Make No Bones about It!

Make No Bones about ItAncient trash reveals the eating habits of Jews 2,000 years ago

Sometimes archaeologists discover more or less what we would expect, or so it seemed from a recent news story. It was reported that Tel Aviv University archaeologists, investigating Bayis Sheini-period Jerusalem, had discovered evidence that Jews of that era were eating lots of sheep and goats, smaller numbers of chickens and cows, and guess what—no pork. The study was based on an analysis of some 5,700 animal bones excavated in the area of the City of David (officially Area D3, termed the Southern Cut).

The project was part of a general trend to turn towards aspects of daily life in archaeological research. In fact, all over the world archaeologists have been turning to garbage as a source for information about how people lived. In this excavation, the archaeologists, led by Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Yuval Gadot, were even able to determine that the animals tended to be older, hence less expensive, and not the best cuts of meat available on the market. They therefore concluded that the garbage had not come from the city’s elite but rather from more simple people. Moreover, because pigeon bones were absent, they also determined that pigeons were only eaten as part of the sacrificial ritual.

But it turns out that there was much more to learn from these excavations.

Read the rest of this article from Ami Magazine.

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