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HOUSES, CRAFT ACTIVITIES AND FOOD STORAGE DURING THE IRON AGE


 

During the first half of the first millennium BC, Mishrifeh lost the role of local city-state which it had during the Late Bronze Age and probably became the main regional administrative and political centre in the south-eastern part of the territory of the Aramaean kingdom of Hamath.

 

Several residential quarters were brought to light at the site. In Operation K, a large dwelling with several rooms, including also a workshop for metallurgy and jewellery production as well as a room for domestic cult was uncovered. In the southern part of the house, which covered an area of 110 square meters, the presence of an oven associated with a bronze crucible, scraps of bronze metal, beads of both glass-paste and stone, basalt tools and a bone spatula, clearly indicate that the room where they were found was used for metallurgical production and jewel manufacture.

 

An extensive quarter devoted to the processing of raw materials, as well as production and craft activities, was built on the ruins of the abandoned Royal Palace. The approximately circular artisans’ quarter, which consisted of several single-roomed buildings and a larger multi-roomed one, was enclosed by a boundary wall. Textile production was the main manufacturing activity carried out in the northern part of the complex and is well documented by the retrieval of around 140 clay bobbins, probably weights used on vertical looms, and conical loom weights and spinning whorls. In the same building numerous large jars were found. These were originally placed against the walls of two rooms and associated with various pottery vessels, such as fruit-stands and bowls, and objects in stone and bone, such as conical spindle whorls and bone spatulas and combs for wool carding and weaving. The floor of one of the rooms was plastered with waterproof mortar and featured a central basin. In this room, lumps of white chalky material and red ochre, probably used for colouring cloth, were found inside several jars.

 

The southern sector of the crafts quarter yielded a notable variety of basalt millstones, found next to work platforms and benches and associated with pestles, mortars and jars sunk into floors and trodden surfaces. Food and agricultural products were processed here (mainly barley, wheat, olives and grapes, with some lentils) and subsequently stored in two large silos.

 

At the same time, on the summit of the acropolis, intensive food storage activity took place in more than a hundred storage pits of different size and large and small multi-roomed granaries.

 

These two large areas specialised in the manufacture of dyed textiles, the warehousing of agricultural produce and its transformation into food on a non-domestic scale, were probably controlled by the nearby administrative building of Operation C.

 

 




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