Crown with Building-Façade Decoration and Vultures

Crown with Building Facade Decoration and Vultures

Crown with Building-Façade Decoration and Vultures
H. 17.5 cm; Diam. 16.8 cm
Naḥal Mishmar, 4500–3600 BCE
Israel Antiquities Authority: 1961-177, exhibited at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Photography by Ardon Bar-Hama © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Among the 426 copper objects comprising the hoard found at the Cave of the Treasure, ten were tall, open rings, which have generally been referred to as “crowns.” Traces of repairs on all the crowns indicate that they had been used for an extended period before they were assembled together with the other items to be hidden. This crown presents the most complex iconography. The body of the crown is decorated with incised motifs and a large rectangular opening at its front. At the sides, a pair of animal horns surmounts two rectangular features that are reminiscent of large gates with decorated lintels. Toward the back, two vultures on the rim are depicted as if proceeding toward one of the entrances. Though the function of this and the other so-called crowns remains an enigma, most scholars agree in interpreting them as models of architectural structures.