Animal Husbandry in Ancient Israel: A Zooarchaeological Perspective on Livestock Exploitation, Herd Management and Economic Strategies

Animal Husbandry in Ancient Israel: A Zooarchaeological Perspective on Livestock Exploitation, Herd Management and Economic Strategies

by Aharon Sasson
     
 

Animal Husbandry in Ancient Israel demonstrates four diverse and innovative perspectives on the study of caprine and cattle husbandry in the Southern Levantine Bronze and Iron Age. The first perspective is a comparative analysis of zooarchaeological and ethnographic data from 70 sites and strata as well as wide-ranging anthropological resources on economic

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Overview

Animal Husbandry in Ancient Israel demonstrates four diverse and innovative perspectives on the study of caprine and cattle husbandry in the Southern Levantine Bronze and Iron Age. The first perspective is a comparative analysis of zooarchaeological and ethnographic data from 70 sites and strata as well as wide-ranging anthropological resources on economic strategies, pastoral-nomadism and sedentism. The comparative analysis proposes new insights on primary aspects of animal husbandry in the Southern Levant such as the sheep/goat ratio, caprine/cattle ratio and utilization of caprine products. The second perspective is spatial. It is founded on GIS (Geographic information system) analysis of spatial distribution of faunal remains in stratum II at Tel Beer-Sheba, Israel. This study sheds light on the intra-site social stratification as reflected by food refuse left behind by the inhabitants of the site. The third perspective is sagittal and founded on taphonomic analysis investigating pre-depositional and post-depositional agents that might have altered the zooarchaeological assemblage in stratum II of Tel Beer-Sheba. The taphonomic processes span four major phases from the time animals were consumed by man to the time they were uncovered by archaeologists. The fourth perspective is ethnographic. It is founded on copious statistical data on livestock holding in Mandatory Palestine in the 1940s. This study contributes to our understating of the component of animal husbandry in human diet. All four perspectives point to a common denominator - the paramount strategy held by most nomadic, rural and urban Southern Levantine populations in the Bronze and Iron Age was a survival subsistence strategy rather than a market-oriented strategy. Trade transactions were rare and the common household maintained a conservative and a self-sufficient economy. The zooarchaeological record demonstrates how the survival subsistence strategy focused on preserving stability, minimizing risks and sustaining a long-term survival rather than specializing in animal products or trading them.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781845531799
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
06/30/2010
Series:
Approaches to Anthropological Archaeology Series
Pages:
151
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

Acknowledgments

1 Introduction 1

On the zooarchaeological perspective 1

The zooarchaeological research of the Bronze and Iron Age in Israel: a brief overview 2

What is this book about? 4

2 A Comparative Perspective: The Survival Subsistence Strategy---Animal Husbandry and Economic Strategies in the Bronze and Iron Age 6

Introduction 6

The survival subsistence strategy 10

Subsistence strategies of pastoral-nomads 14

áHomo sapiens sedentus' and áHomo sapiens nomadus' 23

Economic strategies of sedentists 29

The survival subsistence strategy: summary and conclusions 60

3 The Faunal Remains from Tel Beer-Sheba, Stratum II 62

Methods 62

Results and discussion 63

4 A Spatial Perspective: Controlling Space and the Zooarchaeological Record---A GIS Spatial Analysis of Faunal Remains in Stratum II, Tel Beer-Sheba 74

Methods and materials 75

The nature of faunal remains in archaeological sites 75

Results and discussion 76

5 A Sagittal Perspective: Taphonomic Study of Tel Sites---A Case Study from Tel Beer-Sheba 93

Introduction 93

Phase one The death assemblage 94

Phase two Pre-depositional processes 98

Phase three Post-depositional processes 100

Phase four The archaeological excavation 103

Conclusions 105

6 An Ethnographic Perspective: Animal Husbandry and Human Diet--- Ethnographic Study of Premodern Villages in Mandatory Palestine 108

Introduction 108

The research area 108

Methodology 111

Discussion 114

Conclusions 117

7 Conclusions 119

The six pillars of the survival subsistence strategy 119

The survival subsistence strategy and the zooarchaeological perspective 121

References 124

Index 146

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