The Faunal Evidence from Early Roman Jerusalem: The People behind the Garbage

Abra Spiciarich, Yuval Gadot, Lidar Sapir-Hen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This is a study of the animal remains from the Early Roman period landfill in the “City of David” ridge, the largest assemblage of fauna published from Jerusalem. The research includes both a zooarchaeological and taphonomical study and has a twofold objective: first, to understand landfill site formation processes and the activities related to it; and second, to examine the social and religious identity of the inhabitants of the different sectors of Jerusalem’s ‘Lower City’. The results are assessed in light of previously investigated contemporaneous faunal assemblages that originated in other parts of the city, as well as from the northern part of the same landfill, which is closer to the Temple Mount. The study demonstrates that garbage was dispatched to the city dump in an organized manner. It identifies the producers of the waste as Jewish. It also establishes that the portion of landfill excavated and published here includes garbage from daily secular activities rather than from cultic endeavours, to differ from previously excavated assemblages from the same landfill, which is composed of refuse originating from ritual pursuits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-117
Number of pages20
JournalTel Aviv
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2017


  • Jerusalem
  • Jewish dietary laws
  • Kidron Valley
  • Roman period
  • Settlement refuse
  • Temple Mount
  • Zooarchaeology


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