The pottery of tel esur, a rural canaanite late bronze age site on the via maris

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Tel Esur is identifiable with D-f-tj (Djefty), mentioned by Thutmose III in his description of his march to Megiddo through the ʿAruna Pass. Recent excavations provide the first unequivocal indication that the site was inhabited during the Late Bronze Age as a farm/hamlet, perhaps also a waystation. The main architectural feature is a large partially-excavated structure, whose contents—mainly pottery—were well preserved by a destruction level. We propose that the destruction assemblage dates around the mid-14th century b.c.e. and that the structure was built around 1400 b.c.e., thus somewhat later than Thutmose III’s famed first campaign. Since pottery of this period is known primarily from large/central sites, Tel Esur offers an exceptional glimpse into a 14th century b.c.e. assemblage from the rural Canaanite domain. Currently, it is also the only small site excavated along the ʿAruna Pass between Megiddo and the Sharon, inter alia offering insights about this stretch of the Via Maris during the Late Bronze Age. This is the first synthesis of Tel Esur during this period. We focus on typo-chronology, and on the main characteristics of the ceramic assemblage, including unique phenomena such as storage in Cypriot-Style pithoi and Egyptianizing pottery in a rural setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-142
Number of pages32
JournalBulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Area B1 excavations were conducted under the supervision of Hagar Ben-Basat and Yuli Gekht and are currently supervised by Shalvi. Pottery restoration was conducted by Roee Shafir. Line drawings of the pottery were executed by Sapir Haad and the pottery plates were assembled by Haad and by Anat Regev-Gisis. Photographs of finds are by Eli Gerstein and Haad, and the Tel Esur aerial photo was taken by Terrascan Labs LTD. The authors are grateful to Sariel Shalev and Paula Waiman-Barak for the permission to use the Laboratory of Materials in Archeology in the University of Haifa for the preparation of the petrographic thin sections. We acknowledge the support of the Zinman Institue of Archaeology at the University of Haifa, the Menashe Regional Council, and the “Itzik’s Friends” association. Lastly, we acknowledge the contribution of two anonymous readers to the scope and clarity of the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Schools of Oriental Research. 0003-097X/2019/382-00X$10.00. All rights reserved.


  • Canaanite Late Bronze Age
  • Canaanite regional pottery
  • Cypriot-style pithoi
  • Egyptianizing pottery
  • Tel Esur
  • Via Maris

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Archaeology


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