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  W1288W1288 Tell el Yahudiyeh Ware


Pottery jug perhaps used for containing expensive perfume oil.


Jar with handle and ring foot and incised dot decoration. Second Intermediate Period. This is Tell el Yahudiyeh ware.  The type was named by Flinders Petrie as he first found it at the site of Tell el Yahudiyeh.

This type of juglet was named after a site in the eastern Delta, about 20km north east of Cairo. However, it is also found in Cyprus, Palestine and Nubia, and often associated with the Hyksos. Maureen Kaplan believes the earliest examples are Egyptian, though others see a Palestinian origin.

Some have suggested that such items were traded, either for the items themselves, or
as a container for a traded substance. That there are regional and temporal
variations of these vessels suggests that the items themselves were not traded.
Chemical analysis suggests they contained traces of animal and vegetable oils. That
these jugs are small suggests high value material was held therein, perhaps
perfume oils.   

Such vessels usually take the form of juglets, though other forms, such as animal-shapes, are known. Vessels are usually wheel-made (Bourriau has found some Egyptian hand-made examples) and decorated by pricking holes into the clay and filling them with white clay or chalk. The whole was then burnished.  

The item was purchased by Wellcome from the 1922 MacGregor sale.

Further Reading:

Bourriau, J. 1981, Umm El-Ga’ab Pottery From the Nile Valley Before the Arab Conquest. Cambridge, 41–43.

Kaplan, M. F. 1980, The Origin and Distribution of Tell el-Yehudiyeh Ware, [Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 42], Göteborg: Paul Åström.

Maquire, L.C. 1995. Tell el-Dab’a. The Cypriot connection. In eds. W.V. Davies and L. Schofield. Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant. Interconnections in the Second Millennium BC. London: British Museum Press, 54–65.

Other pottery in the Egypt Centre

Other Second Intermediate Period items