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The Ivories from Samaria. Complete Catalogue, Stylistic Classification, Iconographic Analysis, Cultural-Historical Evaluation

Applicant Uehlinger Christoph
Number 103758
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Religionswissenschaftliches Seminar Theologische Fakultät Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Archaeology
Start/End 01.04.2004 - 30.09.2008
Approved amount 57'164.00
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Keywords (12)

ELFENBEINSCHNITZERIEN; ISRAELS/PALÄSTINAS; Samaria; Isreal; Levante; Elfenbeinschnitzereien; Herstellung; Handel und; Austausch von Luxusobjekten; Kulturkontakt; nordwestsemitische Inschriften; Religionsgeschichte Israels/Palästinas

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
In Biblical prophecy, Samaria, capital of the kingdom of Israel during the9th and 8th centuries BCE, is condemned for its "ivory houses" and palacesdisplaying "pagan" wealth and luxury (Am. 3:15, 1 Kgs. 22:39). Remains ofluxury furniture made of wood and ivory have been excavated at Samariabetween 1908 and 1935. They represent the most important collection of 1stmillennium ivory carvings found in the Levant. Poor publication, however,has prevented scholarship from properly assessing theircultural-historical significance. Moreover, the study of the material hassuffered from biblical prejudice, attributing the entire collection toimported Phoenician workmanship.
This project aims at a balanced assessment of the ivory carvings fromSamaria in line with current standards in ivory studies, cultural historyand religious studies. While the excavators' final report from 1938includes only a small portion of the material (c. 200 items), this projectwill produce a comprehensive catalogue of all ivory objects, amounting toover 12'000 items. A classification of the material according to style andcarving technique shall allow a reconsideration of the chronological andregional distribution of the Southern Levantine ivory industry in theearly first millennium BCE. A critical edition of the letters serving asfitter's marks, some of which are Hebrew, will provide additionalarguments for the discussion on the carvings' origin and diffusion. Theanalytical part of the project will also investigate the imagery carved onthe furniture panels and the function of the objects. The synthesisfinally will address the ivories' significance for the study of ancientIsrael's relations with her neighbors, including issues ofSyro-Palestinian religious history during the 9th and 8th centuries BCE.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
67219 The Ivories from Samaria. Complete Catalogue, Stylistic Classification, Iconographic Analysis, Cultural-Historical Evaluation. 01.04.2002 Project funding (special)