Fish in ancient Jerusalem: Trade and consumption of fish in an inland site from the Iron Ages to the Early Islamic period

Abra Spiciarich*, Omri Lernau, Lidar Sapir-Hen, Yiftah Shalev, Yuval Gadot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ichthyological evidence that is available for the import and trade of fish into ancient Jerusalem is summarized against the backdrop of social and political developments of the Iron Ages to Early Islamic periods (10th century BCE to 10th century CE). Fish remains, originating from the Nile River, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, and the Lake of Galilee, are regularly found in excavations of Jerusalem. Jerusalem's nearest water source, the Gihon spring, does not allow for fish habitation, therefore the remains of fish represent trade imports. The aim of this paper is to assess the production and trade of fish through the lens of new assemblages from the City of David, in Area D3, and from the Givati Parking Lot excavations, in Area 10, dating to the 8th through 2nd centuries BCE. These finds also allowed us to explore production and consumption within ancient urban centers that engaged in long-distance commerce. These assemblages, paired with previously published assemblages, allow for an in-depth diachronic perspective of fish consumption and trade. Results of this research indicate that production techniques varied by species and that trade was sustained after the destruction of the city in 586 BCE. It also attests to changes in trade and consumption as a reaction to political and cultural changes in the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103430
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - Jun 2022


FundersFunder number
Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen ForschungCRSII1 160785/1


    • Fish
    • In-land Economies
    • Jerusalem
    • Production
    • Southern Levant
    • Trade
    • Zooarchaeology


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