May 21, 2024 The sun rises from Anatolia

6000-year-old Chalcolithic ivory pot discovered in Israel

An excavation near Beersheba in southern Israel has unearthed a jar made of ivory tusks dating to the Chalcolithic period (around 4,000 BC).

The find is the first Chalcolithic ivory pot discovered in Israel.

Although the jar was initially disassembled, careful restoration work by experts at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) laboratories enabled it to be restored.

The ivory pot belongs to a type of small pottery known as amphoriskos.

This rare find sheds light on ancient trade links between the Holy Land and Egypt some six thousand years ago

The ivory vessel is approximately 8 inches in diameter. Its exquisitely designed and skillfully crafted small matching handles are symmetrically arranged around its lower body and neck.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said the find is the first Chalcolithic ivory vessel discovered in Israel and was likely either imported from Egypt or carved locally from ivory imported from there.

6000-year-old Chalcolithic ivory pot discovered in Israel
Photo: Davida Dagan

The rare item was discovered in 2020 during infrastructure work to lay a water pipe at Horvat Raqiq, an archaeological site near Beersheba in southern Israel, the IAA told The Times of Israel.

More than artifacts were discovered during the excavation at Horbat Rakik; it also revealed an ancient settlement with underground buildings etched into the Loess ground. Emil Aladjem discovered the rim of a basalt vessel in the final stages of excavation, which led to additional research.

After a long search, three imposing vessels were found at the excavation site. Among them, nestled in layers of soil, lay the shattered remains of an ivory vessel carefully buried in antiquity – a testament to its importance.

IAA researchers, experts from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and ivory conservationist Olga Negnevitsky collaborated to analyze and restore the ivory vessel, a difficult and exhausting process.

The ivory pot will be presented to the public on Thursday in Jerusalem at the annual Israel Prehistoric Society conference, along with other recent prehistoric discoveries.

Cover Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority

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