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Triangle Markings Studied in Chalcolithic Stone Bowls

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Israel Basalt Bowl PatternHAIFA, ISRAEL—According to a report from The Times of Israel, mysterious incised triangular markings have been found on hundreds of basalt vessels unearthed in the Levant and dating to the Chalcolithic period, roughly 4500 to 3900 B.C. University of Haifa graduate student Rivka Chasan first noticed the odd marks on the inside rims of the stone bowls several years ago, and since then the small, downward-pointing triangles have been identified on vessels uncovered throughout much of present-day Israel. The triangles appear to have meant something to the people of the time, suggests Danny Rosenberg, also of the University of Haifa. “They’re all the same size, facing down, nearly always in the inside,” he said. “There were rules, and they were not just aesthetic rules. What they were for, we don’t yet know.” The researchers believe the vessels were produced in central places of manufacture and then transported to settlements for use. The basalt bowls were labor-intensive to make, and given that pottery, which can be worked much more quickly, was also in use at the time, the researchers believe the stone vessels must have held a traditional appeal. They are often found alongside other valuable items, such as ivory and copper artifacts. To read about decorated bowls from the American Southwest, go to “On the Trail of the Mimbres.”

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