Stone was one of the most commonly used materials in ancient Israel. Its local abundance made it suitable for use in the manufacture of many different types of artifacts. Limestone was the most available stone, and was used in building construction as well as in the production of weights, weapons, jewelry, and agricultural tools. Basalt, a volcanic stone, was also commonly used in ancient Israel. The porous nature of basalt made it an ideal material for grinding tools. Despite the prolific use of stone in ancient Israel, it is often undervalued by archaeologists in favor of “prettier” or “more interesting” artifacts. However, stone has much to contribute to the understanding of daily life and the use of natural resources in the ancient world.
We conceived of this exhibit as a response to David Sleeth’s Mining the Collection 2013 exhibit, “Site/Structure,” which is on display in the Doug Adams Gallery from June 6th-August 23rd, 2013. Inspired by David’s pieces, we chose to focus on stone as material and medium. Rather than presenting stone in its archaeological context, we decided to display different sizes, shapes, textures, and types of stone artifacts to illustrate the variety and aesthetics of each individual object. De-contextualizing the objects and interpreting them in this abstract manner is a direct reaction to David’s pieces, which re-imagine individual artifacts and stone architecture. Our approach aims to put the two exhibits in a dialogue of opposition and complement.
This show is the product of the joint venture between the Badè Museum and the Doug Adams Gallery, entitled Mining the Collection, in which the Badè Museum curators work with a resident artist at the Doug Adams Gallery to explore the Tell en-Nasbeh collection together, sharing a variety of ideas and concepts, and creating two exhibits that revolve around a shared interest in a particular aspect of the collection. As noted above, the Doug Adams Gallery exhibit, entitled "Site/Structure," features the work of David Sleeth. For more information, visit the Doug Adams Gallery Website.