Expedition News – Fall 1960

Originally Published in 1960

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The return of Mr. George Bass with details of his summer work on the wrecked ship off Finike in Turkey is eagerly awaited. His reports tell of quantities of ingots and bronze tools and weapons recovered. Meanwhile a piece of one ingot has been analyzed at the Museum and shown to be pure copper. A sample from a mass of white powder found in the wreck was analyzed in Turkey and identified as tin oxide. The cargo thus seems to have included both of the ingredients necessary for making bronze. Many of the ingots found were fragmentary, which was puzzling; the presence of the tin now suggests that our ship may have been a travelling foundry carrying scrap copper to be made on order into bronze utensils! Cleaning and identification may show some of the tools to have been suitable for foundry work. Some of the ribs and planking of the ship’s hull were preserved, evidently fastened together with wooden pegs–our first evidence on Bronze Age shipbuilding. Amulets and a scarab of faience and ivory may be dateable, as also a fine cylinder seal, perhaps Hittite. For the present, we must date the wreck thirteenth to fifteenth century B.C.; identification of the seal and the scarab may pinpoint more closely the time of the ship’s voyage.

El-Jib, Jordan

The Museum’s fourth season at el-Jib, directed by Dr. James B. Pritchard, which lasted from June 15th through July 30th, has thrown new light on the technique of wine making at Gibeon during the seventh century B.C. The wine industry was a major factor in the city’s economy. To date sixty-six wine cellars, cut in the solid rock, have been uncovered; knowledge of the technology has come from the discovery of wine presses, a plastered fermenting tank, and rock-cut basins for settling the wine. A preliminary report of these discoveries has already appeared in the Illustrated London News for September 10th.

An unexpected find was that of the Bronze Age necropolis. After staff members of the expedition had looked for it for thee seasons it was finally discovered by an Arab woman of el-Jib (see account of discovery in Time, August 8th). Twelve of the tombs were cleared of an unusual collection of fine pottery and other artifacts, which document the daily life of Gibeon from about 2000 to 1200 B.C. Many more of these tombs remain to be excavated. At the very end of the season Diana Kirkbride came upon a large Iron Age building at the northwest of the mound. it promises to be the largest and most important public building yet found at el-Jib and will require the better part of a season for full excavation.

Hasanlu, Iran

The major project of the 1960 season was the excavation of a large burned building belonging to the ninth, or possibly the eighth, century B.C. This building, which formed part of a fortified citadel, has walls still standing about three to four meters high and was originally of two stories. It consists of a front section made up of two long narrow rooms with small rooms at either end, and a large courtyard. The entrance to the building was through a portico consisting of three pairs of wooden columns set in mud benches. In front of the doorway was a paved courtyard, and before the central pair of columns was a rectangular stone platform on which stood a sandstone stela. This suggests the possibility that the building may have had a religious function. Inside the first room was a long brick bench with a second stela standing on it. Neither stela was decorated. The second narrow room contained two small brick benches and a central hearth. Late in its history, a kitchen room had been built into one end of it. To the west a doorway led to the stairway to the second floor; at the rear a doorway led into the big court. The ceiling was held up by two rows of wooden columns set on stone bases. In the center toward the back stood a brick platform; along the side walls ran a mud bench, and on either side of the doorway stood a mud bench and a stone pavement.

The western wall had collapsed across the area during the fire, burying the burned wooden columns and forty-four individuals: young children, girls, and warriors. Some were in the courtyard, some in the doorway and on the floor of the narrow room. All wore bronze necklaces and some carried cylinder seals with Assyrian scenes of a hero shooting a winged animal. There were also fifty-eight bronze lion pins with iron points, held to the clothing with short bronze chains; in one case the person wore several gold disc pendants. Among the interesting objects found in the ruins were an incense holder of “Egyptian Blue,” a kind of antique glass; two wooden plaques carved with figures of horses, one with a rider; a fine bronze plaque showing a hero battling two animals; and a small drinking cup in the form of a horse’s head.

From a well, one and a half meters in diameter, sunk in the center of the tepe to a depth of eighteen meters below the surface of the tepe, a pottery sequence dating back to the fourth millennium B.C. was obtained.

Tikal, Guatemala

The summer field season, under the supervision of Dr. William R. Coe, was devoted to further work on the North Acropolis and house mounds. With the assistance of several students, a number of houses, with associated domestic refuse, were excavated, providing much information on one of the many parts of the site occupied by the common people. William Haviland will continue this interesting and important aspect of Tikal archaeology during the coming winter. Work on the North Acropolis continued that of previous seasons, developing the complicated sequence of plaster floors and temples, but leaving tombs and other delicate features until the winter digging season.

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"Expedition News – Fall 1960." Expedition Magazine 3, no. 1 (September, 1960): -. Accessed April 18, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/expedition-news-fall-196/

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