Pontifical Biblical Institute Excavations 1929-1960

Artifacts found during excavation

Introduction | Descriptive Inventory
CUA Ghassul 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100 | 101-112
Selected Bibliography | Additional Resources


Teleilat Ghassul (Tulaylât al-Ghassûl) is a large Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlement in the lower Jordan Valley some 5-6 km. (3-4 mi.) northeast of the Dead Sea. The Pontifical Biblical Institute (PBI) conducted excavations of this site between 1929 and 1938, led by Alexis Mallon, S.J. and Robert Koeppel, S.J.; and again in 1959-1960, led by Robert North, S.J.

The 112 items in this collection, all previously published, are a cross section of Chalcolithic materials (diagnostic sherd-types, stone disks and pestles, flints, etc.) from the 1929-1960 excavations. This is one of some twenty study collections given by the Pontifical Biblical Institute, for purposes of archaeological research and teaching, to individuals and institutions associated with the Catholic Biblical Association (CBA). This collection was delivered to the Semitics Department of The Catholic University of America on October 10, 1996. Sandra A. Scham completed a descriptive inventory on December 10, 1996.

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Descriptive Inventory prepared by Sandra A. Scham

CUA Number PBI Number Item Description Comments
Ghassul 1 1007/8 Cornet Cup Base fine, well-fired, no apparent calcitic temper, fired red pink throughout, pre-1936 expedition, probably 1933, from surface or upper stratum
Ghassul 2 1064 Cornet Cup Base (broken tip) gray core, some blackening, large white calcite grits, from pre-1936 surface or upper stratum
Ghassul 3 6972 Cornet Cup Base well-fired, pink throughout, some calcite, coil striations visible, 1938 excavations
Ghassul 4 1065 Cornet Cup Base well-fired pink, some calcite, coil striations visible, salts on surface, pre-1936
Ghassul 5 1062 Cornet Cup Base brown with some pink, well-fired, calcite visible, pre-1936 surface
Ghassul 6 none Cornet Cup Base uneven firing, brick/pink/red, calcite evenly dispersed, painted red ochre, stripes and chevron, gray core, coils clearly visible on inside, rare piece, probably 1938 excavations
Ghassul 7 1407 Cup Base flat bottom goblet from lower stratum, 1933 excavations, incised vertical marks, gray core, calcite temper
Ghassul 8 1859 Cup Base flat bottom goblet, fired red throughout, some blackening outside, calcitic temper, 1933 excavations, lower stratum
Ghassul 9 1019 Bowl Base v-shaped bowl, 1933 excavations, lower stratum, Tell 3, good example of genre, gray core, large calcitic inclusions, inside slipped, grass wiped, red/pink.
Ghassul 10 1029 Hole-Mouth Base mat impressions, large vessel, coarse, blackened/buff/red, gray core, large calcitic grits, lower stratum, Tell 3, 1933 excavations
Ghassul 11 1044 Bowl Base red/pink, gray core, fine calcitic inclusions, no mat impressions, coils apparent, 1933 excavations, lower stratum
Ghassul 12 1222 Bowl Base small v-shaped bowl, red with gray core, slipped, calcitic clay, upper stratum, 1933 excavations, Tell 3
Ghassul 13 6056 Jar Base mat impressed slight, light pink large jar, light pink throughout, large calcitic grits, 1938 excavations, just below surface
Ghassul 14 1001 Bowl Base spiral mat base, from 1934 excavations, gray core, pink slipped inside, calcite deposits outside, blackened, from lower stratum, 1933 excavations
Ghassul 15 2064 Bowl Base pedestal bowl, red/gray core, slipped, rough calcitic temper, blackening, from 1933 excavations, upper stratum
Ghassul 16 1043 Jar Rim tournette turned neck of close-mouthed jar, well-fired pink/red throughout
Ghassul 17 470 Lug Handle 1933 excavations, calcite organic matter temper, substantially fire blackened (probably post firing), cooking vessel, large gray limestone grits, round bottom hole mouth pot
Ghassul 18 4050 Lug Handle 1936 surface find, substantially eroded, fired red/pink throughout, large calcite grits, hole mouth jar handle
Ghassul 19 7474A & B Double Lug Handle Two pieces, joined, 1938 excavations, red painted surface probably from open mouthed bowl, used for hanging
Ghassul 20 6205 Incised Sherd 1938 excavations, pink with gray core, large white grits, reed incisions, parallel crossed bands
Ghassul 21 6000 Incised Sherd fired red/pink throughout, 1938 excavations, coarse calcitic inclusions, possibly incised twice by fingernails
Ghassul 22 none Incised Rim Sherd 2 parallel bands of "fingernail" incisions, very blackened inside and out probably from firing, bow-shaped rim, large calcitic inclusions
Ghassul 23 7636 Slightly Ribbed Sherd 1938 excavations, red with gray core, horizontal wheel-turned incisions made with grass wiping
Ghassul 24 4920 Painted Rim Sherd small red painted bowl rim, inside rim band, 1936 excavations, fine calcitic ware, fired red/pink throughout
Ghassul 25 1437 Painted Sherd 1933, unusual example of thin ware, red painted and slip coated, well-fired, cross hatch pattern, probably from cornet
Ghassul 26 329 Painted Sherd pre-1933, slip coated, red painted, fired red/pink throughout, some blackening inside from firing, cornet fragment
Ghassul 27 none Painted Rim Sherd red outside rim, thin and well-fired, wheel-turned top, unusual wavy bands
Ghassul 28 none Slip Decorated Sherd fragment of repaired vessel (hole in sherd), grass wiped, slip decoration, red/pink with gray core
Ghassul 29 none Slip Decorated Sherd combed wavy slip decoration, brick red, thin gray core, calcitic inclusions small, some inside blackening
Ghassul 30 4017 Slipped and Painted Sherd 1936 excavations, lower strata from Tell 3, uneven firing
Ghassul 31 2066 Rim Sherd gray/buff kiln blackened cook pot rim from 1933 excavations
Ghassul 32 6043 Decorated Rim Sherd thick pinch top rim probably of pithos, blackened gray core, slipped inside, from 1938 excavations
Ghassul 33 5154 Limestone Pestle smooth sided, cubic rectangular, red ochre trace on surface, probably a paint grinder
Ghassul 34 none Limestone Pestle small limestone of type called "cosmetic grinder", hatch marks on grinding surface
Ghassul 35 1069 Limestone Disk round and flat, may have been intended as a spindle whorl or loom weight but not pierced, from 1938 excavations
Ghassul 36 none Limestone Disk red limestone incompletely pierced loom weight or whorl
Ghassul 37 1093 Limestone Pierced Amulet from surface of 1938 excavations, holes at narrow end
Ghassul 38 1084 Basalt Piece from surface of 1938 excavation, unusual carved basalt probably from a fenestrated stand or bowl
Ghassul 39 8019 Basalt Pestle from 1960 excavation, unusual basalt grinding implement
Ghassul 40 8005 Basalt Pestle unusual basalt cosmetic grinder from North's 1960 excavation
Ghassul 41 201 Flint Chisel 1933 excavation, rough type chisel, not well knapped, some use polish on narrow end, light brown flint
Ghassul 42 none Flint Chisel unusual small chisel from surface of 1931 excavation, fine edge, use polish, light brown flint
Ghassul 43 8050 Flint Fan Scraper fine example from North's 1960 excavations, dark brown, symmetrical percussion bulb, rough limestone left on one side
Ghassul 44 2836 Flint Chisel early excavations, light brown limestone sided small chisel
Ghassul 45 1038 Flint Blade fine example of Ghassulian blade, midrib removed, asymmetrical trapezoidal profile, light brown flint, serrated on one side
Ghassul 46 5 Flint Blade early excavations, Ghassulian proto-Canaanean blade, non-serrated, slightly symmetrical trapezoid
Ghassul 47 1050 Flint Gouge light brown, from 1938 excavations, surface
Ghassul 48 none Flint Blade typical Ghassulian blade, slight serration on left side, assymetrical trapezoidal profile
Ghassul 49 309 Flint Sickle Blade red-brown flint, serrated edge, backed, use polish, pre-1936 excavations, assymmetrical triangular (midrib not removed)
Ghassul 50 31 Flint Blade unusual broad blade, serrated edge with use polish, percussion marks, early excavations, probably Neolithic
Ghassul 51 none Flint Chisel End nice dark brown flint with use polish, thin chisel end from Tell 3, upper stratum
Ghassul 52 none Flint Core very unusual dark brown microlith core, percussion marks, dark brown flint, flat bottom, from Tell 3, upper stratum
Ghassul 53 none Flint Core nice gray/red/brown flint blade core, percussion marks on three sides
Ghassul 54 none Flint Core same as 53 but with limestone striking platform
Ghassul 55 none Flint End Scraper small end scraper, percussion marks, knob on one side, limestone front and back, slightly water rolled
Ghassul 56 none Flint End Scraper red/brown flint end scraper, curved surface, limestone side, percussion marks, no retouch
Ghassul 57 none Flint Core dark brown bladelet core, could also be a point core but Ghassulian points are rare and not well knapped
Ghassul 58 none Flint Chisel End gray flint chisel end from rough chisel
Ghassul 59 none Flint Blade unusual dark gray broad blade, non-serrated, assymmetric triangular profile, possibly Neolithic
Ghassul 60 none Flint Blade light brown serrated broad blade, triangular profile, assymmetric, possibly Neolithic
Ghassul 61 none Flint Blade dark gray, slightly serrated, prototypical Ghassulian blade, triangular profile, percussion marks, round end
Ghassul 62 none Flint Blade light brown blade, assymmetrical triangular profile, slight polish on non-serrated edge
Ghassul 63 none Flint Blade fine serration on light brown flint, assymmetric trapezoidal profile, both sides serrated
Ghassul 64 none Flint Blade roughly serrated red/brown blade, percussion marks, proto-Canaanean
Ghassul 65 none Flint Blade serrated on one side backed blade, assymmetric trapezoidal, slight polish
Ghassul 66 none Flint Blade short broad blade or point, typical profile non-serrated
Ghassul 67 none Flint Blade serrated broad backed blade, assymmetric trapezoidal profile, fine polish, fine serration
Ghassul 68 none Flint Point light brown flint, long spear point, possibly Neolithic
Ghassul 69 none Flint Blade dark gray, serrated Canaanean blade
Ghassul 70 none Flint Blade two serrated edges, broad backed trapezoidal blade, light brown flint
Ghassul 71 none Flint Chisel End dark brown thin chisel end
Ghassul 72 none Flint Point broken red/brown flint point, bulb of percussion
Ghassul 73 none Flint Borer End light gray borer end, thick handle
Ghassul 74 none Flint Point broad point with fine serration, triangular profile bulb of percussion
Ghassul 75 500 Flint Core blade core of dark pink flint, from Tell 3, 1936 excavations
Ghassul 76 none Flint Point dark brown, unevenly serrated, roughly triangular profile
Ghassul 77 none Flint Core light brown blade core
Ghassul 78 none Flint Point dark brown, percussion marks, limestone back
Ghassul 79 none Flint Chisel End light brown flint
Ghassul 80 none Flint Borer dark pink flint, small borer, point broken
Ghassul 81 none Flint Core dark brown, appearance of paint on flat surface
Ghassul 82 none Flint Scraper small scraper or denticulate, round profile, serrated finely retouched edge
Ghassul 83 none Flint Adze End dark brown flint, percussion marks
Ghassul 84 6442 Cornet Cup Base red/pink with large calcitic grits, organic matter, well-fired, 1938 excavations
Ghassul 85 1008 Cornet Cup Base well-fired red/pink with calcitic grits, grog temper, pre-1936 excavations
Ghassul 86 6766 Cornet Cup Base hollow bottomed base, red ochre paint, reed marks inside, hollowing procedure apparent, found in upper stratum, 1938 excavations
Ghassul 87 1061 Cornet Cup Base hollow bottom, pre-1936 excavations, broken point, large calcitic grits, red ochre paint
Ghassul 88 6707 Cornet Cup Base base of large cornet from 1936 excavations, hollow bottom, well-fired, large calcitic grits, traces of red paint, from upper stratum
Ghassul 89 6549 Cornet Cup Base from 1938 excavations, middle stratum, very elongated point, partially hollow, not well-fired, gray core, slipped interior, carbonized calcite
Ghassul 90 none Cornet Cup Base solid cornet bottom, larger calcitic grits, well-fired, salmon pink throughout
Ghassul 91 1080 Cornet Cup Base from pre-1936 excavations, well-fired cornet bottom, red painted, calcitic grits
Ghassul 92 389 Spout from 1932, surface, blackened exterior, organic matter pores, calcitic grits, well-fired large holemouth vessel probably
Ghassul 93 5364 Rim Sherd sawed rim for profile drawing, black/gray core, red slipped, grass wiped exterior and interior calcitic grits, close necked jar, 1936 excavations
Ghassul 94 2398 Base Sherd pre-1936 excavations, narrow based (v-shaped) bowl, fired red/pink throughout, red ochre paint outside, uneven slip inside, organic matter pores, small calcitic grits
Ghassul 95 8719 Base Sherd 1960 excavations, fired red/pink throughout large gray limestone grits, slipped inside and out, elongated base of v-shaped bowl
Ghassul 96 6884 Painted Sherd broad red painted stripes, example of cream or buff ware, well-fired, upper stratum
Ghassul 97 none Painted Sherd small slipped and painted body sherd, broad stripes, clear paint, wiped inside, slipped outside, calcitic grits, unusual color from 1930 excavations
Ghassul 98 5421 Rim Sherd from 1936, probably cornet, slipped and painted, gray core, broad stripes
Ghassul 99 none Base Sherd from 1938 excavations, beautiful mat imprint, slipped inside, pink/gray
Ghassul 100 6624 Rim Sherd fine ware, probably from cornet, brick red throughout, red ochre paint inside and out, 1938 excavations
Ghassul 101 5076 Rim Sherd blackened inside, broad red diagonal stripe, red/pink throughout, with reddish slip inside and out
Ghassul 102 none Incised Sherd very rare example of punctated animal design, hind end of a goat probably, fired salmon pink throughout, thin slip, from 1938 excavations
Ghassul 103 none Basalt Bowl Rim punctured rim of basalt or phosporite bowl, hole in these vessels is particular to Ghassul
Ghassul 104 none Limestone Disk with incomplete hole on both sides probably a loom weight, unusually well drilled maybe by a metal borer, drill hole may not be from Chalcolithic
Ghassul 105 4086 Handle gray core, coarse slipped outside, from surface of 1936 excavations
Ghassul 106 4660 Decorated Sherd unusual body sherd, with wiped exterior in wavy pattern, slipped inside and out, red with gray core, organic matter, calcite in slip
Ghassul 107 none Painted Sherd cream or buff ware body sherd with solid red paint outside, design (cross hatched) inside, slipped inside and out
Ghassul 108 none Flint Scraper beautiful elongated tabular scraper, from surface, retouch on two sides, flat well knapped base with bulb of percussion, dark brown flint
Ghassul 109 none Flint Chisel from early excavations, incredible gloss/polish, limestone top and bottom, unusual light brown flint, lower stratum
Ghassul 110 none Flint Fan Scraper small fan scraper, 1960 excavations, limestone back, little retouch
Ghassul 111 none Flint Adze Head 1936 excavations, lower stratum, dark brown chert, matte polish, straight edge
Ghassul 112 none Flint Fan Scraper medium fan scraper from 1936 excavations, no retouch, limestone back

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Selected Bibliography

Excavation reports and articles by Alexis Mallon & Robert Koeppel in Biblica 11 (1930) 3-22; 129-148; 12 (1931) 157-161, 257-270; 13 (1932) 6-27, 273-283; 14 (1933) 294-302; 15 (1934) 1-7; 16 (1935) 241-256; 17 (1936) 393-406; 18 (1937) 443-449; 19 (1938) 260-266.

Alexis Mallon, Robert Koeppel, René Neuville, Teleilat Ghassul I. Compte rendu des fouilles de l'Institut Biblique Pontifical 1929-1932 (Rome, 1934).

Robert Koeppel, Teleilat Ghassul II. Compte rendu des fouilles de l'Institut Biblique Pontifical 1932-1936 (Rome, 1940).

Robert North, Ghassul 1960 Excavation Report (Analecta Biblica, 14; Rome, 1961).

Mark Blackham,"Tulaylat Ghassul: an Appraisal of Robert North's Excavations (1959-60)," Levant 31 (1999).

Sandra A. Scham, "Pastoralism and the Emergence of Sociopolitical Complexity in the Chalcolithic Period - Teleilat Ghassul, Jordan." (Ph.D. diss., Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, 1999).

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Additional Resources

Middle Eastern Geodatabase for Antiquities - Jordan

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