Journal article

The taphonomy and preservation of wood and dung ashes found in archaeological cooking installations: case studies from Iron Age Israel

Shira Gur-Arieh, Ruth Shahack-Gross, Aren M Maeir, Gunnar Lehmann, Louise A Hitchcock, Elisabetta Boaretto



Cooking installations are among the most abundant features in Bronze and Iron Age archaeological sites in the southern Levant, yet until now their study has been mostly descriptive. We present a study of 11 purported archaeological cooking installations from three different Bronze and Iron Age sites in Israel in which we deployed a variety of microarchaeological techniques. We provide direct physical evidence, based on Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy demonstrating that the archaeological installations were operated with temperatures as high as 900°C. Using this technique we also demonstrate that all the mud-constructed installations studied by us were internally-fueled and the..

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Awarded by F.I.R.S.T.

Awarded by German-Israel Foundation for Research and Development

Awarded by Australian Research Council

Awarded by Focal Initiatives in Research in Science and Technology F.I.R.S.T.

Funding Acknowledgements

This work forms a part of the PhD dissertation of S. Gur-Arieh, Bar-Ilan University. We thank the directors and staff of the three sites studied here, whose help was central in this study: Alexander Zuckerman, Amit Dagan, Brent Davis, Josephine Verduci, Dean Smith and Shira Kisos, from the Tell es-Safi/Gath excavation; Israel Finkelstein, Eran Arie, Rob Homsher, Assaf Kleimann and Ma'ayan Mor from the Megiddo Expedition; Steve Rosen and staff members of the Qubur el-Walaydah excavation. The study was supported by the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science (Weizmann Institute), grants from the Israel Science Foundation, Focal Initiatives in Research in Science and Technology F.I.R.S.T. Grant no. 527/09 to R. Shahack-Gross and F.I.R.S.T. Grant no. 32/11 to A. Maeir, E. Weiss and L. Horwitz, as well as the German-Israel Foundation for Research and Development (Grant # 1080-132.4/2009 to A. Maeir and J. Maran), the Institute for Aegean Prehistory and the University of Melbourne (A. Maeir and L.A. Hitchcock), and the Australian Research Council (DP1093713 to LA. Hitchcock and A. Maeir).