Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


15 December 2014

Philistine Lion-Headed Cups: Aegean or Anatolian?

Linda Meiberg in A.E. Killebrew & G. Lehmann (eds), 2013. The Philistines and other ‘Sea Peoples’ in Text and Archaeology [Archaeological and Biblical Studies 15], Atlanta/Georgia, 131-144.

From the introduction

Several sites in Israel have yielded a type of zoomorphic ceramic vessel whose lower part was molded into the shape of an animal’s face that most resembles a lion, or more precisely, a lioness. The faint traces of bichrome decoration preserved in red and black paint, as well as the find contexts for those uncovered in systematic excavations, clearly indicate that these vessels are to be classified within the Philistine cultural sphere. Trude Dothan was the first to study these vessels as a class of object, concluding that they are closely related to lion-headed rhyta from the Bronze Age Aegean world and “seem to be the last echo of a long Mycenaean-Minoan tradition of animal-headed rhyta”. Although these “Philistine lion-headed cups” indeed appear to be closely related to lion-headed rhyta from the Bronze Age Aegean, they lack the essential secondary opening required in this class of vessel through which liquid would need to flow and drain. Uza Zevulun recognized this fact and persuasively argued against using the term “rhyta” when referring to these lion-headed cups.



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