web analytics
August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Rare Discovery of 3,500-Year-Old Donkey in Israel

At about the same time the Jewish people were slaves in Egypt, a young donkey was sacrificed in what is now Israel and was placed under a house. In a rare discovery, Archaeologists found the skeleton.
The donkey burial found at Tel Haror. Note the 1992 find of the donkey's skull with the bridle bit in the box at right.

The donkey burial found at Tel Haror. Note the 1992 find of the donkey's skull with the bridle bit in the box at right.
Photo Credit: PLusONE

Archaeologists north of Be’er Sheva have discovered the skeleton of a  3,500-year-old donkey, complete with a copper bridle in its mouth and saddle bags on its back.

The rare find led Israeli researchers to conclude that the donkey, estimated to be only four years at the time of its death, was sacrificed as part of a Bronze Age ritual at a time when donkeys enjoyed a respected status.

Donkeys are frequently mentioned in the Bible, with the most famous one being the “talking mule” of the non-Jew Balaam, who was paid by King Balak to curse Israel but ended up blessing the People of Israel as they stood on the edge of the desert before entering the Promised Land.

Donkeys were the beast of burden, were used on trade routes and were so important during the founding of ancient Egypt that skeletons of donkeys have been found in graves of pharaohs.

The skeleton that was found at an archaeological site near Kiryat Gat, located approximately 15 miles north of Be’er Sheva and 50 miles or so southeast of Tel Aviv, indicates that the young donkey was spared hard labor.

Guy Bar-Oz of the University of Haifa, who headed the research team at the Tel Haror site, said that donkey was laid on its left side, with its limbs neatly bent. It probably was sacrificed, and the copper bridle bit probably was symbolic because the animal’s teeth showed that the bit was not used.

“The absence of any sign of bit wear on the lower premolars indicates that the animal was not ridden or driven with a bit for prolonged periods of time,” the researchers write in a paper published online this week in the online journal PLoS ONE. “Moreover, the young donkey was still in the process of shedding its teeth and permanent teeth were just erupting. Based on its age, the Haror donkey would probably have been too young to be a trained draught animal.”

The bit is  the only one from the Bronze Age to have been found in the mouth of hoofed mammals.

A sign that the donkey had been sacrificed in a rite was a pile of bones from sheep and goats that were found near the donkey’s carcass.

“The Tel Haror interment represents the only known example of a donkey within a ritual context that was symbolically harnessed with a horse bit and bearing saddlebags, and, thus, sheds important light on both the functional and symbolic role of equids in the Ancient Near East,” the research team wrote on PLosOne.

“The location, grouping, dimensions and symmetrical placement of the fittings, leads us to suggest that they represent the remains of fasteners for saddlebags that was composed of decayed organic material, such as leather,” they added.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Rare Discovery of 3,500-Year-Old Donkey in Israel”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israeli soccer players flee  angry Bulgarian fans.
Violent Bulgarian Soccer Fans Chase Israeli Team off the Field [video]
Latest News Stories
Islamic peacher al-Mughrabi at the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

The Muslims preacher is a permanent fixture on the Temple Mount to incite Muslims but finally has been arrested.

Israeli soccer players flee  angry Bulgarian fans.

The “friendly” game was cancelled after the fans took over the soccer field.

Yitzhak Rabin (L.) and Yigal Alon in 1949

Late PM Yitzhak Rabin’s granddaughter has announced her launch into politics.

Israeli soldiers deployed at the Gaza security fence shot over the heads of Arabs who had approached the no-go zone Monday, Palestinian Authority media reported. No one was injured. Arabs frequently approached the security fence, usually with intentions to infiltrate into Israel or to carry out a terrorist attack on the spot. Palestinian Authority media […]

Iranian double talk is clear when a top official praises the nuclear deal but warns of no IAEA inspector access to military sites.

President Rouhani tells Iranians his nation has the right to enrich uranium under the new nuclear deal.

Egypt’s Pres. El-Sisi signs law that paves the way to new parliamentary elections.

Israel’s Security Cabinet classifies Duma arson as “terror attack,” creates ministerial counter terror committee.

RJC Demands Obama stop demonizing Jews for opposing the Iran deal.

Arabs and Jews rallied together for co-existence Sunday at the Gush Etzion junction, joined by MK Yair Lapid.

Settlers, Sheikhs, Rabbis and secular politicians came together on Sunday evening for a joint prayer session at the Gush Etzion junction.

Israelis have broken the nation’s record for energy consumption in this week’s heat wave.

The body of missing Israeli back packer Dor Cohen has been found in Georgia.

A 16-year-old girl has died of her wounds after being stabbed at Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade.

Officials looked again at the sprouting wildfires after a terror victim memorial was torched in Mt. Hebron.

There is a new kind of arms race that involves producing the most impenetrable virtual fortresses of cybersecurity to resist catastrophic threats.

More Articles from Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
Islamic peacher al-Mughrabi at the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

The Muslims preacher is a permanent fixture on the Temple Mount to incite Muslims but finally has been arrested.

Israeli soccer players flee  angry Bulgarian fans.

The “friendly” game was cancelled after the fans took over the soccer field.

His new book is called “Palestine” a features a cover showing a map of “what used to be Israel” and with the word “Palestine” plastered over it.

As Secretary of State, she did know what to say about the Goldstone Report that condemned Israel for alleged war crimes.

Homosexual leaders who organized last night’s rally in Tel Aviv demanded that speakers sign a pledge supporting their cause.

State Dept. claims Congress is “looped in,” but IAEA head refuse to testify at Senate hearings.

The IDF and police are combing Judea and Samaria to search and arrest the attackers.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/rare-discovery-of-3500-year-old-donkey-in-israel/2013/03/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: