Identifying a roman casting pit at Tel Dor, Israel: Integrating field and laboratory research

Adi Eliyahu-Behar, Lior Regev, Sana Shilstein, Steve Weiner, Yiftah Shalev, Ilan Sharon, John Berg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The functional identification of industrial features is difficult when few characteristic artifacts are preserved. We studied a Roman-period pyrotechnological feature at Tel Dor, Israel, where the only possibly diagnostic ceramic artifacts were found in fill between the walk and above the floor, rendering their association with the feature itself uncertain. The ceramic artifacts included coarse slabs and fragments of utilitarian vessels, some vitrified with adhering bronze droplets or slag-like residues. Analysis of the sediments within and around the industrial feature, using an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer on-site, revealed high concentrations of copper and lead, indicating metallurgical activity. Lead isotope analyses showed that the slag-like residue adhering to a ceramic fragment had the same isotopic values as the sediments, implying that the fragment was associated with the activities carried out in the feature. Microscopic and chemical analyses of the slag-like residue demonstrated that it was produced from melting leaded bronze. Some of the ceramic fragments contained elongated impressions on their inner surfaces, similar to those of casting molds found at other sites. We propose that the feature was used as a casting pit for bronze objects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-151
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Identifying a roman casting pit at Tel Dor, Israel: Integrating field and laboratory research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this