Burial Jar

The Assyrian Bottle Jar is from Tell Dothan, Israel. Excavated in 1954, the bottle jar was found in association with a child burial in level A-109 from Area 112. The burial itself was cut into Iron II levels and dates to the late eighth-early seventh centuries. During the late eighth and early seventh centuries, Tell Dothan was under the control of Assyria. While it is uncertain whether or not there is any architecture from Tell Dothan that relates to this period, a series of Assyrian jar burials attests to Assyrian presence and control over the site.

The infant burial associated with this Assyrian Bottle Jar was likely Assyrian in origin and correlated to the Assyrian occupation of Tell Dothan. Grave goods were common to find in all types of burials, and this bottle jar is representative of the types of ceramics buried with the dead. It is an item of everyday life, and by placing it in or near the burial it was meant to provide for the “welfare of the deceased in the afterlife” (King, Stager 370). Possibly it contained food or drink, which was meant to sustain the deceased child in the afterlife and secure her welfare.

A parallel with the Assyrian Bottle Jar can be found at Tell Keisan. The pottery from Iron Age III from Keisan reflects Assyrian influences and characteristics. The Neo-Assyrian influence in this area correlates to the period right before the fall of Samaria. Imported Assyrian Ware differs from local wares; it was “foreign both in shape and in ceramic technique.” Similarly, it appears in Israel-Judah after 721 BCE: “In all excavations it appears in strata of the period following the Assyrian conquest of Samaria… Commercial relations between Israel-Judah and Assyria are one of the consequences of Assyrian rule over the Northern Kingdom” (Amiran, Ancient Pottery of the Holy Land, 291).