Bin There, Done That: Storage Bins at Tell en-Nasbeh and the Role of the State

Posted in: Annual Meeting, ASOR, ASORTV
Tags: annual meeting, Archaeology, Cornell University, Early Bronze Age, food storage, iron age, Jeffrey Zorn, Jerusalem, Roman period, storage bin
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At the 2014 ASOR Annual Meeting, Jeffrey Zorn of Cornell University presented his paper, “Bin There, Done That: Storage Bins at Tell en-Nasbeh and the Role of the State,” during the Archaeology of the Southern Levant I session. The session was dedicated to specific features, aspects, and/or objects from the Early Bronze Age to the Roman period in the southern Levant. His paper discusses the storage bins of an Iron Age II town, and who owned these bins. Was it the town? Was it the state? Was it a combination? You can watch Dr. Zorn’s engaging paper presentation below.

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Abstract from the 2014 Annual Meeting Program book.

Bin There, Done That: Storage Bins at Tell en-Nasbeh and the Role of the State

W. F. Badè’s excavations at Tell en-Nasbeh (12 km north of Jerusalem) between 1926 and 1935 uncovered about two-thirds of the entire site. Most of the building remains belong to the Iron Age II. One aspect of the site’s architecture that has not received significant discussion is the presence of more than sixty intramural storage bins. When the site’s massive inset-offset wall was constructed down slope from the original settlement’s casemate-like wall the space in between was filled in and leveled with debris. The cobblestone-lined storage bins were dug into the fill around the southern half of the site. Their location, away from the town’s dwellings, raises the question of who owned the bins and their contents. Were they the property of the town’s inhabitants? While this remains a possibility, this paper argues that the interconnections between the fortifications, the intramural drain system, and the bins suggest that the bins were constructed as part of a single royal project, and thus were the property of the state.

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