During June 2008, a bronze spatula was discovered at Mezad Hashavyahu (map ref. 170890/646294), while overseeing infrastructure work. The antiquities inspection was conducted by M. Mulokandov. The spatula was documented by E. Jakoel and F. Volynsky, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, with the assistance of A. Gorzalczany (photography) and H. Ben-Ari (GPS).
Mezad Hashavyahu is located on the kurkar ridge along the Mediterranean coast, c. 1.7 km south of Tel Yavne-Yam and c. 3 km south of Qibbuz Palmahim (Fig. 1). The name of the site derives from the name “Hashavyahu ben Ya…”, which appears on an ostracon that was discovered at the site (Naveh J. 2005. Mesad Hashavyahu; Forty Years after the Excavation. In M. Fischer [ed.]. Yavne, Yavne-Yam and their Surroundings. Tel Aviv, pp. 107–108). The name of the ancient site is unknown. Remains of an L-shaped fortress that dated to the late seventh century BCE were discovered in excavations at the site. A gate, towers, guard rooms, houses, streets and large public courtyards were exposed in the fortress (Naveh, J. 1962. The Excavations at Mezad Hashavyahu—Preliminary Report. IEJ 12:89–103; ESI 5:68–69; Fantalkin A, 2005. Mezad Hashavyahu: An Analysis of the Material Finds and Their Contribution to Reconstructing the Historical Events of the Late Iron Age. In M. Fischer [ed.] Yavne, Yavne-Yam and their Surroundings. Tel Aviv, pp. 83–106).
The well-preserved bronze spatula (length 0.14 m; Fig. 2) was discovered in a sand dune on a hill. The spatula was used as a kohl stick. One end is slightly thickened and intended for applying the makeup, while the other end is shaped like a tiny teaspoon and was used to remove the powder from the container. A plaited geometric pattern is embossed next to the teaspoon edge. The spatula was first dipped in water or scented oil and then in the powdered makeup (Dayagi-Mendels M. 1989. Perfume and Make-up in Antiquity. Jerusalem, pp. 132–136). Cosmetic accessories were very popular in antiquity. Makeup spatulae had usually a fairly standard format. They were discovered throughout the country and were dated from the Chalcolithic to the Ottoman periods. Our spatula belongs to the plain type, which has a carinated application surface (Naveh 1962: Pl. 12D: 4).
A bronze spatula and possibly several fragments of other spatulae were discovered in the former excavations at Mezad Hashavyahu. The stratigraphic context of our artifact is unclear, but its proximity to Mezad Hashavyahu is likely to suggest its connection to this site.