Iron and bronze production in Iron Age IIA Philistia: New evidence from Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel

Adi Eliyahu-Behar*, Naama Yahalom-Mack, Sana Shilstein, Alexander Zukerman, Cynthia Shafer-Elliott, Aren M. Maeir, Elisabetta Boaretto, Israel Finkelstein, Steve Weiner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


A metallurgically-oriented excavation in Area A at Tell es-Safi/Gath yielded evidence for iron and bronze production dating to the early Iron Age IIA. Two pit-like features, which differed considerably from one another in colour, texture and content, were excavated. Evidence shows that each feature represents a different in situ activity related to iron production, inferred by the presence of hammerscales, slag prills and slag. An upturned crucible was found on top of one of the features. Analysis of the crucible slag showed that it was used for bronze metallurgy. Tuyères, both round and square in cross-section, were found in and around the two features. The presence of the two industries together presents a unique opportunity to explore the relationship between copper and iron working. This is especially important against the background of the scarcity of evidence for iron production in the Levant during the early phases of the Iron Age.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)255-267
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Bronze crucible
  • Iron Age IIA
  • Iron production
  • Microarchaeology
  • Philistia
  • Philistines
  • Slag
  • Tuyères


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