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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Judean & Biblical Coins| ▸ |Holyland Antiquities||View Options:  |  |  |   

Holyland Antiquities

The Holy Land, also called the Syro-Palestinian region, includes Syria, Phoenicia, Palestine, and Judaea.

Judaea, Terracotta Pottery Four-Horned Votive Altar, c. 1st - 2nd Century A.D.

|Holy| |Land| |Antiquities|, |Judaea,| |Terracotta| |Pottery| |Four-Horned| |Votive| |Altar,| |c.| |1st| |-| |2nd| |Century| |A.D.|
The book of Exodus relates that God gave Moses instructions..."You shall make the altar...five cubits long and five cubits wide, the altar is to be square, and three cubits high. Make its horns on the four corners, the horns to be of one piece with it." Smaller four-horned pottery altars found in Israel date back to at least as early as the 10th Century B.C. (Dayagi-Mendels, p. 65). Our altar was probably intended as a votive gift to be filled with incense and left burning at a temple or shrine.
AA99528. Terracotta pottery four-horned votive altar, Choice, complete and intact, small surface only crack in interior, light encrustations, 14.5cm (5 3/4") tall, 9.3cm (3 5/8") maximum width, c. 1st - 2nd Century A.D.; buff-pinkish-white clay (Munsell color 7.5YR 8/2), four horned altar: W-shaped cut on each of the four sides of the square mouth, a cylindrical column body, square stepped base with 4 legs; ex Archaeological Center (Robert Deutsch, Tel Aviv, Israel), auction 65 (27 Sep 2018), lot 472; ex S.M. Collection (Herzliya Pituah, Israel); very rare; $2200.00 SALE PRICE $1980.00

Kingdom of Judaea, First Temple Period, Pottery Wine Decanter or Beer Jug, 800 - 586 B.C.

|Holy| |Land| |Antiquities|, |Kingdom| |of| |Judaea,| |First| |Temple| |Period,| |Pottery| |Wine| |Decanter| |or| |Beer| |Jug,| |800| |-| |586| |B.C.|
This decanter form is the typical of the type unique to the Kingdom of Judaea during the First Temple Period. Historians debate what liquid this type of vessel would have contained. Wine seems likely, and decanter engraved with the word "wine" was recovered in excavations at the biblical Tel Lachish. Some, however, describe this decanter type as a beer jug!
AA99540. Kingdom of Judaea, Decanter; Gitin I, p. 362,; Lachish V pl. 24, 11 & pl. 49, 6; Tushingham fig. 2, 11, Choice, complete and intact, 23cm (9 1/8") tall, 14cm (5 1/2") diameter, Iron Age IIB - IIC, 800 - 586 B.C.; well shaped, wheel made, pink-orange clay, conical mouth, rounded rim, conical neck, strap handle from the neck to the shoulder, broad sloping shoulder with carinated edge, sack shaped body, ring base; ex Mera Antiq (Yossi Eilon) Tel Aviv, found in Israel; $2160.00 SALE PRICE $1944.00

Kingdom of Israel, Northern (Wide-Mouth) Decanter, First Temple Period, c. 925 - 721 B.C.

|Holy| |Land| |Antiquities|, |Kingdom| |of| |Israel,| |Northern| |(Wide-Mouth)| |Decanter,| |First| |Temple| |Period,| |c.| |925| |-| |721| |B.C.|
This decanter type with a wide-mouth and grooved rim is attributed to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Similar types are attributed to the Kingdom of Judah but those have a narrower mouth. This northern type has been found in strata dated to after the Assyrian destruction. Almost certainly these specimens were made before the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel, but continued to be used, probably as prized possessions, for about another century.
AA99539. Kingdom of Israel, decanter, cf. Gitin pl. 3.2.6, 10; Amiran p. 259, photos 255 - 256; Tell Es-Sa'idiyeh fig. 11, 12; James Beth Shan fig. 71, 7, Choice, complete and intact, 22cm (8 5/8") tall, 14 cm (5 1/2") maximum diameter, Iron Age IIB - IIC, 925 - 721 B.C.; well shaped, wheel made, pink-orange clay, thin unburnished slip darkened to purplish gray, wide conical mouth, rounded grooved double rim, splayed conical neck, strap handle from the neck to the shoulder, sloping shoulder with carinated edge, ovoid body, ring base; ex Max Shick; $1980.00 SALE PRICE $1782.00

Canaanite, Offering Vessel, Pottery Kernos with Four Pedestalled Bowls, c. 1700 - 900 B.C.

|Holy| |Land| |Antiquities|, |Canaanite,| |Offering| |Vessel,| |Pottery| |Kernos| |with| |Four| |Pedestalled| |Bowls,| |c.| |1700| |-| |900| |B.C.|
In the typology of ancient Greek pottery, the kernos (plural kernoi) is a cult offering vessel, with a pottery ring or stone tray to which are attached several small vessels for holding offerings. The Greek term is also applied to similar compound vessels from other cultures in the Mediterranean, the Levant, Mesopotamia, and South Asia. Amiran photo 350, is a kernos from Megiddo, dated Iron I, 1200 B.C. 1000 B.C. It has a similar ring base. but with eight ornate vessels of various shapes attached. Amiran assumed it was used in the First Fruits offering and notes the form originated in the Mycenaean-Minoan world. Pande fig. 12 is simpler kernos with three small bowls on a ring (without the pedestals) from Mycenae, Middle Minoan III levels, 1700 - 1600 B.C. We do not know of another example with pedestalled bowls.
AL23895. Canaanite kernos, cf. Pande fig. 12, see Amiran photo 350, Choice, reconstructed, c. 1700 - 900 B.C.; 12.5cm tall, buff clay kernos, four shallow bows, each on an individual column pedestal, joined at the sides, holes in the walls connecting them, the pedestals on a ring base, ex Griffin Gallery of Ancient Art (Boca Raton FL); very rare; $1750.00 SALE PRICE $1575.00

Byzantine Empire, Levante or Alexandria, c. 5th - 6th Century A.D., Jewish Menorah Lead Token

|Holy| |Land| |Antiquities|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Levante| |or| |Alexandria,| |c.| |5th| |-| |6th| |Century| |A.D.,| |Jewish| |Menorah| |Lead| |Token||token|
The purpose of Byzantine era lead tokens is unknown. Many appear closely related to seals differing only by the absence of a cord or channel for attachment to a container or document. Many late Roman and early Byzantine seals have a figural type on one side and a legend in two lines in Latin or Greek on the other side. Seals with a menorah are known, usually with a blank globular reverse, but some also have a name on the other side.
JD98657. Lead token, personal token of Rodanos(?); Roma e-sale 53 (7 Feb 2019), lot 504 (same dies), VF, highlighting earthen deposit desert patina, weight 3.077 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, die axis 180o, c. 5th - 6th century A.D.; obverse Menorah of seven branches, flanked by lulav on left and etrog on right; reverse POΔA/NOY in two lines across field, palm frond above; ex CNG e-auction 435 (2 Jan 2019), lot 401; extremely rare; $1440.00 SALE PRICE $1296.00

Judaean, Pottery Dipper Jug, Iron Age II, 1000 - 587 B.C.

|Holy| |Land| |Antiquities|, |Judaean,| |Pottery| |Dipper| |Jug,| |Iron| |Age| |II,| |1000| |-| |587| |B.C.|
This specimen is much more finely made than all the many similarly shaped but more carelessly made jugs in our references.
AA99525. Judaean, pottery dipper jug, cf. Amiran pl. 89, 6; Ustinov Potter UP141, Superb, complete and intact; 15.0cm (6") tall, 12.5cm (5") diameter, Iron Age II, 1000 - 587 B.C.; wheel made, red-brown clay, broad squat globular body, simple flattened base, high cylindrical neck, simple rounded vertical rim, strap handle from rim to shoulder; ex Mera Antiq (Yossi Eilon, Tel Aviv); found in Israel; $1080.00 SALE PRICE $972.00

Phoenician, Bronze Trapezoid Cube Weight (Ayin - 21.595g), c. 7th - 4th Century B.C.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Phoenician,| |Bronze| |Trapezoid| |Cube| |Weight| |(Ayin| |-| |21.595g),| |c.| |7th| |-| |4th| |Century| |B.C.|
This weight is the usual shape for the type, an inverted truncated pyramid - a cube with the bottom slightly smaller than the top. The type dates from perhaps as early as the the 9th century B.C. to the end of the Persian period. They were undoubtedly used to weigh silver bullion for transactions. Kletter lists nine weights with circle marks, ranging from 2.55g to 80.67g. Some, like ours, were incised with straight lines or punches. Most were found at Akko.
AS111486. Phoenician, bronze trapezoid cube weight; cf. Hendin Weights 245 (21.63), Kletter 2000 25 (21.17g), Hecht A 47 (20.03g), Choice, 21.595g (3 shekels?), 14.3x16.6x12.9mm, c. 7th - 4th Century B.C.; inverted truncated pyramid (a cube with the bottom slightly smaller than the top), incised circle (Phoenician ayin) on top created with a 8 short straight line cuts, ex Shick Coins (Max Shick, Israel, 2012); $720.00 SALE PRICE $648.00

Judaean Kingdom - Roman Judaea, Herodian Oil Lamp, c. 25 B.C. - 100 A.D.

|Oil| |Lamps|, |Judaean| |Kingdom| |-| |Roman| |Judaea,| |Herodian| |Oil| |Lamp,| |c.| |25| |B.C.| |-| |100| |A.D.|
This simple but elegant lamp design was developed during the reign of Herod, and thus they are called Herodian Lamps today. The type is found throughout all of Israel, especially in Jewish towns and areas, such as Jerusalem and Judea. Some have been found in Jordan. It is believed to be a type used mainly by Jews. They remained in common use until the end of the first century. The latest examples, from the middle of the second century, have been found in Judean Desert caves. Attempts have been made to more precisely date some of these lamps based on variations, however, excavations indicate the variations occur simultaneously.
AL78088. Herodian oil lamp; cf. Adler 3.1.HER.3, 96; Hayes ROM 53; Schloessinger 331 - 332, Choice condition, most of slip on bottom and sides lost, 9.3cm (3 5/8") long, 7.1cm (2 5/8") wide, 2.2cm (7/8") high, c. 25 B.C. - 100 A.D.; gray clay, pink-cream slip, rounded wheel made body with flat top, rim around filling hole, rounded vertical sides, nozzle with a splayed shape hand-formed separately and attached, nozzle and joint smoothed with a knife; ex Mera Antiq (Yossi Eilon, Tel Aviv), found in Israel; $550.00 SALE PRICE $495.00

Judaean Kingdom, Hasmonean Dynasty (Maccabees), Miniature Archaic Style Oil Lamp, c. 167 - 37 B.C.

|Oil| |Lamps|, |Judaean| |Kingdom,| |Hasmonean| |Dynasty| |(Maccabees),| |Miniature| |Archaic| |Style| |Oil| |Lamp,| |c.| |167| |-| |37| |B.C.|
This tiny Hasmonean era lamp imitates a shape and high base of pinched-rim stepped base oil lamps used in the Kingdom of Judah during the Iron Age IIC, 720 - 586 B.C. During the Hasmonean era, archaic imitative lamps were popular in Jerusalem and the surrounding area. They reconnected the Jewish people to the golden age of the Davidic dynasty centuries before. This particular specimen is particularly small, less that half the size of most of the Hasmonean imitatives and would fit inside of the bowl of most similarly shaped Iron Age lamps. Click here to see an example of a Kingdom of Judah prototype.
AA78096. Hasmonean Judaea Archaic Style Folded Buff Oil Lamp; Tushingham fig. 22, 7 (larger and without high base), Choice condition, tiny chip in base; 5.2cm (2") long, 4.0cm (1 5/8") wide, 2.7cm (1 1/8") high, buff clay with chalk inclusions, strongly pinched spout forming an elongated channel and U-shaped spout, near vertical saucer walls, rounded turned-out rim, thick flat "stump" base; ex Mera Antiq (Yossi Eilon) Tel Aviv, found in Israel; $500.00 SALE PRICE $450.00

Islamic, Sphero-Conical "Mercury" Vessel, 9th - 15th Century

|Medieval| |Artifacts|, |Islamic,| |Sphero-Conical| |"Mercury"| |Vessel,| |9th| |-| |15th| |Century|NEW
Sphero-conical vessels have been found from the Levante to Central Asia, dating from the 9th to 15th century A.D. More than 30 are in the Palestine Archaeological Museum and many others in collections in Jerusalem. Shape, style and decor vary greatly. They have been identified as vessels, fire grenades, aeolipiles, plumb bobs, and decorative finials.

R. Ettinghausen in "The Use of Sphero-Conical Vessels in the Muslim East" (1965) discusses specimens that have been found with traces of Mercury inside. In the Muslim world, mercury was used in medicinal drugs for headaches, paralysis, palsy, deafness, insanity, and loss of vision, as a tonic, and in salves employed against scabs, itch and mange. It was used in veterinary medicines and as poison against lice, mice, snakes and scorpions. In industry, it was used for backing of mirrors and embellishments. Ettinghausen notes, however, that despite conclusive evidence for use as mercury containers, this was not their exclusive function.

A. Ghouchani and C. Adle in "A Sphero-Conical Vessel as Fuqqa'a, or a Gourd for 'Beer'" (1992) provide convincing evidence that some of these vessels, especially some inscribed with Kufic, were used for storing and drinking beer. Examples of inscriptions include:
"As long as it is full, they will kiss it, When empty they will drop it."
"Do not give your heart to woman, because they will make a gourd of beer out of a man."
"Drink to your good health."
Literature and inscriptions indicate the "gourds" were placed in ice to cool the beer and the beer was under pressure and would gush out after the gourd was opened.

In one case, these "gourds" were actually used as grenades. The Arab historian Al-Damiri (1341 - 1404), wrote, "There are deadly scorpions around Nasibayn. It is said that they originated from Shahr-i Zur. A king encircled Nasibayn. He took the scorpions and put them into beer gourds and catapulted them into the city!"
AA99527. See Ettinghausen (1965) and Ghouchani-Adle (1992) for discussions of the type, near Choice, repaired crack, chips, tip of "cone" missing; 13.5cm tall, 12cm diameter, probably pre-Mongol, 9th - mid 13th century; unusual pine-cone decor (we did not find another in references or online), ex Mera Antiq (Yossi Eilon, Tel Aviv, 25 Jun 2013), found in Israel; $500.00 SALE PRICE $450.00




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The list above includes only references specifically dedicated to holy land antiquities. References used above but not included in this list may be identified by clicking on them in the item descriptions or visiting the shop page for the antiquity type or material.

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