Personal ornaments at the Nahal Mishmar Cave of the Treasure

Daniella E. Bar-Yosef Mayer, Naomi Porat, Uri Davidovich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The Chalcolithic period in the southern Levant (ca. 4500-3800 B.C.E.) witnessed a few major social, economic, and cultural developments in comparison to preceding Neolithic cultures (e.g. Rowan and Golden 2009). Sedentary populations increased greatly and settlements flourished in areas previously only sparsely occupied, including the northern Negev and the lower Jordan valley, the latter housing the type-site of Teleilat Ghassul, after which the cultural horizon Ghassulian is named. Subsistence of permanent villages was based on intensified agricultural production, including horticulture and animal husbandry, the latter of which were exploited not only for flesh, but also for secondary products, such as milk and hair. Increased specialization is attested in pottery and lithic production, stone working, and ivory carving. Innovation is observed in a large variety of material spheres and in artistic representations with metallurgy being the most innovative of all crafts (Golden 2008). Late Chalcolithic metallurgy became world-renowned in 1961 due to the discovery of a hoard containing over 400 objects, inside a natural cave in Nahal Mishmar, a dry canyon in the Judean Desert (Bar-Adon 1980; figs. 1 and 2). While the hoard from the "Cave of the Treasure," as it came to be known, was the focus of numerous investigations pertaining to its metallurgic technology, artistic milieu, and socio-cultural attribution (Sebanne et al. 2014 and references therein; Goren's article in this issue); other artifactual categories found in the cave, as well as the cave's environment and stratigraphy, were only briefly discussed in the excavation report (Bar-Adon 1980).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-273
Number of pages7
JournalNear Eastern Archaeology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes

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© 2014, American Schools of Oriental Research 1. All rights reserved.


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