Suter Uehlinger

Fakultäten » Theologische Fakultät » Religionswissenschaftliches Seminar » Prof. Dr. Christoph Uehlinger » Suter Uehlinger

Completed research project

Title / Titel The Ivories from Samaria: Complete Catalogue, Stylistic Classification, Iconographical Analysis, Cultural-Historical Evaluation
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Summary / Zusammenfassung In Biblical prophecy, Samaria, capital of the kingdom of Israel during the 9th and 8th centuries BCE, is condemned for its "ivory houses" and palaces displaying "pagan" wealth and luxury (Am. 3:15, 1 Kgs. 22:39). Remains of luxury furniture made of wood and ivory have been excavated at Samaria between 1908 and 1935. They represent the most important collection of 1st millennium ivory carvings found in the Levant. Poor publication, however, has prevented scholarship from properly assessing their cultural-historical significance. Moreover, the study of the material has suffered from biblical prejudice, attributing the entire collection to imported Phoenician workmanship.
This project aims at a balanced assessment of the ivory carvings from Samaria in line with current standards in ivory studies, cultural history and religious studies. While the excavators' final report from 1938 includes only a small portion of the material (c. 200 items), this project will produce a comprehensive catalogue of all ivory objects, amounting to over 12'000 items. A classification of the material according to style and carving technique shall allow a reconsideration of the chronological and regional distribution of the Southern Levantine ivory industry in the early first millennium BCE. A critical edition of the letters serving as fitter's marks, some of which are Hebrew, will provide additional arguments for the discussion on the carvings' origin and diffusion. The analytical part of the project will also investigate the imagery carved on the furniture panels and the function of the objects. The synthesis finally will address the ivories' significance for the study of ancient Israel's relations with her neighbors, including issues of Syro-Palestinian religious history during the 9th and 8th centuries BCE.
Weitere Informationen
Publications / Publikationen C.E. Suter, Ch. Uehlinger (eds.), Crafts and Images in Contact. Studies in Eastern Mediterranen art of the first millennium B.C.E. (Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 210), Fribourg: Academic Press - Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2005.
Keywords / Suchbegriffe Ivory studies, archaeology, Ancient Near East, Ancient Israel, Samaria, Phoenicia, Aram, cultural contact, iconography, North-West Semitic epigraphy, Syria-Palestine.
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Dr. Claudia E. Suter (Project Leader)
Prof. Dr. Christoph Uehlinger (Project Leader)
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
SNF (Personen- und Projektförderung), Foundation
Shelby White - Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publication Grants 2005, 2006.
In collaboration with /
In Zusammenarbeit mit
Dr. Georgina Herrmann, Institute of Archaeology, University of London United Kingdom
Prof. Dr. Irene J. Winter, Harvard University United States
The British Museum, London; Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Palestine Exploration Fund, London.
Duration of Project / Projektdauer Apr 2002 to Sep 2008