The Jewish ‘Stone Age’ in Roman Palaestina: Chalkstone Vessels and Ritual Purity Observance during the First Centuries CE – Københavns Universitet

Videresend til en ven Resize Print kalender-ikon Bookmark and Share

Det Teologiske Fakultet > Arrangementer > The Jewish ‘Stone Age’...

The Jewish ‘Stone Age’ in Roman Palaestina: Chalkstone Vessels and Ritual Purity Observance during the First Centuries CE

During the Early Roman period (63 BCE–circa 135 CE), various types of vessels made of chalkstone, serving as both domestic tableware and storage containers for food and liquids, were in widespread use at Jewish sites throughout Judea, Galilee and Perea, supplementing the usual repertoire of ceramic vessels. This was a uniquely Jewish phenomenon, as remains of chalkstone vessels are conspicuously absent from non-Jewish sites in Palaestina. These vessels, undoubtedly more unwieldy and costlier to produce than pottery, were apparently prized by Jews for their unique quality of imperviousness to ritual impurity. As such, archaeological finds of chalkstone vessels serve as a key indication of ritual purity observance, and allow scholars to gauge the extent of Jewish purity practices over time and space. Recent archaeological excavations, including at chalkstone vessel production sites, provide important new evidence for the widespread character of purity observance throughout Roman Palaestina during the first centuries of the Common Era. The present lecture will highlight excavations directed by the speaker this past summer at two such chalkstone vessel workshops located near Nazareth, in Galilee.

 

Dr. Yonatan Adler is a Senior Lecturer at Ariel University in Israel, specializing in the archaeology of ancient Jewish ritual practices. His research in recent years has focused on archaeological manifestations of ritual purity observance, including chalkstone vessels and miqwa’ot (ritual baths), as well as ancient tefillin (phylacteries) from the Judean Desert. He has directed excavations at numerous sites throughout Israel, and currently directs excavations at ‘Einot Amitai, site of a chalkstone vessel workshop in Galilee.