Of mudbrick and stone: A geoarchaeological view on innovations in building practices at Hellenistic Tell Iẓṭabba

Marta Lorenzon, Benjamín Cutillas-Victoria, Achim Lichtenberger, Oren Tal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The recent excavations at Tell Iẓṭabba undertaken by the German-Israeli Tell Iẓṭabba Excavation Project have revealed an important sequence of architectural structures, indicating the settlement’s strategic position on the perimeter of the Jordan Valley. The earthen architecture present at the site has been little explored to date as a key source of evidence to provide social information on past societies and their relationship with the natural environment. This study presents the geoarchaeological results of the analyses of mudbricks and calcareous redzina paleosol blocks dated to the Early Bronze Age and the Hellenistic period. The methodology combined portable X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF), wavelength dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (WDXRF), calcimetry, CH elemental analysis and optical petrography. The analysis of manufacturers’ choices reveals the probable concomitant existence of skilled and unskilled workforces, in addition to informing us about the diachronic complexity pertaining to the earthen construction at the site. Our findings also shed light on the Tell Iẓṭabba community relationship with its local architecture, opening up new perspectives regarding the procurement processes and environmental determinism of the construction practices along the Ḥarod river.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104389
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - Apr 2024


FundersFunder number
Helsingin Yliopisto
European Commission
German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and DevelopmentI-150-108.7-2017
Academy of Finland348400
Tel Aviv University
Università degli Studi di Ferrara


    • Southern Levant
    • Early Bronze Age
    • Hellenistic period
    • Earthen architecture
    • Craft specialists
    • Geoarchaeology


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