The Dynamics of Phoenician Bichrome Pottery: A View from Tel Dor

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Phoenician Bichrome pottery has long been considered one of the most conspicuous and early manifestations of the elusive "incipient Phoenician culture." To date, the group has been considered mainly from chrono-typological and technological aspects. The Tel Dor excavations have produced well-stratified deposits of the early Iron Age, including numerous Phoenician Bichrome vessels, many in primary deposition. These, calibrated with long-known finds from other sites in Phoenicia, provide an opportunity to reconsider the group. An examination of the vessels in the context of the general pottery production of the region reveals that the very fact that they were decorated was an anomaly, suggesting a specific function for this decoration. Stylistic analysis indicates that though vessel shapes are rooted in Canaanite potting tradition, the decorative motifs and syntax of decoration are not. Also, it is obvious that at different times the Bichrome groups comprised different types of vessels, suggesting an evolution of the function of style. The relations between the Phoenician coast and Cyprus in the early Iron Age-for which Dor provides ample evidence-are a closely related phenomenon and are commented upon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalBulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
StatePublished - 1999


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