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Intentional cooking pot deposits in Late Roman Jerash (Northwest Quarter)

New publication by Achim Lichtenberger (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) and Rubina Raja (UrbNet, AU).

Lichtenberger, A. & Raja, R. (2015). Intentional cooking pot deposits in Late Roman Jerash (Northwest Quarter). Syria. Archéologie, Art et Histoire, 92, 309-238.


During the 2012 campaign of the Danish-German Northwest Quarter Project in Jerash, ancient Gerasa, three intentionally deposited cooking pots were found in a fill layer. Two of them were almost intact and discovered with ashes and other finds inside. Another one was fragmented and also held ashes inside. The cooking pot deposits are likely to have been termination deposits. It is the scope of this paper to discuss the context and function of these deposits and of comparable evidences. No completely conclusive explanation for the three deposited cooking pots from the Northwest Quarter can be given, but the context gives clear indications that they were deposited intentionally and were only in some sort of use for a short period of time. They were not part of an installation, such as a kitchen or production complex and they were not part of an ancient dump. The homogenous fill layers surrounding them indicate a rapid and intentional filling —a process in which these deposited pots played a role. We here suggest a possible ritual or magic function of these pots as termination deposits, but this can only be confirmed further by comparable finds excavated and documented in detail at other sites as well as better knowledge of the room that was backfilled and ritually closed with termination deposits. The main purpose of this article is to raise awareness of such deposits in archaeological contexts, which may too often be overlooked.