View Book

Ancient Cookware from the Levant

ID: 2026 - View Book Page - Edit In OJS

Ancient clay cooking pots in the southern Levant are rough in texture and not easily associated with meals known from ancient writings or iconographic representations. To narrow the gap between excavated sherds and ancient meals, the approach adopted in Ancient Cookware from the Levant starts by examining the way food is traditionally processed, preserved, cooked, and stored in clay containers. This research is based on the cookware and culinary practices in traditional societies in Cyprus and the Levant, where a handful of people still make pots by hand.

Clay pots were not only used to cook or hold foods. Their absorbent and permeable walls stored traces or memories of food residue and bacteria. As a result, clay jars were automatic yogurt makers and fermentation vats for wine and beer, while jugs were the traditional water coolers and purifiers. Dairy foods, grains, and water lasted longer and/or tasted better when stored or prepared in clay pots. Biblical texts provide numerous terms for cookware without details of how they looked, how they were used, or why there are so many different names for them. Studies of potters carried out over the past century in the southern Levant provide a wealth of names whose diversity helps to delineate the various categories of ancient cookware and names known from the Bible.

Ancient Cookware from the Levant begins with a description of five data sources: excavations, ancient and medieval texts, 20th century government reports, early accounts of potters, and ethnoarchaeological studies. The second part of the volume focuses on the shape, style, and manufacture of cookware for the past 10,000 years. For archaeologists, changes in cooking pot morphology offer important chronological information for dating entire assemblages, from Neolithic to recent times. The survey of pot shapes discusses the way the different shapes were made, used, and cleaned.

Published: Aug 1, 2016

Book Contributors


Section Chapter Authors
List of Tables Gloria London
List of Figures Gloria London
Preface Gloria London
Introduction Gloria London
Part I: Traditional Ceramics in the Levant and Cyprus
1. The Levantine Corridor and Cyprus -- Geographical Parameters Gloria London
2. Ancient Data Sources: Excavations and Ancient Texts Gloria London
3. Modern Data Sources: Government Reports, Early Visitors and Ehtnoarchaeology Gloria London
4. Ceramic Ethnoarchaeology Gloria London
5. Clay Deposits, Traditional Mining and Clay Preparation in Cyprus Gloria London
6. Manufacturing Technique for Cypriot Red Clays Gloria London
7. Traditional Firing Techniques for Ceramics Gloria London
8. How to Treat Clay Pots Prior to Use with Food Gloria London
9. Making Breads, Roasting Grains and Cooking Other Food Gloria London
10. Foods Processed, Preserved, Distilled or Transported in Ceramics Gloria London
11. How to Clean Clay Pots Gloria London
Part II: Ancient Manufacturing Techniques for Cookware
12. Ancient Clay Containers to Process, Cook and Preserve Food Gloria London
13. Ancient Manufacturing Techniques and Clay Bodes Gloria London
Part III: Cookware through the Ages
Introduction Gloria London
14. Neolithic and Chalcolithic Cookware Gloria London
15. Early Bronze Age Cookware Gloria London
16. Middle and Late Bronze Age Cookware Gloria London
17. Iron Age and Persian Era Cookware Gloria London
18. Classical Era Cookware Gloria London
19. Medieval Era Cookware Gloria London
20. Late Ottoman/Mandate and Recent Wheel-thrown Ceramics Gloria London
21. Late Ottoman/Mandate and Recent Handmade Ceramics Gloria London
22. Implications of Ethnoarchaeological Studies for Ancient Cookware Gloria London
End Matter
Glossary Gloria London
Bibliography Gloria London
Index Gloria London


Ancient Cookware from the Levant is a key piece in the puzzle of ancient food preparation in the southern Levant and is a necessary addition to any library or collection on the subject.
Biblical Archaeology Review

L.’s ethnographic observations lead to a convincing explanation for the prohibition of cooking a kid in its mother’s milk, and she demonstrates how continuity and change in pottery are due to the practicality and functionality of cookware, rather than historical, social or political change. A valuable and rigorous contribution to the archaeology of the Levant.
Journal for the Study of the Old Testament

The book is an important supplement which should be essential reading not only by archaeologists who specialise in ceramics but also by anyone who studies the biblical world.
Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft

Ancient Cookware from the Levant is an extraordinary volume that brings together decades of ground-breaking research by one of ethnoarchaeology’s most notable and accomplished ceramic experts. High production values and copious illustrations make this a volume of standout quality destined to become a fundamental reference text for ceramics specialists of the ancient Near East and beyond.

London successfully combined ethnoarchaeological research, written sources, and a large-scale review of archaeological finds. By doing so, London succeeded in bridging the gap between the current ethnoarchaeological research and the behavioral study of daily life activities as manifested with clay-made cooking vessels. The book supplies more useful tools for the arsenal of anyone interested in the ancient Near East, and her research will hopefully be used by the scholarly community in the coming years.
Journal of Near Eastern Studies