Decorated bone inlays are among the fossiles directeurs of Middle Bronze (MB) Age II and early Late Bronze Age assemblages, having been documented since the beginning of archaeological research in the Levant. During the Fourth Expedition to Lachish, an assemblage of 49 decorated bone inlays restored from ca. 200 fragments was found in the rooms of a late MB II monumental building. The inlays were apparently used to decorate wooden boxes. Although such inlays are usually recovered from mortuary contexts, here they were found among daily objects, indicating that the building played an administrative role. In this paper the typological, technological, and functional aspects of the inlays are examined. We reconstruct the use of these objects and discuss the social context in which they were produced and used, providing an additional perspective on such objects and their role in both life and death during the late MB II. Our technological approach included microscopic examination of the inlays, which provided new information on the variability of craft traditions, suggestive of a decentralized production mode.
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- Middle Bronze Age II
- decorated bone inlays