Early Bronze Age pebble installations from Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel: evidence for their function and utilization

Adi Eliyahu-Behar, Itzick Shai, Shira Gur-Arieh, Suembikya Frumin, Shira Albaz, Ehud Weiss, Francesca Manclossi, Steve Rosen, Tina L. Greenfield, Haskel J. Greenfield, Aren M. Maeir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Pebble stone installations are commonly found at various Early Bronze Age sites in the southern Levant. However, their function is often assumed or unknown. Thirteen circular pebble installations were found scattered throughout a residential neighbourhood dating to the Early Bronze Age III at Tell es-Safi/Gath. Five such installations were recently studied by implementing an integrated micro-archaeological approach by which all micro- and macro-artefacts were analysed using various analytical techniques. Based on the analysis of ash-micro remains identified in the sediments, associated plant remains, flint and pottery, we suggest that these installations were used for food-processing, cooking and/or other domestic low-heat tasks. The installations first appear at Tell es-Safi/Gath during the Early Bronze Age III, and seem to disappear during later periods. The functional roles of these installations are discussed in comparison to finds from other Early Bronze Age sites, and of other food preparation traditions known from other periods and cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-63
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The excavations of the Early Bronze Age remains at Tell es-Safi/Gath, a component of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project, are administratively supported and/or funded by many institutions and sources including: Bar-Ilan University (the Kushitzky Fund; Ackerman Family grant), the University of Manitoba, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (grants # 410-2009-1303 to H. GREENFIELD and # 895-2011-1005 to H. GREENFIELD and A. MAEIR), St. Paul's College (University of Manitoba), the Jewish and Catholic Foundations of Manitoba, and several private donors. We would like to thank the devoted professional staff and team of the project for their work in the field and in post-excavation processing.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © Council for British Research in the Levant 2017.


  • Early Bronze Age
  • cooking
  • micro-remains
  • pebble installations
  • southern Levant


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