the small finds appear
362 Badre and Gubel, "Tell Kazel Syria...," 136-98.
363 Ibid., 197.
366 Ibid., 185-92.
367 Ibid., 198.
in Late Bronze Age or Iron II levels. Several fragments of the “Breast Astarte” figurines
made in terracotta were found in 9th-8th century contexts, some with red and black
paint.368 Another group of figurines found in large quantities is the seated-goddess type,
which prefigures later Phoenico-Rhodian terracottas.369 In addition to the terracottas,
several Egyptian amulets were found, including a fragment of a crown of Nefertem, a cat
figurine, the lower part of a Third Intermediate Period ring made in Egyptian blue, a
scarab depicting Min, and a scarab depicting Ptah. These amulets demonstrate one area of
influence the 22nd Dynasty of Egypt had on the Phoenician coast.370
4.1.8. Tell Keisan
Tell Keisan located south of the Lebanese mountains in the Akko plain is generally
considered a Phoenician site. In 1935, A. Rowe excavated a small probe in order to
explore the stratigraphy and ceramics of the site. Later in 1970, Rolland de Vaux
conducted a surface exploration in preparation for an excavation conducted by Jacques
Briend and Jean-Baptiste Humbert.371 This excavation of the site was conducted over the
course of five years (1971-1976).372 The ancient identity of the site has been associated
with Qishiyon, Akshaph, or Misheal.373 The excavators preferred Akshaph which has
recently been confirmed by the petrography of a cuneiform tablet found at Amarna.374
Briend and Humbert unearthed remains from the Iron I to the Byzantine periods. Though
368 Gubel, "Tell Kazel...," 446-48.
369 Ibid., 448-49.
370 Ibid., 454-55.
371 Briend and Humbert, Tell Keisan, 13-14.
372 Ibid., 14.
373 Qishiyon is mentioned in the geographic list I of Thutmose III number 37. Akshaph is first mentioned in
the execration texts number E 11, and later in list I of Thutmose III number 40. Akshaph also appears in the
Amarna letters EA 366; 367, and Papyrus Anastasi I. Misheal appears in list I of Thutmose III number 39.
374 Ibid., 9; Yuval Goren, Israel Finkelstein, and Nadav Naaman, Inscribed in Clay: Provenance Study of
the Amarna Tablets and Other Ancient Near Eastern Texts (Tel Aviv: Emery and Claire Yass Publications
in Archaeology, 2004), 231-32.
the initial sounding made by A. Rowe confirmed that deeper levels contain material from
the Middle and Late Bronze Age, these levels have yet to be excavated.375 The following
is a table of the levels relevant to the present study.
Table. 4.1.8. Stratigraphy at Tell Keisan.
Period: Iron I A Iron IB Iron IIa Iron IIB
Level: 12b-a (1230-
9c (1075-1050) 8c 6 (850)
11 (1200-1100) 9b (1050~1000) 8b (980-900)
10b (1100-1075) 9a (1000~ 980) 8a
10a (1100-1075) 7 (900-850)
Four separate levels are associated with the Iron IA period. The modest
construction of Level 12a covers the destruction of the earlier Bronze Age site. The
overall architectural continuity is interrupted by a large mudbrick collapse, which lead
excavators to subdivide Level 12 into 12a and 12b. It is believed that Levels 12a-b were
occupied through most of the Iron IA period.376 Level 11 represents a short period of
significant architectural activity. Large, well cut stone slabs were used as a pavement for
some type of structure. These slabs were restricted to the north of the excavation area,
seperated by a wall which was ruined by robbing activity.377 The walls of Level 11 are
nearly a meter thick and constructed with large stones.378 Based on the current evidence,
it is uncertain whether Level 11 was destroyed or abandoned, but it is clear that it was
376 Jean-Baptiste Humbert, "Recent Travaux à Tell Keisan (1979-1980)," Revue Biblique 88, no. 3 (1981):
377 Briend and Humbert, Tell Keisan, 206.
378 Humbert, "Recent Travaux a Tell Keisan (1979-1980)," 385-92.
briefly occupied at the end of the 12th century BCE.379 Jean-Baptiste Humbert attributes
the end of Stratum 11 to an interruption caused by population movements in the region
and culture conflicts among the Israelites, Arameans and Philistines.380
The architectural remains of Levels 10B-A are poorer than the previous levels.
These modest remains show the structures were all made in mudbrick or adobe.381
However, large amounts of pottery found in these two levels indicate the site was active
in this period. The prevalence of several forms, including pyxides, bilbil jugs, large flasks
and juglets, shows a combination of Mycenaean and Cypriot influence. Based on
petrographic analysis, all of these vessels were of local manufacture, and can thus be
defined as Levanto-Mycenaean in form. Philistine sherds number among the pottery
forms reported for Level 10, but a lack of published plates makes these identifications
difficult to confirm.382 One vessel of particular interest is a large clay vat used in the
manufacture of purple dye. The vessel form is parallel only to large pithoi found in
Cyprus.383 This large vessel demonstrates a blending of foreign ceramic influence with a
dye industry that has traditionally been associated with the Phoenicians.384 It is
interesting to note that this large pithos has some similarity in form with the Iron IIA
Snake-band pithoi found at Dan.
379 Humbert, "Tell Keisan," 864.
381 Humbert, "Recent Travaux a Tell Keisan (1979-1980)," 388.
382 However, a published fragment from Level 9c provides a later example of what is considered Philistine.
Caution should be taken with regard to the proposed presence of Philistine material, given the limited data
available in publication. For statements about Philistine material at Tell Keisan, see Briend and Humbert,
Tell Keisan, 222; Humbert, "Tell Keisan," 864.
383 Ibid., 864-65.
384 For new perspectives regarding the Aegean origin of the purple dye industry, see David S Reese, "Shells
From Sarepta (Lebanon) and East Mediterranean Purple-Dye Production," Mediterranean Archaeology and
Archaeometry 10, no. 1 (2010): 126.
The Iron IB period at Tell Keisan is represented by three levels: 9c, 9b, and 9a. In
Level 9c, there is evidence of renewed construction of massive, well-planned buildings.
The walls are built in a manner similar to those found in Stratum IV of Tell Abu
Hawam.385 These walls are built with large stones stacked on top of one another to form
vertical piers, with unbonded small stones filled in between.386 It is likely that the stones
used for construction were robbed from the Middle Bronze Age rampart.387 The city
thrived for a century, in which time it underwent three periods of development without
any sign of disruption. The sequence of urban development is primarily evident in the
residential areas of the site. In Level 9c, most of the homes consisted of two rooms. In
Level 9b, the homes received a new interior wall to subdivide the space into three rooms.
By Level 9a, the open courtyard is roofed over, providing four rooms. The evolution of
the house plan suggests an increase in population density at Tell Keisan over the course
of the 11th century.388 As seen in the ceramic evidence, continued contact with Cyprus
suggests that Keisan’s interests were focused on sea trade, likely in conjunction with the
port of Akko. It appears that economic ties forged with Cyprus at the end of the 12th
century resulted in a century of economic prosperity and growth. It is during this period
that Tell Keisan reached its zenith.
The great prosperity of Tell Keisan was brought to an abrupt end sometime in the
10th century BCE. No strong archeological evidence has been unearthed to suggest who
was responsible for the destruction of the site. Levels 8c-a belong to the reoccupation of
385 R. W. Hamilton, "Excavations at Tell Abu Hawam," The Quarterly of the Department of Antiquities in
Palestine 4 (1935), 10.
386 This construction technique is known as Peer-and-Rubble construction.
387 Humbert, "Recent Travaux à Tell Keisan (1979-1980)," 386.
388 Ibid., 392-97.
the site, shortly after the destruction of Level 9a. The meager rebuilding efforts evident in
this level show a demonstrable break with the affluence of the earlier period.389 From a
material culture standpoint, the excavators do not see a radical shift in population
between Levels 9 and 8. The ceramic evidence shows a continuum of ceramic tradition,
uninterrupted up to Level 6. Primarily domestic forms of pottery are evident in Levels 7-
6, with some examples of Black-on-Red ware, red burnished bowls, and some bichrome
sherds.390 It appears that the inhabitants of Tell Keisan continued within the confines of
the Iron I settlement, but the site never regained its former glory. Though the population
appears to have maintained its cultural ties with the coast, the wealth from maritime
connections was never restored.
4.1.9. Tel Dor
Tel Dor is located on the coast of modern Israel, at the southern edge of the Carmel
mountain range. The site has three small coves which were used as havens for anchorage,
a valuable feature along the flat coastline of the eastern Mediterranean.391 The first
excavation of the site was conducted by John Garstang in 1923-1924. His extensive work
at the site was not well-documented and thus has been of little value to current
excavators.392 In 1950, J. Leibowitz resumed excavations at Dor. The finds consisted
primarily of Roman and Byzantine remains. In addition, extensive underwater
excavations were conducted by Kurt Raveh, Ehud Galil, and Shelly Wachsman, who
were based at a nearby kibbutz. Between 1980-1992, excavations were conducted by
389 Briend and Humbert, Tell Keisan, 195.
390 Ibid., 181-189.
391 Ephraim Stern, Dor, Ruler of the Seas: Nineteen Years of Excavations at the Israelite-Phoenician
Harbor Town on the Carmel Coast (rev. and exp. ed.; Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 2000).
392 Ibid., 81.
Ephraim Stern of the Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology. The earliest levels
reached by the Stern excavations were small areas of the Iron I period.393 A renewal of
excavations at Dor began in 2003, led by Ilan Sharon of the Hebrew University and
Ayelet Gilboa of the University of Haifa. The excavation, still in progress, utilizes the
newest technologies and multidisciplinary approaches. The site is known to be relevant to
inter-regional and intercultural exchanges between the southern Phoenician littoral,
Israel, Cyprus, and the Mediterranean seaboard.394 Preliminary reports of each excavation
year up to 2009 are currently available online.395
Because of the preliminary state of publication for the periods relevant to the
present study, the stratigraphy has yet to be standardized among excavation areas. The
following chart shows the various strata by area for the Iron I-IIA periods at Tel Dor.
Table. 4.1.9. Stratigraphy at Tel Dor.
Period Area B Area C Area D Area G
Trans LB/IrI Str. Str. Str. Str.
Iron IA Str. 13
Str. 1/8 Str. 14-12 Str. 10
Iron IB Str. 1/8 Str. 9-10 Str. 9
Trans IrI/II Str. 8 Str. 6b-8
Iron IIA Str. 1/7 Str. 8 Str.
393 Ibid., 85.
394 For a full description of the goals and methodology of the new excavations at Tel Dor, see
Only the most general statement that Strata 13-8 cover the Iron I through Iron IIA
periods has been published to date.396 However, Dr. Ilan Sharon and Elizabeth Bloch-
Smith are nearing publication of the Area B material.397 In Area B, a thick destruction
level was found sealed beneath a plaster floor, upon which were found ceramics dating to
the second half of the 11th century BCE. Only a small section was excavated at this depth.
The most significant find was a wall-base 3 m high and 2 m thick made of large stones.
On top of this wall were the remains of mudbricks. The wall was dated to the 12th century
BCE by ceramics found at the base of the wall.398 Ephraim Stern considered this massive
construction the work of the Sikil.399 Other remains linked to Sikil manufacture were
identified by Avner Raban, while excavating the harbor. He concluded that the initial
phase of construction resembled other harbors excavated at Mallia in Crete and Kition in
Cyprus. Changing sea levels resulted in the abandonment of these landings in the mid-
11th century.400 Other small finds including an incised bovine scapula, a painted lion head
rhyton, and bichrome ware attributed to the Philistines led Stern to conclude that Level
XII at Tel Dor should be associated with the Aegean Sikil.401 Stern attributes a later mid-
11th century destruction to the Phoenicians.402 These early conclusions, based on very
limited archeological evidence, have been challenged in the past decade by ceramic and
archeological studies at Tel Dor.
397 Ilan Sharon, Elizabeth Bloch-Smith, The Tel Dor Area B Iron Age Fortifications (Forthcoming).
398 Stern, Dor, Ruler of the Seas..., 92-93.
399 Ibid., 94-96.
400 Ibid., 97-98.
401 Ibid., 94-98.
402 Ibid., 99
In a series of articles, Ayelet Gilboa explores the development of Phoenician
bichrome pottery and its relationship with Cyprus and the Sikil.403 She concludes that
ceramic evidence suggests the development of Phoenician bichrome ware is a natural
progression of the Iron I coastal ceramic tradition influenced by economic and cultural
exchanges with Cyprus.404 Gilboa finds no evidence of a marked change of ethnic
identity that would signal a significant population change. Thus, the new excavations of
Tel Dor not only expand the body of early Iron Age material, but also bring a new
critique of past theories derived from the previous decades’ research.
Very little material has been found at Tel Dor belonging to the Late Bronze Age.
Based on limited ceramic and metal slag evidence, the settlement was small in the Late
Bronze Age and likely occupied only the northern part of the tell.405 The earliest Iron Age
material was recovered in Area G, where a Canaanite-style courtyard house was found.
The courtyard house is typified by a central courtyard bordered on at least three sides by
rooms. The earliest phase, G/10, shows evidence of bronze recycling, which appears to
be a continuation of a Late Bronze Age industry. The in situ objects compliment the
haphazard finds from the previous Late Bronze Age level G/11. Among the instruments
used for recycling is a bellows pot406 that looks similar to two vessels found at Sarepta.407
403 Ayelet Gilboa, "The Dynamics of Phoenician Bichrome Pottery: A View from Tel Dor," BASOR 316
(1999): 1-22; Ayelet Gilboa and Ilan Sharon, "An Archaeological Contribution to the Early Iron Age
Chronological Debate: Alternative Chronologies for Phoenicia and their Effects on the Levant, Cyprus, and
Greece," BASOR 332 (2003): 7-80; Ayelet Gilboa, "Sea Peoples and Phoenicians along the Southern
Phoenician Coast - A Reconciliation: An Interpretation of Sikila (SKL) Material Culture," BASOR 337
404 Gilboa, "The Dynamics of Phoenician Bichrome Pottery...," 12-19.
405 Ayelet Gilboa and Ilan Sharon, "Between the Carmel and the Sea: Tel Dor's Iron Age Reconsidered,"
NEA 71, no. 3 (2009): 150.
406 Ibid., 154.
407 The excavators of Sarepta suggest that these vessels may have been used in the production of purple
dye, but the evidence from Dor would suggest that they were actually used as bellow pots. Pritchard,
Recovering Sarepta..., 127.
After a short period, perhaps a decade, the house changed function, as evidenced by the
presence of wheat phytoliths in Level G/9. Food storage became the primary function,
with Wavy-band pithoi, collared-rimmed jars, and other Iron Age store jars found in this
level. Other similar houses were excavated in areas D2 and D5. Several items used for
personal adornment appear to have fallen from a second story of these buildings. Among
the small finds were numerous glass objects, including beads, a core-formed vessel, and
an “ear plug.”408
The ceramics from these levels were domestically produced, with little evidence
of import from Cyprus. Decorative elements appear primarily on commercial vessels,
including jars. The practice of painting enclosed bichrome bands on small commercial
vessels begins to appear in the Iron IA period, and seems to have been influenced by
contemporary Cypriot style.409 Strainer-spouted jugs associated with feasting activity are
painted with overlapping diagonal strokes, which find their closest parallel in Syro-
Cilician style.410 Wavy-band pithoi and simple skyphoi attest to the local production of
Cypriot-influenced forms. A few of the pithoi were imported from Cyprus, but the main
source of foreign import comes from Egypt, as evidenced by the dozens of Egyptian-style
store jars and Nile fish bones.411
The Iron IA levels at Tel Dor were brought to an end by a site-wide destruction
sometime in the mid- to late 11th century BCE. Many of the domestic structures were
rebuilt with the same plan and function. Ceramics continued to develop in the local
tradition with influence from Cyprus. In this period, standard Phoenician bichrome style
408 Gilboa and Sharon, "Between the Carmel and the Sea," 156.
409 Ibid., 155.
410 Ibid., 155-56.
411 Ibid., 156.
emerged as a distinct artistic form. Also commerce with Egypt continued uninterrupted.
Petrography shows that the majority of bichrome vessels were locally made, with the rest
coming from Lebanon. However, significant Cypriot imports in the Iron IB levels attest
to economic exchanges between Dor and Cyprus. These imports include Cypro-
Geometric I table wares, bimetallic knives, and a bull-shaped pendant.412
Despite the continuity of material culture and domestic architecture following the
great Iron IA destruction, significant architectural changes appear in the Iron IB levels. A
new city wall, built of brick, expanded the limits of the previous levels, and a massive
building project took place in Level D2/10.413 A building at least 40 meters long was
constructed on top of a massive boulder socle 5 meters tall. One corner of this
monumental building appears to have been constructed of ashlars. This building is
connected in the south to the “Sea wall,” and in the west to the “Bastion Wall.” Amidst
these three structures is a large mudbrick building, apparently used as a storage facility.
Between the monumental building and the mudbrick building is a drain covered by thick
ashlar slabs, emptying into the lagoon. The excavators note that this is one of the largest
architectural complexes known from the Iron I period in all of the Mediterranean.414
Though these remains may be attributed to the Sikil, the continuity of material culture
raises concerns with this proposal. A room in area D2 contained a foreign assemblage
including an incised bone, a stone bowl, a horn core, a juglet, a bottle, and seven water-
polished stones. Though this has been nicknamed the Sikil shrine on site, the excavators
412 Ibid., 159; Stern, Dor, Ruler of the Seas..., Figs. 248, 58.
414 Gilboa and Sharon, "Between the Carmel and the Sea," 157-58.
have refrained from a hasty judgment its origin.415 If, as was argued in chapter 3, the Sikil
come from the Orontes river region or the Akkar plain, their material culture would have
only nuanced distinctions from other North Levantine coastal sites. A detailed
examination of the material from Tel Kazel and Tel Dor will have to wait for final
In the Iron I/II transition period, the courtyard house of Area G continued to be
used. During this period, a structural collapse buried a middle-aged woman.416 In Area B,
there is little evidence of significant change. In area D5, a very large courtyard building
first appears, demonstrating continuity with Late Bronze Age building practices. In area
D2, the large mudbrick storage area was demolished and neatly sealed. A rubble stone
structure was then built over the former mudbrick structure. In this stone structure a
significant silver hoard was recovered. The excavators are reluctant to attribute the
demolition of the mudbrick structure to some catastrophic event, since the building is
nicely sealed over.417 However, the presence of a woman beneath the stone collapse in
Area G, the destruction of the mudbrick structure, and some minor disturbances detected
in the Area B material point to a site-wide event.
Since evidence for a site-wide disruption remains inconclusive, the ceramic
repertoire is the primary means used to identify the Iron I/II transition. The defining types
for this period at Tel Dor include Phoenician Red-Slipped fine wares and Black-on-Red
ware. The ceramic assemblages from Megiddo VIA and Tel Qasile X parallel the Iron I/II
415 Tel Dor 2009 Preliminary Report. http://dor.huji.ac.il/Season2009report2.html
416 Gilboa and Sharon, "Between the Carmel and the Sea," 162.
417 Ibid., 162.
transition at Tel Dor, while Megiddo IVB-VA and Hazor X parallel Iron IIa at Tel Dor.418
In the Iron I/II transition, the presence of Phoenician bichrome style continues to increase
over earlier periods, and is employed as a mode of decoration on non-commercial vessels
including chalices, bowls and jars. Although Red-Slipped vessels are present, they are
rare in this period.419 The Cypriot assemblage, reaches its zenith during the Iron I/II
transition, and is parallel to finds from Tyre. Iron Age levels at Dor also preserve Mid-
Proto-Geometric sherds from Euboea, which is evidence of renewed contact with the
Aegean. A chemical analysis of silver found in area D2 also points to contact with
Anatolia, Sardinia, and the Aegean during this period. In contrast, contact with Egypt
decreased during this period.420
In the early Iron IIA period, the ceramic assemblage at Tel Dor finds closer
parallels with the Israelite sites of Megiddo, Yoqneam, Hazor, Dan, and Tel es-Saidiyeh,
rather than the coast. Also there are few parallels between assemblages in the Akko plain
and tel Dor in this period.421 Architectural changes also appear late in the Iron IIA period
or at the beginning of Iron IIB period. In Area B phase 7, a new city wall was built with
adjacent rubble structures and a four-chambered gate. Massive walls located north of
Area B suggest this was an inner gate. In Area D2, there are scant remains of a large
ashlar building likely built in the Iron IIA period. Thus, in the Iron IIA period most of the
evidence points to Israelite control of the site.422
418 Ibid., 161-62.
419 Ibid., 163.
420 Ibid., 163.
421 Ibid., 163.
422 Ibid., 163.
4.1.10. Horvat Rosh Zayit
From 1974-1983, an archeological survey of the Galilee was made in an effort to define
the ancient boundary between the tribes of Asher and Zebulun, and to identify the valley
of Yiftaḥ̕el and Kabul. Since no Iron Age remains have been found at the modern Arab
village of Kabul, Horvat Rosh Zayit, a registered site 1.5 kilometers north, became a
focal point of the search for ancient Kabul. The site’s location in antiquity just 15
kilometers from Akko on a ridge on the lower slopes of the mountains of lower Galilee
provided a clear view of the entire ‘Akko Plain’.423 Excavation of the site was carried out
between 1983/84 and 1989/90 by the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Haifa.
In 1988, the project was sponsored by Avraham Biran, director of the Nelson Glueck
School of Biblical Archaeology of the Hebrew Union College. The last three years of
excavation, 1990-1992, were funded by the Israel Antiquities Authority.424
Although several strata have been identified, the main occupation belongs to fort
complex of the 10th-9th centuries. Thus, Horvat Rosh Zayit lacks the complexities
associated with the excavation of a multi-period tell. There are four phases of occupation
in three strata at Horvat Rosh Zayit.425
Table. 4.1.10. Stratigraphy at Horvat Rosh Zayit
Strat. III Pre-fort village c. 1000-960
Strat. IIb First phase of the fort c. 960-920
Strat. IIa Second phase of the fort c. 920-880
Strat. I Small occupation of ruined fort c. 880-860
423 Zvi Gal and Yardenna Alexandre, Horbat Rosh Zayit. An Iron Age Storage Fort and Village (Jerusalem:
Israel Antiquities Authority, 2000), 3.
424 Ibid., 1.
425 Ibid., 6.
Stratum III was exposed in a very small area beneath the central hall of the fort.
The first phase of Stratum III consisted of a rock-hewn bell-shaped cistern and a domestic
unit built of three poorly-constructed stone walls on bedrock. Finds of the first phase
include a basalt mortar, ‘doughnut’-shaped stoppers, and many astragali.426 Ceramics
include fragments of a standard Phoenician bichrome jug and pilgrim flask, a cooking jug
similar to those found at Tel Dor, and cooking pots resembling those found at Hazor, Tel
Dan, and Yokneam.427 In the second phase of Stratum III, there were two walls, a tabun,
and a plastered horseshoe installation used for cooking food. The walls of the second
phase are of better quality than the first phase. Based on ceramic finds on a stamped earth
floor outside the walls of the fort, it appears that the Stratum III village extended beyond
the limits of the later Stratum II fortress.428
In Stratum IIb, a nearly square fort (15.5 by 16 meters) was constructed partially
on bedrock and partially over Stratum III. The fort was surrounded by massive
fortification walls with an outer dimension of 22 by 24 meters. The outer defensive wall
was built as a sloping glacis of uncut field stones laid against the ashlar cut stones of the
fort. The glacis wall is 2.6 meters wide at the base and narrows to 1 meter at the top. The
outer wall is preserved to a height of nearly 2 meters, comprised of eleven courses of
stone. No doorways were excavated, and though it is possible that an entrance remains
unexcavated on the south-east side, the excavator suggests that the wall was traversed by
ladder. A few similar style forts have been excavated—Tel Malḥata in the Beer Sheva
426 Ibid., 9.
427 Ibid., 30-32.
428 Ibid., 10.
valley, Rujm abu Mughaiyir in the Jordan Valley, and ʽEn Ḥaṣeva.429 Evidence of two
towers was unearthed at the northern and southern ends of the glacis wall. The north
tower contained a large quantity of Cypro-Phoenician vessels, along with an exceptional
kernos. Zvi Gal believes this tower may have served a cultic function based on the
presence of the kernos.430 In the Iron I period, kernoi appear at sites in the Philistine area,
such as Tel Qasile, Beth Shemesh and Gezer, along with a few other significant sites like
Megiddo and Beth Shean. Based on the prevalence of these types of vessels in Cyprus, it
has been suggested that they originate from there.431 Likewise, some have argued that
Cyprus is also the origin of Black-on-Red ware.432
The Stratum IIb fort, built partially on bedrock, is preserved to a height of 3
meters. Evidence suggests that the building was originally two stories high and had walls
5 meters high. The main entrance into the building was on the upper level, likely reached
by ladder. The primary evidence for the first phase of the building comes from the
courtyard and rooms 56, 59 and 60. No evidence of a stone stair was excavated, leading
the excavators to conclude the lower level of the building was also reached by ladder.433
The plan of the fort is similar to the courtyard house designs found at Tel Dor and Tell
Keisan, with the obvious exception of the heavy fortification. The walls were constructed
mainly of rubble, ashlars laid in header and stretcher fashion formed the entrances. The
combination of ashlar and rubble masonry is Phoenician in origin.434 A conflagration
damaged the fortification system, ground floor cellars, and upper story rooms. Finds from
429 Ibid., 12-14.
430 Ibid., 14.
431 Ibid., 81-82.
432 Nicola Schreiber, The Cypro-Phoenician Pottery of the Iron Age (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 307-12; Gal and
Alexandre, Horbat Rosh Zayit, 69-70.
433 Ibid., 14-16.
434 Ibid., 20.
the first phase are minimal since the whole fort was cleared and repaired for another
period of use.435
The primary architectural changes in Stratum IIa appear in the massive 2-meter-
thick wall unearthed on the western side of the fort. It is uncertain whether the new wall
encircled the fort, but it was clearly constructed upon the ruined glacis of the previous
period. This outer wall is preserved to a height of 3 meters.436 New towers were built
following the plan of the previous towers. A rock-cut cistern is located at the join of the
defensive wall and the walls of the fort. It is possible that this cistern was originally cut in
Stratum III. This cistern in the northwest corner of the fort appears to have dictated the
location of the upper story entrance in that corner.437
The finds from Stratum IIa include an intact, elaborately-carved basalt bowl,
fragments from a second bowl, and a stone chalice. The ornate style may have been
derived from the bronze tripod styles found in Cyprus from the 13-11th centuries BCE.438
A large number of iron tools, including two plowshares, twenty-seven sickles, six axe
heads, five chisels, a saw, a cow-goad, and several utility knives were also uncovered.
Five heavy bronze rings found at the site were likely used for leading oxen. Iron
arrowheads, swords, and spearheads likely belong to the final battle that brought the fort
to an end. In total, 30 kilograms of iron were recovered from the site. Tests of the
composition of a couple implements show traces of chrome, magnesium, nitrogen, and
copper. Unfortunately, the origin of the metal tools has not been ascertained.
435 Ibid., 16.
436 Ibid., 16.
437 Ibid., 17.
438 Ibid., 123-125.
Nevertheless, the large number of iron tools used for agricultural purposes points to a
sophisticated agricultural operation associated with the fort.439
Another valuable corpus of small finds is the nine weights recovered from the
fort. Five are made of limestone, two of bronze, one of dorite, and one of green stone.
Three of the limestone weights clearly meet the Egyptian standard of a deben: 90-95
grams; one is a double deben. One limestone weight weighs 22.67 grams and has
tentatively been identified as a double shekel, or perhaps a Phoenician triple shekel.
Given the poor condition of the two bronze weights and the one small weight, there is
much uncertainty regarding their unit of measure.440 The textual evidence of Phoenician
shipping contracts with Egypt and the thirty-one deben of silver carried by Wenamun for
his transactions with Byblos and other Levantine rulers, offer reason to believe that the
deben may have been a common standard weight in this period. The dome shape and
carination of four of the limestone weights finds its closest parallels with Egyptian
The functional nature of these small finds and the lack of luxury items seems to
suggest that this fort served as an agricultural administration center. This is further
supported by the nearly five hundred vessels found in the ground level storage rooms,
which would have had an estimated capacity of 14,000 liters. Room 40, which is believed
to have been a silo, would have more than doubled that capacity. At least forty-one intact
store jars were recovered from two basement rooms alone. These represent three different
styles including ‘hippo jars,’ a short-necked jar, and a high-necked jar. A single pithos
439 Ibid., 127-129.
440 Raz Kletter, "4.6 Weights," in Horbat Rosh Zayit: An Iron Age Storage Fort and Village (eds. Zvi Gal
and Yardenna Alexandre; Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities Authority, 2000), 129-33.
with a large base and flat-cut rim was found among the storage containers.442 In addition
to the large number of store jars, nearly two hundred and fifty bowls were recovered in
the two phases of the fort; most are plain with no slip, especially in the Iron IIA
stratum.443 One particularly important find is a thick Red-Slipped carinated bowl, which
has numerous parallels at Israelite sites but is absent at Lebanese and coastal sites.444
As for the fine ceramic wares discovered at Horvat Rosh Zayit, petrographic
analysis shows several bichrome jugs came from the Phoenician coast.445 There is also
evidence of a few Red-Slipped jugs, including an imitation Black-on-Red jug.446 The
majority of fine ceramics is represented by sixty-eight Black-on-Red vessels recovered
from the fort. Forty-three of these vessels were bowls, and the rest were jugs and juglets.
No place of manufacture could be established through petrographic analysis. The vessels
comprise a large and unique cache of luxury goods at an otherwise utilitarian site. It is
not fully understood why such a large corpus of these vessels should be found at this
Stratum I, the final occupation of the site, appears to have been a domestic
occupation of the destroyed fort. Squatters divided the central hall into four rooms with
flimsy cross walls. The cooking pots and basalt grinding stones found in this stratum
appear to have been rescued and reused after the destruction of the fort. These and other
442 Ibid., 21-22.
443 Ibid., 34.
444 Ibid., 36.
445 Ibid., 57-58.
446 Ibid., 60-61.
447 Ibid., 68-78.
items found abandoned in situ suggest this occupation was brief and that the inhabitants
fled the site leaving their possessions behind.448
The biblical site of Achzib is located 14 kilometers north of Akko. The first excavations
at the site took place between 1941 and 1944 under the direction of Immanuel Ben-Dor.
Unfortunately, the war in 1947 completely disrupted the investigations launched at the
site. It was not until 2002 that Michal Dayagi-Mendels was able to publish the material
that had been stored at the Rockefeller Museum. Missing plans, imperfect records, and a
great lapse in time limited the report to a presentation of the pottery and small materials
found within the tombs.449
The tombs are located in two cemeteries, Er-Ras and Ez-Zib. Most of the tombs
were shaft tombs, carved out of kurkar rock. The report identifies four different styles of
tombs. Type 1 is a shaft tomb with a single chamber and a rock-cut roof. Type 2 is a
single chamber with a roof of stone slabs. Type 3 is a trough tomb that may have had a
stone slab roof, but we cannot know for certain since the single example of this type is
poorly preserved. Type 4 is a masonry tomb built entirely above ground.450 The Er-Ras
cemetery contains mainly Type 1 tombs, which are similar to Persian period tombs found
at Atlit. Type 2 tombs found at Ez-Zib have close parallels with 8th-7th century BCE
tombs found in Jerusalem.451
The ceramics found in these tombs have close parallels with material recovered
from Tyre, Sarepta, T. Abu Hawam, and other sites considered Phoenician in character.
449 Dayagi-Mendels, The Ahkziv Cemeteries..., 1-2.
450 Ibid., 3-4.
451 Ibid., 4
The earliest vessels, from the 10th-9th centuries BCE, were found in tomb Z X.452 Finds
that date to the 9th-8th centuries include two sealed crematory urns, two jugs, and a
bowl.453 These items have been identified as a standard Phoenician-style burial kit, based
on 9th-7th century burial finds at other Phoenician sites.454
In 1963-1964, excavations were carried out on the main tell by Moshe W.
Prausnitz in partnership with Sabatino Moscati. In a 40-meter-long trench, the excavators
were able to identify Middle Bronze Age fortifications that were destroyed. By the
beginning of the Iron Age, the city expanded beyond the bounds of these fortifications.
Regrettably, the early Iron Age material has not yet been published.455
In addition to the excavations by Ben-Dor, further excavations were made at three
cemeteries around Achzib: the southern cemetery, the eastern cemetery, and the northern
cemetery. From 1988-1990, the Jerome L. Joss excavation, directed by Eilat Mazar,
focused on the southern cemetery where sixteen shaft tombs were excavated. These
tombs, dated to the 8th and 7th centuries B.C.E., contain numerous finds, including
ceramics, jewelry, ivory, scarabs, figurines and weapons. In the northwestern part of the
site, excavators uncovered a chamber tomb that appears to have been used from the 10th
to 7th centuries BCE. A hole bored through the slabs covering the burial chamber is
similar to an earlier Late Bronze Age tomb at Ugarit. A cist tomb was also uncovered,
dating to the 11th century. Another cist chamber tomb with a dozen secondary burials was
excavated and dated to the 10th-9th centuries BCE. The tombs found in the southern
452 Ibid., 20-23.
453 Max W. Prausnitz, "Die Nekropolen von Akhziv," in Phönizier im Westen: Die Beiträge des
Internationalen Symposiums über Die Phönizische Expansion im westlichen Mittelmeerraum in Köln vom
24. bis 27. April 1979 (ed. H.G. Niemeyer; Mainz: von Zäbern, 1982), 36-35.
454 Aubet, "The Tyre Necropolis," 20.
455 Max W. Prausnitz, "Achzib," The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land,
vol. 1: 32.
cemetery, dated from the 11th to 7th centuries B.C.E., demonstrate architectural
The northern cemetery was excavated for eight years by both Moshe Prausnitz
and Eilat Mazar.457 The earliest finds in this area include a platform and a well-plastered
pool, perhaps related to the production of purple dye. This installation went out of use in
the 10th century when an ashlar built tomb was constructed in its place. Child inhumation
burials were found outside the tomb, deposited in the pool.458 In the 9th century, a circular
crematorium was built, cutting into the plastered pool. Although no direct evidence for
cremation was apparent in the structure, numerous cremation burials were found in the
area surrounding it. As with the evidence from Tyre, the urns were filled with adult
remains and covered with a Samaria-type bowl. Typically, a dipper jug, a trefoil rim jug,
and mushroom-lipped jug were placed beside the urn, and a stele was mounted above it.
Most of these stele have no markings, but a few have a basic circle, a pair of lines, or
both, which represent Baal and Tanit. This style of burial was practiced until the 6th
In addition to the cremation burials, a circular ashlar burial chamber was
uncovered. Its initial construction is dated to the 10th century and it continued to be used
until the 6th century. Parallels to this type of burial structure appear at Ugarit from the
456 Eilat Mazar, "Achzib," The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, vol. 1:
457 Eilat Mazar, The Phoenician Family Tomb N.1 At the Northern Cemetery of Achziv (10th-6th Centuries
BCE) (Barcelona: Laboratorio De Arquelogia De La Universidad Pompeu Fabra De Barcelona, 2004).
458 Eilat Mazar, "Achzib," The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, vol.5:
459 Mazar, "Achzib," 1562.
Middle Bronze Age until the 13th century.460 The most common pottery found in the
earliest 10th century level of this structure is the small pilgrim flask. This vessel is
entirely absent in the later burials within the structure. As with the urn burials outside the
tomb, trefoil and mushroom-lipped jugs are prevalent here. Other finds within the tomb
include high quality jewelry, scarabs, clay figurines, weapons, and a clay mask.461
4.1.12. Tell Abu Hawam
Tell Abu Hawam is situated within the limits of modern Haifa. Due to silting and tectonic
shifts, this ancient harbor now lies 1.5 kilometers from the sea shore. The site held
control over the estuary of the Kishon and the main road between Shiqmona and the
Jordan valley. Excavation of the site began as a series of rescue excavations by P. L. O.
Guy and G. M. Fitzgerald in 1922, L. A. Mayer and N. Makhouly in 1929, D. C.
Baramky and A. Valinsky in 1930, R. W. Hamilton and L. Sorial in 1932-1933, E. Anati
and M. Prausnitz in 1952, and Anati and Y. Olami in 1963.462 The publications produced
by Hamilton formed the initial interpretation of the stratigraphy at Abu Hawam.463 In
1985-1986, stratigraphic verifications were made at Tell Abu Hawam under the direction
of J. Balensi, M. D. Herrera, and Michal Artzy. This resulted in a chronological
adjustment of Hamilton’s stratigraphic levels and provided a clarification of the
subdivisions within the strata.464 Finally from 2001-2002, salvage excavations were
carried out by Artzy and Y. Yankelevitch, and U. Ad. This final excavation concluded
460 For a detailed discussion of the archaeological evidence for this tomb tradition, see Mazar, The
Phoenician Family Tomb N.1..., 15-16.
461 Ibid., 1562-63.
462 Jacqueline Balensi, Maria D. Herrera, and Michal Artzy, "Abu Hawam, Tell," The New Encyclopedia of
Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land,1:8.
463 Hamilton, "Tell Abu Hawam: Interim Report," 74-80; Hamilton, "Excavations at Tell Abu Hawam," 1-
464 Maria D. Herrera and Francisco Gomez, Tell Abu Hawam (Haifa, Israel): El Horizonte Fenico Del
Stratum III Britanico (Salamanca: Universidad Pontificaia De Salamanca, 2004), 165-78.
that during the Late Bronze Age period, there was no lower city in the northern area of
the tell, and that the Iron Age site was likely smaller than the Late Bronze Age site. The
most extensive synthesis of the various publications is found in the collaborative article
by Artzy , Balensi, and Herrera.465 The following is a chart of the various strata and
proposed dating based on the article by Artzy, Balensi, and Herrera.
Table. 4.1.12. Stratigraphy at Tell Abu Hawam.
Stratum IIIB Renewed planning Iron IIA-B 10th-late 8th c.
Stratum IIIA Fortified city Iron IIA 10th c. BCE
Stratum IVB Public Buildings Iron I/IIA 11th-10th c. BCE
Stratum IVA Three-room houses Iron IB 11th c. BCE
Stratum VC New Settlement LB IIB/Iron I 13th-12th c. BCE
The Late Bronze Age remains at Tell Abu Hawam include a cyclopean wall built
around two public buildings, temple 50 and a citadel. A large number of Mycenaean III
and Late Cypriot vessels were recovered from this level. A later study by J. M. Weinstein
identified the Argolid as the primary source for the manufacture and distribution of
Mycenaean-style wares exported to Cyprus and the Levant. Abu Hawam served as a
regional port for the import of such goods from Mycenae.466 Among the finds were some
Hyksos-style scarabs, which were deemed out of place. These finds, made by Hamilton,
were later defined as Stratum VB. The stratum following the destruction of these
architectural elements was designated Stratum VC, and defined as a short period of
465 Balensi, Herrera, and Artzy, "Abu Hawam, Tell," 7-14.
466 James M. Weinstein, "Was Tell Abu-Hawam a 19th-Century Egyptian Naval Base," BASOR 238 (1980):
reoccupation of the site. In the new excavations and analysis of Hamilton’s material,
Balensi, et al. found that the settlement had extended over the stone rampart and had been
burned. Pottery associated with this level includes Mycenean IIIB, Late Cypriot IIB,
Canaanite jars, and Phoenician bichrome. In addition, pepper and salt wheel-made ware,
Late Minoan IIIB imports, and some gray-burnished wheel-made ware in the Trojan
VIH/VIIA style attest to an influx of a variety of peoples from Cyprus and Syria
following the destruction of the primary Late Bronze Age IIB site. The presence of
domestic structures on the upper mound indicates a change in the urban plan in Stratum
Beginning in Stratum IV, three-room houses appear with rubble walls nearly a
meter thick, and the occasional use of monolithic pillars. The pillars were likely reused
from the cyclopean ramparts. The modest building methods employed to repair damage
caused by rising sea levels has been attributed to new settlers at the site. The
preponderance of domestic dwellings similar to examples found in the north as far as
Hittite territory further supports the theory that settlers from Syria or the northern coastal
regions moved onto the site during the Iron IB period. However, the continued use of an
earlier temple (30) suggests a degree of cultural continuity. As the settlement grew, the
temple was replaced by a public building (32) in Stratum IVA. Finds associated with
Phoenician material culture include storage galleries built with pier and rubble walls and
large quantities of bichrome vessels. Other finds in this phase include Philistine sherds
and Late Cypriot IIIB wares.468
467 Balensi, Herrera, and Artzy, "Abu Hawam, Tell," 13-14.
468 Ibid., 10-11.
Although strong fortifications appear in Stratum III there is generally a great deal
of continuity in the architecture of Strata IVA- IIIA. Black-on-Red ware appears for the
first time in Stratum IIIA. Ovens and iron tools suggest a combination of domestic and
agricultural activities. The ovens in the houses were riveted with potsherds and
sometimes rested on a ring of stones.469 In Stratum IIIB, several new complexes were
built, which incorporated a few ashlar blocks. In this period, Red-Burnished fine ware
appears, but there are no examples of the thicker type found at Israelite sites.470 Tell Abu
Hawam exhibits a combination of Israelite and Phoenician ceramic features in Stratum
IIIB. Phoenician types include bichrome ware and Red-Slipped burnished bowls, while
cooking pots and pyxides similar to those found at Keisan and Dan suggest commonality
with Israelite sites.471
Tel Shiqmona lies 1.3 miles south of the Carmel Cape and is currently within the city
limits of Haifa. The tell was occupied from the Late Bronze Age to the Byzantine period.
In 1963, systematic excavation of the site began, directed by Joseph Elgavish, on behalf
of the Haifa Municipal Museum of Ancient Art. In total, seventeen excavation seasons
were conducted, which ended in 1979.472 While, the majority of the Iron Age material has
yet to be published, some information has been provided by preliminary publications.473
469 Hamilton, "Excavations at Tell Abu Hawam," 6.
470 Balensi, Herrera, and Artzy, "Abu Hawam, Tell," 9-10.
471 Hamilton, "Excavations at Tell Abu Hawam," 6-7.
472 Joseph Elgavish, "Tel Shiqmona," The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy
473 Elgavish, "Tel Shiqmona," 4:1373-78; Joseph Elgavish, Shiqmona on the Shore of the Carmel (Hebrew)
(Tel-Aviv: Hakkibutz Hameuchad Publishing House, 1994), 47-57; Joseph Elgavish, "Shiqmona, 1975,"
IEJ 25 (1975): 257-58
Three occupational strata belong to the Iron I period. In the two earliest strata, the
buildings conform to a simple plan and are not well-built. In the earliest level, storage
jars were found in situ, some with their shoulders or rims destroyed. A globular jug and
bronze implement were also recovered. This first phase is dated to the end of the 13th
century by the excavators.474
The second phase of the Iron I levels consists of four buildings. The outer walls
have two parallel rows of stones, while the inner walls consist of a single row of stones.
In one room, a large number of tools and storage containers with the stoppers still in them
was uncovered. The room also contained jugs, bowls, and Black-on-Red ware.475 Other
finds include an ivory pomegranate, olive pits, a basalt tripod mortar, and four clay
ovens. The finds from this second level have been dated to the first half of the 11th
The final phase of the Iron I levels dates to the latter half of the 11th century. A
small section with a floor was found in this level, upon which were pottery loom weights
and an Astarte plaque figurine. The plaque figurine is comparable to a find from Tell Abu
Hawam Stratum IV.477
Within the Iron II levels at Tel Shiqmona, there are five distinct strata. Three
levels were occupied prior to the end of the 9th century. The earliest level, Town A, was
destroyed in the 10th century. Town A is comprised of a casemate wall and four houses
with two streets. One of the buildings in this level clearly belongs to the courtyard design.
474 Elgavish, "Shiqmona, 1975," 258.
475 Ibid., 257-258. A store jar with a two line inscription written in red ink is also assigned to this level, but
later publications identify the inscription as a receipt of taxes paid to the king of Tyre just before the
conquest of Alexander the Great. See Joseph Elgavish, An Archaeological Trip into the Past of the City
Through Excavations at Shikmona (Haifa: The City Museum of Ancient Art, 1968), 8.
476 Ibid., 258.
477 Ibid., 257.
Cooking pots with engraved letters were found within the casemate wall, along with a
store jar bearing the painted inscription, lmlk’l. A large proportion of the ceramics in this
level were Black-on-Red ware.478
The next level, Town B, consisted of a large residential building destroyed in the
latter half of the 9th century. The building had a long central courtyard flanked by rows of
pillars and two rectangular store rooms. Finds from the rooms include a cache of
arrowheads and spearheads, a mushroom-lipped jug, and several sack-shaped store jars.
The center of the courtyard contained an oil press. Outside of the building, a flight of
stairs led to an upper story. The architecture of Town B was well preserved; the walls of
the building reaching the ceiling of the first floor.479
Town C had no fortifications and appears to have been destroyed in the mid-8th
century. Three oil presses were recovered from this level. They consisted of a stone
mortar, a stone drum, and a stone channel leading to a sunken storage jar. Numerous
terracotta figurines were recovered from this level, including a seated goddess, numerous
horsemen, and girls holding instruments or offerings.480
Among the more significant finds at Tel Shiqmona were numerous ceramic sherds
with 6’6’-dibromo indigo dye, also known as Phoenician purple.481 The sherds come
from a 9th century context. In addition to the presence of dyed sherds, harvested shells
were found outside the tell, indicating that purple dye was locally produced at some point
478 Ibid., 257.
481 Nira Karmon and Ehud Spanier, "Remains of a Purple Dye Industry Found at Tel Shiqmona," IEJ 38,
no. 184-186 (1988)
in the occupation of the site. Unfortunately, there were no markers for dating the period
of the shell harvesting.482
This survey of fourteen sites along the Levantine coast from Tel Dor to Tel Kazel in the
Iron I-IIA periods, provides a detailed look at the currently available data regarding
Phoenician territory and material culture. The finds from Tyre and Sarepta preserve
valuable information regarding the Phoenician heartland in the early Iron Age. Tell Kazel
provides insight into the northern reaches of Phoenician territory, from the turbulent Late
Bronze Age III to the Iron IIA period. Many of the sites in the south including Dor, Tell
Abu Hawam, and Tell Keisan also show signs of destruction at the end of the Late
Bronze Age, with notable changes in architecture or ceramics in the following period. In
order to further define both elements of change and aspects of Phoenician material
culture, the following section will examine key features commonly used to define
material culture. Specialized activities such as ashlar masonry, ceramics, art forms,
metallurgy, purple dye, and cremation burials will be examined below.
4.2. Key Features of Phoenician Material Culture:
4.2.1. Ashlar Masonry
In 1973, much attention was drawn to a portion of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem which
was supposedly built of Phoenician stone masonry.483 The attribution made by
Laperrousaz rested largely on the Ashlar bamah found at Tel Dan and theories that it was
482 Ibid., 185.
483 E.M. Laperrousaz, "Aprés le «Temple de Salomon» La bamah de Tel-Dan: L'Utilisation de Pierres à
Bossage Phénicien dans la Palestine Préexilique," Syria 59 (1982): 223-37.
built by Phoenician craftsman during the reign of Ahab.484 The question, however, is to
what extent ashlar masonry can be attributed strictly to Phoenician craftsmanship.
Numerous examples of ashlar masonry have been recovered in the Late Bronze Age
remains found at Ugarit, Kition, Enkomi, Maa, and other eastern Mediterranean sites485
Unlike the earlier examples of ashlar masonry found in Mycenae, Anatolia, and Egypt,
these Cypro-Levantine examples expanded ashlar use beyond cultic or burial structures.
At Tel Dor, a Bronze Age bay was excavated that was used from the 17th to the 12th
centuries BCE. In the 13th century, a new landing was built using ashlar blocks. In
addition to the landing, a plaza made of ashlars was found with pottery dating to the 12th-
11th centuries.486 A close parallel to the ashlar harbor at Dor is the Late Bronze Age
harbor at Kition.487 During the last two centuries of the second millennium, there is
evidence that the sea level rose at least a meter, leaving many of the Late Bronze Age
harbors unusable.488 However, use of ashlar blocks in harbor constructions reemerges in
the 9th-8th centuries at Arwad, Tyre, and Sidon, and in the 7th-6th century harbors at
Tabbat, Al-Hammam, and Atlit.489
What then can be said concerning the use of ashlar masonry in the Iron I period?
As demonstrated in the archaeological survey above, several coastal sites show the use of
484 Ibid., 224-225
485 Louise A. Hitchcock, "And Above Were Costly Stones, Hewn According to Measurement...:"
Documentation of Pre-Classical Ashlar Masonry in the East Mediterranean," in Metron: Measuring the
Aegean Bronze Age: Proceedings of the 9th Aegean Conference, New Haven, Yale University 18-21 April
2002 (ed. Karen Polinger Foster; Liege: University of Liege, Service d'histoire de l'art et d'archeologie de la
Grece antique, 2003), 257-65.
486 Avner Raban, "The Constructive Maritime Role of the Sea Peoples in the Levant," in Society and
Economy in the Eastern Mediterranean (eds. Michael Heltzer and Edward Lipinski; Leuven: Uitgeverij
Peters, 1988), 276-79.
487 Ibid., 281.
488 Avner Raban, "Phoenician Harbours in the Levant," Michmanim 11 (1997): 12.
489 Honor Frost, "The Offshore Island Harbour at Sidon and Other Phoenician sites in the Light of New
Dating Evidence," The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology and Underwater Exploration 2, no. 1
ashlar masonry combined with other types of construction. Within the Phoenician
heartland, ashlar masonry was used to make city walls at Sarepta in the last quarter of the
11th century to the early 10th century.490
Further north, at Tell Kazel, large ashlar stones were combined with natural
stones to build an impressive Late Bronze Age residence.491 In the final occupation of
this Late Bronze Age residence, rooms were partitioned with single course walls made of
ashlar stones and rubble. Unlike Sarepta, Tell Kazel appears to have been more harshly
affected by the geopolitical transitions that took place in the last century of the Late
Bronze Age. The excavators note that in a Hittite treaty with Shaushga-muwa, the last
king of the Amurru dynasty (ca. 1250-1230 BCE), Amurru was not allowed to trade with
the Assyrians or Ahhiyawa.492 The near absence of Cypriot and Mycenaean imports in
the Late Bronze/Iron I transition levels at Kazel are interpreted as evidence of this Hittite
mandate, which was a major factor in the decline of the site.
In the south, ashlar masonry appears at Tel Dor in a large public building and an
ashlar covered drain. Both structures were found in Stratum 10 dating to the mid-11th
century.493 At Tell Abu Hawam, ashlar blocks appear in late 10th-9th century structures. A
small number of ashlar blocks were found in combination with poorer construction
materials.494 A similar construction technique is evident in the 10th century fort at Horvat
Rosh Zayit. In Stratum IIb, ashlars were used as door frames. The rest of the walls of the
490 Pritchard, Recovering Sarepta..., 82.
491 Gubel, "Tell Kazel...," 437.
492 Though the exact location of Ahhiyawa is unknown, Leila Badre correlates this term to the general
Aegean world. For the Hittite treaty see Ahhiyawa Text 2 in Gary Beckman, Trevor Bryce, and Eric H.
Cline, The Ahhiyawa Texts (ed. Theodore J. Lewis; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011), 50-68.
493 Gilboa and Sharon, "Between the Carmel and the Sea,"
494 Balensi, Herrera, and Artzy, "Abu Hawam, Tell," 6.
fort were made of rubble stones.495 The combination of large ashlar blocks with smaller
rubble stones is called pier-and-rubble construction, and appears in the 11th century at
Tell Abu Hawam, the 11th century at Tell Keisan, the 9th century at Tyre, and the 8th
century at Beirut (Fig. 4.1). In the 10th century B.C.E. an ashlar chamber tomb is evident
at Tell Achzib, and is similar to a Late Bronze Age example known from Ugarit.496
Despite the superior strength and aesthetic value of ashlar masonry, the blocks are
costly to produce. For some areas along the coast, ashlar blocks continued in use into the
Iron I period despite the regional economic transitions that were taking place; the pier-
rubble technique likely was a compromise between economic and quality concerns.497 Tel
Dor, like Sarepta, appears to have avoided a prolonged period of economic depression,
based on the more extensive evidence of ashlar blocks. According to the architectural
remains of 11th century Tel Dor, ashlars continued to be used as elements of construction.
These elements are perhaps the result of the recycling of blocks produced in the wealthier
Late Bronze Age. By contrast, Tell Abu Hawam, Horvat Rosh Zayit, and Ahkziv do not
show evidence of Ashlar masonry until the 10th century, and only in limited applications.
By the 9th to 8th centuries, there is evidence of newly built harbors with impressive ashlar
constructions. These harbors are a physical attestation to the wealth of these Phoenician
maritime centers. The appearance of ashlar masonry in early Iron Age coastal contexts is
likely due to a preference for this Late Bronze Age architectural style, rather than being a
new innovation. The gradual increase in ashlar masonry through the late Iron I to the
495 Gal and Alexandre, Horbat Rosh Zayit, 16.
496 Mazar, The Phoenician Family Tomb N.1..., 15.
497 At Tel Kazel and Tell Keisan, the Late Bronze Age tradition of building with mudbricks continued into
Iron Age levels, but at a reduced quality. At Tell Keisan, mudbrick was replaced by pier-rubble
construction in the more affluent 11th century. At Tel Dor, a massive mudbrick storage building was built in
the 11th century. This impressive structure does not conform to the architectural trend of 11th century sites
presented in this study.
incredible abundance seen in the late 9th century should be seen as a result of several
factors, including economic wealth, access to metal tools, and the proliferation of this
luxury architecture by Phoenician craftsman.
Ceramics are the most ubiquitous evidence found in any archeological excavation.
Therefore, most archeological publications focus heavily on the ceramic evidence. The
following section provides an overview of those pottery forms which are associated with
Phoenician manufacture. Distribution, as well as the form and function of various
ceramic types, provide insight into Phoenician economic and cultural activity.
220.127.116.11. Phoenician Bichrome Ware.
Perhaps the most prominent Phoenician pottery type is Phoenician bichrome ware. The
characteristics of this style are thin black lines enclosing a wide red band. Also common
are cross hatched lozenges, and stars or ribbons on handles or shoulders (Fig 4.2).498 The
ongoing research and publication of pottery assemblages at Tel Dor, by archaeologist
Ayelet Gilboa, has expanded our understanding of standard Phoenician bichrome ware.
Gilboa cites the earliest appearance of Phoenician bichrome ware at Tel Dor in the Iron
IB stratum (1050-980 B.C.E.).499 Other examples of this early bichrome stage have been
found at Phoenician sites including Tyre Stratum XIII/1, Sarepta Stratum II/Y, Joya,
Qraye, and Tell Keisan 9a-b.500 Outside of Phoenician territory, this early form of
Phoenician bichrome occurs in small quantities at sites in the Jezreel valley, Beth Shean
498 Gilboa, "The Dynamics of Phoenician Bichrome Pottery: A View from Tel Dor," 5.
499 Ibid., 2.
500 Bikai, The Pottery of Tyre, pl. 33:22; Anderson, Sarepta I..., pl. 31:10; Susannah Vibert Chapman, "A
Catalogue of Iron Age Pottery from the Cemeteries of Khirbet Silm, Joya, Qraye, and Qasmeieh of South
Lebanon: With a Note on the Iron Age Pottery of the American University Museum, Beirut," Ber 21
(1972): fig. 3:191, 13: 272.
valley, Galilee, Dan, and rarely in Philistia.501 In the early stage of development, only
flasks, jugs, and strainer-spouted jugs were painted in the bichrome style. Gilboa argues
that this style was adopted from Cyprus for use on commercial vessels.502 In the Iron IIA
period, the bichrome style expands to include many other types of vessels: chalices,
bowls, jars, and eventually burial urns; this demonstrates a shift from strictly commercial
forms to a cultural affiliation with this style.503 A clear example of ethnic Phoenician
presence at sites south of the Lebanese mountain range is evident in the burial remains
recovered at Ahkziv. Numerous cremation urns painted in bichrome style attest to the
uniquely Phoenician-type burial practices found at this site.504 The largest assemblage of
similar type appears at Tyre Al-Bass. Other smaller sites in the immediate vicinity of
Tyre also show similar style bichrome vessels used in cremation burial practices.505
18.104.22.168 Black-on-Red Ware.
Another important ceramic style attributed to Phoenician manufacture is the Cypro-
Phoenician style, or, the more descriptive designation, Black-on-Red (BoR.)506 Most
forms in this style are delicate and decorated with geometric designs. Early forms of this
style can be found in Iron IIA contexts at Hazor, Megiddo, Horvat Rosh Zayit, Tell
Keisan, Tel Mevorakh, Tel Michal, Tel Qiri, Tell Abu Hawam, and Tell el-Far’ah.507 The
two main forms associated with this style are juglets/jugs, likely used to carry fine
501 See Section 5.4.4. and Gilboa, "The Dynamics of Phoenician Bichrome Pottery: A View from Tel Dor,"
502 Ibid., 5-12.
503 Ibid., 12-16.
504 Eilat Mazar, "Achziv Cemeteries: Buried Treasure From Israel's Neighbor," BAR 36, no. 5 (2010): 42-
505 Aubet, "Between the Carmel and the Sea," 145.
506 Schreiber, The Cypro-Phoenician Pottery of the Iron Age, xix.
507 Ibid., 47.
oils/perfumes, and large bowls (Fig. 4.3).508 The evidence of this pottery style at tombs in
Cyprus points to commercial exchanges between Cyprus and Phoenicia. While there is
some debate about the origin of this style, the recent trend is to view these objects as
In an attempt to determine whether Phoenicians distributed this pottery type,
Nicola Schreiber surveyed sites with both Phoenician bichrome and BoR ware. She
concludes that Cyprus was responsible for disseminating BoR, based on the limited
distribution of bichrome ware beyond Phoenician sites and the minimal appearance of
BoR in Phoenician territory.510 Since BoR vessels are made of finely-levigated clay, there
is no conclusive petrographic or elemental evidence to establish the origin of these
vessels.511 However, Schreiber’s conclusion does not take into account the difference in
distribution between bowls and jugs. As noted by Zvi Gal, Gerstad considered BoR
bowls to be entirely Cypriot, based on their form, which has no early parallels in the
Levantine ceramic tradition. Unlike BoR jugs and juglets, BoR bowls appear in large
concentrations along the Carmel coast, the Akko plain, Lebanon, and a large assemblage
at Tell Kazel.512 These bowls provide specific evidence of the continuation of 11th
century economic exchanges between Cyprus and the northern Levantine coast in the 10th
508 Ibid., 67.
509 Maria Iacouvou, "Review: Phoenicia and Cyprus in the First Millennium B.C.: Two Distinct Cultures in
Search of Their Distinct Archaeologies," BASOR 336 (2004): 61-66; Gilboa and Sharon, "Between the
Carmel and the Sea," 161; Gal and Alexandre, Horbat Rosh Zayit, 69-70.
510 Schreiber, The Cypro-Phoenician Pottery of the Iron Age, 48-51.
511 Ibid., 234-239.
512 Ibid., 34.
22.214.171.124. Red-Slipped Ware.
Another ware associated with Phoenician manufacture is Red-Slipped Ware (RSW) thin-
walled bowls. These vessels formerly labeled ‘Samaria Ware Bowls,’ were first
discovered at excavations in Samaria.513 Patricia Bikai was one of the first to suggest that
these vessels were of Phoenician manufacture, based on hundreds of sherds found at
Tyre.514 In the following decades other studies have attributed these bowls along with
thicker forms to Phoenician manufacture as well (Fig. 4.4).515 A recent petrographic
study by Caroline Aznar confirmed that these vessels, excepting those at Hazor, were
manufactured on the Lebanese coast rather than inland.516 The bowls made in the RSW
style have extremely thin walls 2-3mm in thickness with beautifully burnished red slip.
These luxury vessels appear to be a ceramic version of Phoenician metal bowls.517 The
distribution of this ware beyond the northern coastal region to Israelite territory provides
evidence of developing market exchanges between these two regions. In the 9th century
B.C.E., the ware appears in Phoenician territory and Israelite centers of power, including
Samaria, and Tel el-Fa’rah. In the mid-8th century, these types of vessels were more
broadly distributed and appear throughout Israelite and Philistine territories.518 In the
present study, the presence of RSW thin-walled bowls in 9th century contexts at Tel Dan
raises questions regarding Phoenician presence at this Israelite site.
513 J.W. Crowfoot, G.M. Crowfoot, and K. M. Kenyon, The Objects From Samaria (London: Palestine
Exploration Fund, 1957), 155-59.
514 Bikai, The Pottery of Tyre, 26.
515 Amihai Mazar, Archaeology of the Land of the Bible 10,000-586 B.C.E. (New York: Doubleday, 1990),
508; Gabriel Barkay, "The Iron Age II-III " in The Archaeology of Ancient Israel (ed. Amnon Ben-Tor;
New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), 326.
516 Carolina Aznar, "Exchange Networks in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age II: A Study of Pottery
Origin and Distribution" (Ph. D. Dissertation, Harvard, 2005),170-76.
517 Anderson, Sarepta I..., 163-64.
518 Aznar, "Exchange Networks...," 241-42.
126.96.36.199. Store Jars:
Store jars are another vessel form that can be attributed to Phoenician manufacture. In
Caroline Aznar’s petrographic analysis of Iron II store jars, she identifies a conical
storage jar, Type 1b, as a 10th century Phoenician form found primarily in the north at
Tell Abu Hawam, Tell Keisan, ʽAfula, Meggido, and in abundance at Tyre. This form’s
limited distribution seems to indicate that long distance food exchange was not a primary
focus of Phoenician trade in this period.519 By contrast the, ‘cylindrical jar family’ Type
9 has a diversity of forms that all come from Phoenicia. This form of vessel was widely
distributed in the 10th century through the 7th centuries B.C.E. 800 of these type of jars
were found in a shipwreck off the coast of Ashkelon, and point to wine as the primary
food stuff exchanged in these vessels.520 While the ubiquitous presence of this form is
useful in discussions of Phoenician mercantile exchanges it is not useful for defining
regions under Phoenician political control.
Bell, in her examination of economic exchanges along the Levintine coast,
identifies an assemblage of Canaanite store jars found on Cyprus at Palaepaphos-Skales
in Iron IA levels, which may have come from Tyre or Sarepta.521 These store jars were
likely used to transport wine, oil, or other agricultural products.
188.8.131.52. Summary of Ceramic Evidence.
In summary, the archeological data from sites along the Lebanese littoral provide
evidence of continuity in ceramic tradition, especially at Sarepta. In the case of Tel Dor,
much of the ceramic evidence points to a continuation of Late Bronze Age local practice
519 Ibid., 44-48.
520 Robert D. Ballard, et al., "Iron Age Shipwrecks in Deep Water off Ashkelon, Israel," American Journal
of Archaeology 106, no. 2 (2002): 151-68.
521 Bell, "The Influence of Economic Factors ...," 201-03.
in the Iron IA period. The few imports from The Iron IA period at Tel Dor include Syro-
Cilician drinking vessels and some Cypriot style pithoi (Fig. 4.5). At Tell Keisan,
Sarepta, Tyre, and Tell Abu Hawam, there is a mixture of Mycenaean and Cypriot
ceramics, which are designated Levanto-Mycenaean ware. Following the decline of the
Late Bronze age empires, coastal cities in the Levant preserved many Late Bronze Age
traditions well into the Iron I period. By the Iron IB period, many sites regained
economic strength through increased ties with Cyprus. In the eleventh century, Cypro-
Geometric ware is found in abundance at Tyre, Keisan, Tell Abu Hawam, Shiqmona, Tel
Dor, and to a lesser extent Sarepta.522 By the 10th century under the continued influence
of Cyprus, Phoenician ceramic forms emerge. Although Phoenician Bichrome is present
in earlier levels, it is not until the end of the 10th century that it appears on cremation urns
used in burial practices. From the late 10th through 7th centuries large numbers of
bichrome cremation urns appear at Phoenician sites in the immediate vicinity of Tyre,
including Tyre Al-Bass, Rachidiyeh, Qrayeh, Qasmieh, Khirbet Silm, Joya, Qana, and the
more remote territory of Ahkziv.523 Also present at sites with large concentrations of
Phoenician material culture are Black-on-Red bowls. These bowls demonstrate continued
exchanges in the 10th century between Cyprus, and the Phoenician sites of Tyre, Sarepta,
and Horvat Rosh Zayit.524 The presence of Black-on-Red bowls is also evident at Tell
Kazel in the 9th century B.C.E.525
522 Bikai, The Pottery of Tyre, 57; Humbert, "Recent Travaux a Tell Keisan (1979-1980)," 392-97; Balensi,
Herrera, and Artzy, "Abu Hawam, Tell," 11; Gilboa and Sharon, "Between the Carmel and the Sea," 158-
59; Elgavish, "Tel Shiqmona," 1374.
523 Aubet, "Between the Carmel and the Sea," 145.
524 Bikai, The Pottery of Tyre, 57; Anderson, Sarepta I..., 278; Gal and Alexandre, Horbat Rosh Zayit, 68-
525 Badre, "Tell Kazel, Syria...," 112-13.
In conclusion, the ceramic evidence suggests that the transformation from the
Late Bronze Age Canaanite culture to the Iron Age Phoenician culture was largely
influenced by exchanges that took place between Cyprus and maritime ports along the
northern Levantine coast. The primary vessels that have been distinguished as belonging
to a Cypriot tradition are painted wares and some large pithoi. Pithoi appear to be one of
the vessels used in market exchanges in the early Iron Age, as demonstrated by studies on
collared rim vessels found further inland.526 The use and development of painted wares
along the Phoenician coast in the Iron I-IIA period, point not only to economic
exchanges, but also a trend to adopt and adapt Cypriot style into the indigenous ceramic
tradition of the Lebanese coast.
The material remains of various art objects associated with Phoenician production
provides yet another important element in defining Phoenician material culture. Carved
ivories, jewelry, masks, figurines, stamp seals, and amulets are among the varied items
that have been studied. The majority of studies in this field focus on objects attributed to
Phoenician manufacture, which were found outside of the Phoenician heartland: carved
ivories, bronze bowls, jewelry, scarabs and amulets, terracotta figures and masks, statues,
stelae, and glass.527 Much of this material has been recovered from excavations made
throughout the western Mediterranean at sites colonized by the Phoenicians in the Iron
526 J. Yellin and J. Gunneweg, "Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis and the Origin of Iron Age I
Collared-Rim Jars and Pithoi from Tel Dan," AASOR 49 (1989): 133-41; D. Wengrow, "Egyptian
Taskmasters and Heavy Burdens: Highland Exploration and the Collared-Rim Pithos of the Bronze/Iron
Age Levant," Oxford Journal of Archaeology 15, no. 3 (1996): 307-26.
527 For a nice pictorial survey of many of these types of vessels, see Sabatino Moscati, ed., The Phoenicians
(New York: Abbeville Press, 1988), 284-491.
In an attempt to address the emergence of Phoenician artistic style, Glenn Markoe
examined various types of evidence from the Late Bronze Age. He notes that ivory work
from Kamid el-Loz and Ras Shamra show, a high degree of New Kingdom Egyptian
influence.528 Based on LB II evidence from Meggido, Lachish, and the Ahiram
Sarcophogus, he suggests that Egyptian style became less influential in the Iron I period
and was replaced by Syrian and Aegean influence.529 In the Iron I-IIA periods, Markoe
focuses almost exclusively on terracotta masks found at Kition, Enkomi, Tyre, Sarepta,
Ahkziv, and Khaldeh. From these examples he concludes that Cypriot masks furnished
the prototypes for later Phoenician masks.530 Beyond the terracotta masks and the Ahiram
sarcophagus, Markoe provides no other Iron I examples of Phoenician craftsmanship.
Although Markoe’s conclusions rely on a very limited body of artistic evidence, the
trends he identifies reflect what is known about the geopolitical changes that occur in the
Levant during the Iron I period, namely, an increase in Syrian or Aegean influence, first
noticeable in the earliest part of the Iron Age.531 Secondly, Cyprus plays an important
role in the economic and cultural changes that occurred at coastal sites during the 11th-
10th centuries B.C.E..
184.108.40.206. Ivory and Bone Objects:
Carved ivories have been a dominant focus in discussions of Phoenician artistic style due
to the large number of examples found in the Levant. Unfortunately, most of the finds
come from sites outside of Phoenician territory, such as Alalakh, Lachish, Meggido, and
Ugarit in the Late Bronze Age, and Arslan Tash, Khorsabad, Nimrud, Samaria and
528 Glenn Markoe, "The Emergence of Phoenician Art," BASOR 279 (1990): 18.
529 Ibid., 23.
530 Ibid., 14-16.
531 See especially Sections 4.1.7. and 4.1.9.
Zinjirli in the Iron II period. Many of these works preserve a combination of stylistic
elements that point to the Phoenician use of Egyptian, Mycenaean, and Hittite, artistic
style. In some cases, the items are part of a hoard collected by the Assyrians as either
tribute or booty. It is from these dispersed materials that many attempts have been made
to reconstruct the syntax of Phoenician artistic style.532 The problem with such
reconstructions lies in the assumptions made about their origin of manufacture. Without
archeological examples of Phoenician workshops and their products, there is no primary
evidence to validate these proposals.
There are, however, some fragmentary remains of ivory and bone work from early
Iron Age northern coastal sites that can inform us about developments in Phoenician
artistic style in the early Iron Age. At Tyre in Stratum XIV, dated to the Iron IA period, a
small ivory ornament in the shape of a three-dimensional lotus was recovered. Nearly
identical ornaments were found at Megiddo belonging to the mid 14th through 12th
centuries.533 In the following periods at Tyre, ivory whorls and inlay fragments are
attested. At Sarepta, most of the carved ivory belongs to level III (the 14th-13th centuries)
with no significant pieces from the early Iron Age levels.534 One of the most notable Late
Bronze Age fragments is a plaque of a woman’s head wearing a heavy wig, which closely
532 Irene J. Winter, "Carved Ivory Furniture Panels from Nimrud: A Coherent Subgroup of the North Syrian
Style," Metropolitan Museum Journal 11 (1976): 1-22; Shelby Brown, "Perspectives on Phoenician Art,"
BA 55, no. 1 (1992): 6-24; Irene J. Winter, "Phoenician and North Syrian Ivory Carving in Historical
Context: Questions of Style and Distribution," Iraq 38, no. 1 (1976); Richard David Barnett, Ancient
Ivories in the Middle East (Jerusalem: The Hebrew University, 1982)
533 Bikai, The Pottery of Tyre, Pl. XXXVIII.
534 James B. Pritchard, Sarepta IV: Objects from Area II, X (Beirut: Publications de l'Université Libanaise,
resembles an ivory from Nimrud dated to the 8th century.535 These two pieces
demonstrate a degree of continuity in artistic style and motif over four centuries.
Other coastal sites south of the central Phoenician region provide evidence of
bone and ivory objects, which date to the Iron I period. At Tell Keisan, several small
ivory fragments were recovered from 11th century strata. An ivory handle decorated with
incised chevrons and cross-hatches is the only decorated item.536 The artistic style of this
handle mirrors the patterns found in contemporary bichrome decoration, which is a result
of Cypriot artistic influence. At Horvat Rosh Zayit, several bone rods were uncovered in
various rooms of the fort. Among the finds are a rod with a pomegranate head and several
handles, one of which is decorated with concentric circles. At Ahkziv, numerous bone
and ivory inlays as well as and staff heads were found in the 10th-9th century phase of a
tomb complex. Most of these objects are devoid of decoration, save a pomegranate or
poppy-shaped object.537 Though little information can be obtained regarding artistic style
from the Ahkziv evidence, it is noteworthy that the highest concentration of ivory goods
appears in the earliest levels of the tomb.538 The high concentration in the 10-9th centuries
of ivory grave goods are devoid of ornamentation and artistry, which is typically
associated with Phoenician production. These examples demonstrate how limited the data
is regarding carved ivories in the Iron I period.
220.127.116.11. Small Art Objects: Amulets, Scarabs, and Seals:
One very important body of artistic evidence not covered by Markoe’s study consists of
various small art objects, including amulets, scarabs, and seals (Fig. 4.6). In 1993, Eric
535 Moscati, ed., The Phoenicians, 408,10.
536 Briend and Humbert, Tell Keisan, Pl. 101.
537 Mazar, The Phoenician Family Tomb N.1..., 132.
538 Ibid., 131.
Gubel published a paper on the iconography of Phoenician seals which identified
elements of Phoenician artistic style.539 Although Gubel’s study is invaluable, many of its
proposals were based on unprovenanced seals. Fortunately, the publication of seals found
in secure contexts at sites closely associated with Phoenician culture, such as Achzib,
Tell Abu Hawam, Tel Dor, Tell Keisan, Horvat Rosh Zayit, Tyre and Sarepta, provides a
body of evidence against which Gubel’s study can be evaluated.540 The following table
lists the number of Iron I-IIA seals found in excavations at coastal sites.
Table. 18.104.22.168. Iron I-IIA Stamp Seals.
Site Seals Publication
Tyre 4 Bikai 1978, Pl. LXXV
Tyre Al-Bass c. 60 Aubet 2010, p. 149 (Forthcoming)
Sarepta 3 Pritchard 1988, pp. 73-74 (undated)
Akko 147 Keel 1997, pp. 20-77
Achzib 90 Keel 199