The International Ez Zantur Project

Preliminary Report on the 1998 Swiss-Liechtenstein excavations at ez Zantur

by Bernhard Kolb (with contributions by Laurent Gorgerat and Matthias Grawehr)

X. Ez Zantur IV: Nabataean fineware from room 15

An interesting pottery ensemble came to light on some sort of floor level of beaten earth in room 15 east of wall G (Figs. 1. 14) Locus 3158: the juglet came to light during the cleaning work on wall G. It was decided that the ensemble would be excavated immediately in order to prevent any further damage to it. Since the excavation of locus 3158 is not finished there are no precisely datable finds yet such as coins available from this locus. .

Fig. 14: EZ IV. Room 15. Nabataean fine ware-ensemble in situ (photo: D. Keller)
Fig. 14: EZ IV. Room 15. Nabataean fine ware-ensemble in situ (photo: D. Keller)

Juglet and small bowl

The intact juglet has an opening of 4 cm diameter (Fig. 15a). The base ring is clearly set off from the rounded body which reaches a maximum diameter of 6 cm in the lower third of the vessel. The transition between the body and neck is smooth and ends in a protruding lip. The pointed spout is also unusual. The handle, which is disproportionally small in comparison to the rest of the juglet is attached to the lip and neck.

Juglets or pitchers with slender necks and protruding lips were already found on EZ I Schmid 1995: 137f. . Although most of the examples on EZ I were significantly larger than the vessel presented here its form is similar to that of type G 9a 291 Schmid 1995: 137. . The problem of dating this type of closed form lies in their relatively long span of production. The type mentioned appears in phase 1 (2nd half of the 2nd century BC – c. 50 BC) and 2a (50 BC – 20 AD) but still appears in phase 3 (20–100 AD) The final date of this phase is particularly clearly defined – it finishes with the destruction level on the lower terrace of EZ I around 100 AD. See Petra -Ez Zantur I: 163f. .

Fig. 15: EZ IV. Room 15. Plane Nabataean fine ware (photo: O. Jäggi)
Fig. 15: EZ IV. Room 15. Plane Nabataean fine ware (photo: O. Jäggi)
Fig. 15 left: EF 3194. Juglet. Light red reddish yellow (Munsell 2.5 YR 6/8 to 5 YR 7/8). Diam. Open: 4.0 cm. H.: 9.1 cm.
Fig. 15 right: EF 3196. Bowl. Light red (Munsell 2.5 YR 5/8). Diam. Open: 7.2 cm, H.: 3.9 cm.

A complete bowl was found in the same locus (Fig. 15b). The opening of this vessel measures 7.2 cm in diameter; it is 3.9 cm high. The unprofiled stand ring supports a slightly bulging body which transforms into a vertical, sharp edged rim, from the middle of the vessel. The profile of this vessel places it in group 8 of the unpainted main forms from ez Zantur Schmid 1996: 155 Figs. 659–662. . The type E 3a 2 Small bowls of this type were excavated on EZ I (EF 872 and 886–889). within this group, which belongs to phase 3, is especially close to the bowl described.

Painted bowl

About 2/3 of a painted bowl with handles (Figs. 16a–b) could be reconstructed from the numerous fragments in locus 3158. The vessel has a diameter of 22.8 cm and a wall thickness of 0.3 cm. The profile of the bowl (Fig. 16a) is slightly rounded and is topped with an inset vertical rim. The slightly concave handle is joined to the vessel just above the bend between the wall and rim and at the sharp edge. Given the large diameter of the vessel it seems probable that it had two such handles. A bowl similar in form but someewhat smaller is in a private German collection Schmitt-Korte 1976: 42. 44. Fig. 20.27. . So the closest parallel to our vessel does have two handles.

Fig. 16 up: EF 3195. Red (Munsell 10 R 5/8). Diam. Open.: 11.4 cm. H.: 7.7 cm.<br />Fig. 16 down: EF 3195. Decorationscheme
Fig. 16: EZ IV. Room 15. Painted Nabataean bowl (drawings: L. Gorgerat)
Fig. 16 up: EF 3195. Red (Munsell 10 R 5/8). Diam. Open.: 11.4 cm. H.: 7.7 cm.
Fig. 16 down: EF 3195. Decorationscheme

The most striking feature of the painting are the two concentrically arranged rows of zoomorphic figures (Fig. 16b). One can assume that the centre of the vessel was painted with a similar creature whose extremities are preseved. These zoomorpic creations are characterised by a long oval body which is sometimes completed with one or two projections. The extremities are attached along the length of the body and sometimes end in a dot. The zoomorphic decoration of this bowl is complimented by rows of dots and eyes. The border between the wall and the rim is decorated with an irregular grid pattern A similar grid pattern over the transition from wall to rim occurs on one of the handleless bowls from EZ I: see Schmid 1995: E 18a 379. . The inside of the rim is decorated with blob like drops. A fragmentary unstratified find from Horsfields excavation has similar drops around the edge Horsfield 1942: 179 Fig. 39, 342. . It is also painted with concentrically arranged rows of dots. The rim profile with a bend and handle is also similar to that of the bowl in room 15. The ornamental decorational elements of the bowl found in room 15 and the brownish tone of the paint are typical for the group of bowls belonging to decor phase 3a (20–70 AD) Petra- Ez Zantur I, 166. 168 table 5,2 fig. 699. .

Zoomorphic portrayals are rare on the painted ware from ez Zantur Schmid 1995: 170. . That they do occur on phase 3a ware is however known from finds from other places. The closest parallel is from N. Khairy’s excavation on el-Khatute and is now in the museum in Petra Khairy 1990: 39 No. 9 Fig. 42,9 tab. 23,8. . The handleless bowl is decorated with grid patterns, and rows of dots and eyes enclosed by a row of drops along the rim, in addition to the concentrically arranged zoomorphic creations and is thus very close to the bowl from EZ IV 4. The bowl in the private German collection mentioned before Schmitt-Korte 1980: 184 No. 35. has two zoomorphic repressentations set in an asymmetric decorative field. That these representations can reach sizeable dimensions is shown by the fragment of a bowl from a pottery workshop in Oboda Negev 1974: 18 no.32 table 11, 32. . A. Negev dates the installation in Oboda, on the basis of the coin finds, to 30 BC – 50 AD Negev 1974: 45. . Our fragment can therefore be said to also date from this period and this substantiates its attribution to decor phase 3a (20–70 AD).

Laurent Gorgerat
Schweizerisch-Liechtensteinische Ausgrabungen in Petra der Universität Basel
Schönbeinstrasse 20
4056 Basel