Khirbet Nisya 1993 -- By: Bryant G. Wood

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 06:4 (Autumn 1993)
Article: Khirbet Nisya 1993
Author: Bryant G. Wood


Khirbet Nisya 1993

Bryant G. Wood

Plan of two Persian period pottery kilns found at Kh. Nisya in 1993.

The tenth season of excavations at Kh. Nisya was conducted August 22-September 9, 1993, by the Associates for Biblical Research under the direction of David Livingston. Twenty-four volunteers from the United States carried out the work. The outstanding discovery of the season was two adjacent stone-built pottery kilns from the Persian period found on the north-west side of the site.

The Persian Period extended for about 200 years from the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus the Great in 539 BC, to the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. Biblically speaking, this was the time of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther, the prophets Daniel, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi (ca. 539–432 BC), and part of the intertestamental period (ca. 432–4 BC). Ezra and Nehemiah told how the Israelites returned from captivity in Babylon to rebuild the Temple (completed in 516 BC) and the walls of Jerusalem (completed in 445 BC). Men descended from families who once lived in the central hill country, the area where Kh. Nisya is located, returned and resettled the region, and were involved in the rebuilding (Ezr 2:26–28; Neh 7:30–32; 11:31–33). It is

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Kiln A, looking west. The collapsed partition floor can be seen under the meter stick in the foreground. Pottery vessels to be baked were loaded into an upper chamber, now gone, from the top of the bedrock shelf in the background.

Kiln B, looking west. The wall in the center of the kiln divided the firing chamber into two “lobes” and supported a partition floor which held the pottery vessels to be baked. A fire was built just in front of the dividing wall and the hot gases passed through holes in the partition floor to the pottery chamber above.

“Yehud” stamp on a body sherd, written in Aramaic script.

quite possible, then, that the kilns at Kh. Nisya were built and operated by returning exiles.

The Persian period in Palestine was a time of poverty and poor living conditions (see You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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