Two distinct archaeological phenomena appeared between the middle of the second century BCE and the middle of the first century: the Hasmonean folded wheel-made lamp and the standing pit burial cave. Following an examination of their dating, distribution, and social significance we suggest that this material culture was characteristic of the Jews in Judaea during this time and that it reflects the creation of an ethnic identity. The fact that the Hasmonean folded wheel-made lamp and the standing pit burial cave were typical of Jews in Judea indicates that they were ethnic features of Jewish society. By these means the Jews emphasized their dissimilarity from the rest of the population. The archaic appearance of the lamps and the burial caves, which replicates the cultural characteristics of the Kingdom of Judah during the monarchic/first Temple period, indicates that Jewish society in the Hasmonean period sought to legitimize its existence through the use of its former culture and memory.
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© 2020, © Palestine Exploration Fund 2020.
- Judean identity
- Oil lamps
- burial caves
- social archaeology