Sharya Fridman, Bar-Ilan University

Chalk-Stone Vessels in the Southern Golan: Archaeological, Historical and Cultural Contexts

It has long been accepted in archaeological research that chalk (soft limestone) vessels provide evidence of the Jewish ethnic identity of a site’s population. The use of these vessels has been dated mainly from the Early Roman period through the Bar-Kokhba Revolt. During several decades of archaeological surveys and excavations in the southern Golan, virtually no evidence of chalk vessels had been found, even though literary sources and the Reḥov inscription attest to the presence of Jewish communities in this region in the Roman period.

In a systematic survey of sites in the southern Golan with Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine remains, we recovered over 200 fragments of chalk-stone vessels from 12 sites. In a test excavation at one of these sites, evidence of chalk-stone vessel production was found, including scores of stone cores remaining from the manufacturing process. This is the first such workshop to be found in the Golan and the only one discovered beyond Judaea and the Galilee.

  • A selection of chalk-stone vessel fragments from the Southern Golan Survey

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