An integrated approach to reconstructing primary activities from pit deposits: iron smithing and other activities at Tel Dor under Neo-Assyrian domination

Adi Eliyahu-Behar, Sana Shilstein, Noa Raban-Gerstel, Yuval Goren, Ayelet Gilboa, Ilan Sharon, Steve Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Secondary pit deposits in historical occupations of Near Eastern mounds are usually regarded as uninteresting and are seldom analyzed. We used an integrated approach to study all the artifacts as well as the sediments in a pit at Tel Dor, on Israel's Carmel coast, dating to the 7th c. BCE - a period when the site served as an Assyrian administrative center. This pit was unusually large, had a peculiar ceramic assemblage, and many macroscopic metallurgical wastes. A detailed excavation and analysis revealed that the pit served intermittently as a waste disposal site for an iron smithy and for pottery that was presumably involved in maritime trading. On two occasions the area was also used for animal penning. Despite the obvious importance of the iron industry to the Neo-Assyrian Empire, actual workshops are rare in its archaeological record. Hence the new information regarding an Iron Age iron smithy in the southern Levant contributes to the study of this industry, and also to the history of Dor in this period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2895-2908
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Until 2000 the Tel Dor excavations were directed by Ephraim Stern of the Hebrew University. It is now conducted by Sharon and Gilboa, on behalf of the Hebrew University, the University of Haifa, and the Israel Exploration Society. It is supported by the Berman Foundation for Biblical Archaeology, the Goldhirsh Foundation and anonymous donors. The field supervisors under whom the pit was excavated were Nancy Heiderbrecht (1988–1989), Mindi Goldin and Robyn Talman (1993), JoBeth Powell (1994), Julia Shtutina (1995), Benni Har-Even (1995–1996), Heidi Koenig (1999), Yiftah Shalev (2000), Aaron Brody and Willem Boshoff (2004), and Adi Eliyahu Behar (2005–2006). We thank Norma Franklin for discussions of Schumacher's' stratigraphy at Megiddo and Bronwen Manning for researching the stratigraphy of the pit. The line-drawings of the potsherds in Fig. 5 a were generated by Avshalom Karasik with software developed by him, from 3D images of the pottery. Talia Goldman and Yiftah Shalev helped with computer graphics. We thank the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science members and students for their help in the excavation of the 2005 season and for financial support. We thank two anonymous reviewers and the editor for their valuable input.


  • FTIR
  • ICP
  • Iron Age
  • Iron smithy
  • Neo-Assyrian occupation
  • Petrography
  • Phoenician commercial jars
  • Pit
  • Site formation processes
  • Tel Dor
  • XRF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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