Animal Rituals from the Persian Period at Tel Dor

Lidar Sapir-Hen, Yiftah Shalev

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


A unique circular feature comprising a deliberate deposit of five layers of animal bones and pottery sherds was uncovered in a stratum dated to the Persian period at Tel Dor. The bones included mainly equids and cattle. Their relative frequencies, skeletal-element completeness and exploitation differed significantly from daily-life practices at Tel Dor, as reflected in the animal economy. The pottery sherds included large handles of jars and amphorae, common types within the pottery assemblages at the site, that were chosen, most probably, due to their resemblance to long bones. It is suggested that the significance of this unique deposit is related to its location in proximity to ten dog burials, in a small area that possibly served both for dumping refuse and for ceremonial purposes. Based on the characteristics of the deposit and considering possible influences of Achaemenid religion on southern Phoenician culture, we argue that the bone-pottery deposit represents a local version of a non-institutionalized purification ritual.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaterial, Method, and Meaning
Subtitle of host publicationPapers in Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology in Honor of Ilan Sharon
EditorsUri Davidovich, Naama Yahalom-Mack, Sveta Мatskevich
Place of PublicationMünster
Pages117-129, 410
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9783963271779
ISBN (Print)9783963271762
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NameÄgypten und Altes Testament
ISSN (Print)0720-9061


  • Tel Dor
  • Persian period
  • animal bones
  • ritual
  • dog burials
  • Sharon Plain
  • southern Phoenicia

RAMBI Publications

  • rambi
  • Animal remains (Archaeology) -- Eretz Israel
  • Ritual -- Eretz Israel -- History
  • Eretz Israel -- History -- Post-exilic period, 586 B.C.-210 A.D -- Fiction
  • Dor (Extinct city) (Israel) -- Antiquities


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