Joppe Gosker, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, explains: “What makes the pottery works so special is its unique kiln, which was hewn in bedrock and is unlike most of the kilns known to us that were built of stone, earth and mud. The ancient workshop included a system for storing water, storage compartments, a kiln, etc.”
The kiln’s meticulously constructed two chambers included a firebox in which branches were inserted for burning, and a chamber where the pottery vessels were placed to be fired.
Mr. Gosker says that the ceramic debris around the kiln shows that two types of vessels were manufactured here: storage jars that could be transported overland, and jars with large handles that were used to store wine or oil which were exported from Israel by sea.
The region around Shlomi was particularly suited for such a pottery factory because it has chalk bedrock, which on the one hand is soft and therefore easily quarried, and on the other is sufficiently strong to endure the intense heat.