Matthers, J., D. J. Liddy, G. W. A. Newton, V. J. Robinson and H. Al-Tawel
1983 Black-on-Red Ware in the Levant: A Neutron Activation Analysis Study. Journal of Archaeological Science 10(4):369-382.


Black-on-red ware was widely used throughout the Eastern Mediterranean between about the 11th and 8th centuries BC. Its origins have been much discussed: its ubiquitous appearance throughout the region could be a result of either several manufacturing regions or a single place of manufacture associated with considerable trading in the ware.

In the present study, neutron activation analysis has been carried out for 15 chemical elements in 58 specimens of black-on-red ware from Cyprus (11), Syria (26) and Palestine (21). The analytical results clearly separate the ware into three major groups, corresponding to origins in Palestine, Syria and Cyprus. The hypothesis of a single source of the ware is therefore not tenable. All 14 of the Syrian finds of the single-handled neck ridge juglet are closely grouped with the Cyprus samples, indicating extensive trade in this vessel from Cyprus to Syria. The Palestine samples clearly separate into two sub-groups. Arguments are presented suggesting that this indicates the ware from the two sub-groups was made at different times. The Cyprus group provides tentative evidence of several sites of manufacture on the island.