Answer to What is it? Facebook discussion posted 3/7/12

In last week’s What Is It? Facebook discussion this artifact was presented with multiple choices. After a week’s Facebook discussion, we are happy to be able to provide more detailed information on the artifact. A new What Is It? will be posted to Facebook in the middle of the week—in the mean time, explore the site for more content on Biblical archaeology!

A) Urartian horse stirrup
B) Byzantine door knocker
C) Roman toilet paper holder
D) Egyptian dough roller
E) Israelite pulley

Answer: E) Israelite pulley

This bronze pulley recovered from Iron Age Gezer reveals how ancient craftsmen could make even the most mundane object seem exceptional. Although the pulley’s revolving spindle and its solid metal frame certainly allowed heavy loads to be hoisted with ease up or down on a rope, it is the stylized hands and arms holding the pivots of the spindle that make the piece remarkable and add a touch of the craftsman’s own personality. Unfortunately, we don’t know if he intended the piece to be serious or—more comically—just a helping hand, but the symbolism surely was not lost on those who made use of this handy device.

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