Classics and Archaeology Virtual Museum


Some 114 ceramic objects come from Kathleen Kenyon's excavations in Jerusalem.

In Department files is a letter dated 21 April 1970 from Kathleen Kenyon, at the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem (of which she was the Chair), to J A Thompson in the Middle Eastern Studies Department:

Dear Mr Thompson,

I have now sent off to you a further quite large consignment of pottery from Jerusalem Cave 1. I haven't actually heard whether your first consignment actually arrived? I hope very much it did. But even if it didn't, this should give you a very good representation of 7th century B.C. material from Jerusalem. I hope it will travel all right. Most of the pots that have been mended for drawing have been taken down again to faciliate [sic] safe transport.

I enclose the list. It has been packed in one large case and consigned by sea, so presumably it will take quite a time to arrive.

I hope that it will be possible for you to pay the cost of transport. Our funds are very low indeed, and this would be a real help.

Yours sincerely,

Kathleen M. Kenyon.

 Thompson replied on 11 June 1970, addressing the letter to St Hugh's College Oxford:

Dear Dr Kenyon,

Thank you for your letter of April 21st which arrived this morning. We have already received the bill of lading and the details of the contents. But at the moment we have no news of the arrival. We wait in hope.

Yes, we did receive your earlier consignment and it has already been inspected, admired and studied by our students. Indeed, we put several of the pieces in our pottery exam last October.

We shall pay the cost of transport as agreed. I hope we may be able to send you some more funds out of our research grant....

The enclosed list, headed "Jerusalem Excavations 1967", includes 90 items, each numbered between 7 and 1295 and briefly described. Of the items on this list, all but two (706 and 1287) have been located. A list of objects included in the earlier dispatch has not been found.

The Account Books give "Jerusalem (Kenyon)" as the "Excavation" for objects to which it assigned the UM numbers 1601-1638 and 1702-1715 (the range UM 1601-1800 is classified as Iron Age II). The first 22 objects recorded in the Account Books (UM 1601-1622) are noted to have written on them Jmp registration numbers that are not in the typed quarto list, nor is Jmp 1011 = UM 1705 and 1707. The Jmp registration numbers not on the list are: 92, 187, 189, 193, 259, 335a, 336, 537, 586, 638, 641, 1011, 6896, 6897, 6899, 6959, 7033, 7363, 7373, 7453, 7490, 7566; all except 6959 have been located. It seems not unlikely, therefore, that these 23 objects belong to the first despatch.

Thirteen items were recorded in the Account Books as from "Jerusalem (Kenyon)" but without 'Cave 1' marked on the object. They were assigned UM numbers 1608-1616, 1618-21. Most of these have AA or L prefixes and circled numbers much higher than the others (in the range 6896-7566). They include 4 animal figurines, 4 loom weights, an LMLK jar handle, a lamp, buff ware, and a handle with seal and inscription. It may be that they are not from Cave 1. The other 10 items in the 'first despatch' were all reported to have at least the word 'Cave' written on them. The total number of objects which were found to be marked with the word "cave" is 91.

Four items, accessioned 1970.0340 to 1970.0343 but without other reference, were recorded in the Account book with the findspot "Jerusalem"; they comprise 3 animal figurines and a spindle whorl. UM1622 reports a "Jm Cave 1 895" inscription but declares the Findspot to be Jericho (Kenyon).

Objects from Arad and Michal were assigned the intervening UM numbers 1638-1701, so presumably the listing of UM 1702-1715 - and possibly of the entire UM series - took place after the arrival of the Arad objects in 1975.

The Account Books do not follow the order of the list in assigning UM numbers to the objects that were on the list. As they also give information that is inscribed on the objects but not recorded in the list, the Account Book entries for these objects must have been drawn up from the objects themselves. Further evidence for this is found in the fact that several entries refer to fragments of the same objects: Jmp 923 = UM 1709, 1710, 1714, and two more pieces; Jmp 916 = UM 1636 and 1637 (wrongly recorded in the Account Book as Jmp 735); and Jmp 1011 = UM 1705 and 1707. Kenyon had mentioned that pots mended for drawing were taken down again for safe transport. Preparation of the objects for photography required much mending, and the process revealed that fragments of the same vessel had been assigned separate UM numbers.

Of these objects from Jerusalem, 22 were included in Andrew Jamieson's 1988 catalogue. In 1993 Christine Elias catalogued and accessioned 24 of the objects with 1970 numbers (except for 0000.0344 = Jmp 241). The rest have now been accessioned, also with 1970 numbers.

Objects not located: Jmp 706 and 1287 are crossed off with all the others on a carbon copy of the list, so they were probably dispatched and/or arrived. As the Account Books included only 29 of the objects on the list, they give no clue as to when these two objects went missing. On the other hand, Jmp 6959 (a lamp) was recorded by Jamieson in 1988 and accessioned in 1993 but has not yet been located.

Jamieson proposed that UM 1602 = Jmp 92 should be identified with the Ede Certificate of Authenticity no. E 3601 (26.3.1975), noting that it was not on Kenyon's 1967 list. But Kenyon's list omits all of the first dispatch; and the certificate's date adds to the doubts about this identification.

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