Day 14 Photo Tour
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Today's photo tour looks at the importance of bones excavated at this site.

According to our zooarchaeolgist, 
Edward F. Maher,
bone fragments give us a hint about the local economy in antiquity. Based on data such as the age of death we can infer how animals were exploited, such as if they were being slaughtered for meat, or if they were valued for their secondary products such as hair, wool, dairy or as beasts of burden (work animals).


This sample illustrates the size range of the bones that have been found at this site.  The larger bone is the lower front leg (radius and fused ulna) of a cow, while the smaller example is the wing bone (metacarpus) of a bird.  The larger bone was actually pieced together from a dozen fragments found separately in the field. Reconstruct individual bone fragments is enables one to take measurements of the now complete bone, thereby - giving us the opportunity to determine the sex of the specimen as well as population diversity.

This example of a worked bone was fashioned from the rib of a large animal, possibly a cow. This artifact may have been worn as a piece of jewelry. However, this particular find requires further analysis before its true function can be determined.

This small piece of bone has been hand carved, resembling the back side of a comb. On the side not shown, it is polished - or hand worked.

These shark/ray vertebrae are interesting because they indicate trade routes that connect this site to the Mediterranean Sea or the Red Sea.


This photo shows a sheep/goat mandible (left) in comparison to a dog mandible (right), demonstrating that the occupants of the land had domesticated animals. It is especially important to find sheep/goat (ovicapirne) teeth still affixed to jaw bones as it allows for a more precise estimate for the age of death of the animal based on dental wear.

This element (thoracic vertebrae), probably from a sheep or a goat--as sheep and goat bones typically dominate excavated faunal material from Middle East in the historic period. This example exhibits butchery marks inflicted by metal or stone tools.  Slaughter marks of this nature and in this anatomical position likely indicates that this animal had been utilized for human consumption.

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