The contribution of micropalaeontology to the study of Bronze Age potters’ workshops at Tel Lachish, Israel and the biostratigraphy of the Lachish area
Published:January 01, 2017
Tom Dunkley Jones, Pamela Magrill, Menahem Weinbaum Hefetz, Laura Cotton, Paul N. Pearson, 2017. "The contribution of micropalaeontology to the study of Bronze Age potters’ workshops at Tel Lachish, Israel and the biostratigraphy of the Lachish area", The Archaeological and Forensic Applications of Microfossils: A Deeper Understanding of Human History, M. Williams, T. Hill, I. Boomer, I. P. Wilkinson
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The remains of potters’ workshops, dating to the Early Bronze and Late Bronze ages, came to light during the 1930s British excavations at Tel Lachish, Israel. In the course of a recent petrographic study, well-preserved microfossils were identiﬁed in thin-sections of unﬁred sherds and prepared clay from these workshops. Subsequent specialist micropalaeontological analyses for both calcareous foraminifera and nannofossils were carried out in order to address a number of archaeological questions. When combined with the micropalaeontological analysis of new out-crop samples in the vicinity of the site, it is clear that clays derived from the late Eocene to early Oligocene marls and chalks, exposed at the base of the tell, were extensively used by both the Early and Late Bronze Age potters. In addition, the study has brought to light new information about their activities, particularly with regard to their choice and use of raw materials over time. We also provide new nannofossil-based age constraints on the upper Bet Guvrin Formation and the lower part of the Lachish Formation in the Lachish area.
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The Archaeological and Forensic Applications of Microfossils: A Deeper Understanding of Human History
Microfossils are an abundant component of the sedimentary rock record. Their analysis can reveal not only the environments in which the rocks were deposited, but also their age. When combined, the spatial and temporal distribution patterns of microfossils offer enormous utility for archaeological and forensic investigations. Their presence can act as a geological ‘fingerprint’ and the tiniest fragment of material, such as a broken Iron Age potsherd, can contain a microfossil signature that reveals the geographical source of the materials under investigation. This book explores how microfossils are employed as tools to interpret human society and habitation throughout history. Examples include microfossil evidence associated with Palaeolithic human occupation at Boxgrove in Sussex, alongside investigations into human-induced landscape change during the Holocene. Further examples include the use of microfossils to provenance the source materials of Iron Age ceramics, Roman mosaics and Minoan pottery, in addition to their application to help solve modern murder cases, highlighting the diverse applications of microfossils to improving our understanding of human history.