Iron IIA slag-tempered pottery in the Negev Highlands, Israel

Mario A.S. Martin, Adi Eliyahu-Behar, Michael Anenburg, Yuval Goren, Israel Finkelstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article presents results of a petrographic investigation of pottery from Iron IIA settlements in the Negev Highlands in southern Israel. It focuses on a group of almost exclusively handmade wares that are tempered with crushed slag. The polarizing and electron microscopes explicitly identify these inclusions as copper smelting slag. Based on the slag as well as certain rock inclusions, the slag-tempered wares can be sourced to the copper districts in the Wadi Arabah, and hence for the first time provide a link between the Negev Highlands and the Arabah copper production centers in the period under review. More specifically, they demonstrate direct involvement of at least part of the pastoral-nomadic Negev Highlands population in the copper extraction system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3777-3792
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the European Research Council under the European Community's Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007–2013)/ERC grant agreement no. 229418 . We would like to thank the Israel Antiquities Authority for permission to sample the Negev Highlands pottery. Special thanks go to Lily Singer-Avitz, Erez Ben-Yosef, Mark Iserlis, Myrna Pollak and Na‘ama Yahalom-Mack (Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, Israel); Steven Weiner and Ruth Shahack-Gross (Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel); Yoav Avni, Rani Calvo, Naomi Porat and Amir Sandler (Geological Survey Israel); Yaron Katzir (Geological and Environmental Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel); Anat Cohen-Weinberger (Israel Antiquities Authority); and David Ben-Shlomo (Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel). All of them contributed to this paper on various levels. Ceramic thin sections were prepared in the Laboratory for Comparative Microarchaeology at Tel Aviv University and in the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science. Samples examined in the reflected light and scanning electron microscopes were prepared at the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science.


  • Copper smelting slag
  • Faynan
  • Iron IIA
  • Negebite pottery
  • Negev Highlands
  • Slag-tempered pottery
  • Wadi Arabah

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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