|Findspot (DEChriM ID)||34 (Ǧabal al-Ṭārif)||Class||Cooking/table/transport/storage ware|
Bowl believed to have been used as a lid covering the jar said to have contained the Naǧʿ Ḥammādī codices. The bowl corresponds to the Gempeler T210B and probably also Bailey C407 types. It is a local imitation of North-African terra sigillata in Aswān clay, with an orange polished slip and painted decoration on the rim (group O of Rodziewicz 1976). The production of these bowls is situated between the last quarter of the fourth and the first half of the sixth century, although rare examples datable probably to the mid-seventh century were found at al-Ṭūd (Pierrat 1995: 35-36; Pierrat 1996: pl. 8 and fig. 115-116). A similar bowl found probably at Aḫmīm was recently dated to the 2nd-3rd century CE (El-Sayed and Lakomy 2017; El-Sayed, Lakomy, Ehler, Fluck, Herzberg-Beiersdorf and Zorn 2021: 270), but the dating in this case is questionable.
On the outer surface, the bowl features black traces of an organic substance, maybe resin. Descriptions of this substance as “bitumen” (Robinson 1977: 21; Robinson 1981: 38; Robinson 1990: 23; Robinson 1997: 6) or as “tar-like” (Goehring 2006: 363) are directly related to the overall interpretation of the object (“l ) in the narratives produced by James M. Robinson and embraced in both scholarship and the wider audience. The substance has not been subjected to testing.
|Selection criteria||Archaeological context associated with Christian markers|
|Absolute/relative date||Relative date|
Uncertain. According to one of James M. Robinsonʼs versions of the narrative of the discovery of the Naǧʿ Ḥammādī codices (Robinson 1977a: 21; Robinson 1977b: 2; Robinson 1979: 213-214; Robinson 1981: 37-38; Robinson 1984: 104), the bowl would have been taken from the findspot of the manuscripts by Ḫalīfa ʿAlī, brother of Muḥammad ʿAlī Ḫalīfa al-Sammān, the supposed ʻdiscovererʼ. Ḫalīfa would have then left it in the house of the Coptic family of Sāmī ʿAbd al-Malāk, for whom he worked as a camel driver. In 1976, Robinson acquired it fromfor the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity of Claremont Graduate University. The bowl was finally purchased in the 1990s by The Schøyen Collection. Doubts in regards to Robinsonʼs narrative(s) were expressed by Wilfred Griggs (Griggs 1990: 176, 217 [n. 20]), one of the members of the team that carried out excavations at Ǧabal al-Ṭārif.