Courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority

SEEING TRIPLE? If these three jars look identical, that’s for a good reason: They are! Well, almost. All three are examples of the famous collared-rim pithos, a large storage jar characteristic of the Iron Age I (1200–1000 B.C.E.). Scholars have long viewed this vessel as a hallmark of Israelite settlement in the hill country. But today, this form has been identified not only at hill-country sites like Izbet Sartah (pictured) but also at lowland Canaanite cities such as Megiddo and Transjordanian sites like Tall al-‘Umayri. For Rainey, these similarities prove that the ceramic traditions of the early Israelites did not have to originate from the Late Bronze Age Canaanite city-states, as argued by William Dever, but could just as easily have come from the Transjordanian highlands.