web analytics
August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 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
Former Arkansas Governor and current presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee in Jerusalem.
Official PA Media Calls Huckabee ‘Inane Creature’ and ‘Wicked Man’
Latest News Stories

The car headed towards a group of four soldiers in Hebron, striking one.

Prince Albert II of Monaco

The ruler of the Principality of Monaco, Prince Albert II, on Thursday issued a formal apology for his country’s role in deporting Jews to Nazi death camps during World War II.

Obama and Jewish Organization Leaders

Speaking to Jewish leaders and the American Jewish community on Friday afternoon, President Barack Obama said he’s had arguments with the Israeli leadership because he considers them his friends.

Hillary Rodham Clinton.

She denies that her criticism of Republicans wanting to put immigrants in “boxcars” was a reference to the Holocaust.

Iranian President Rouhani said Saturday the parliament should not vote on the nuclear deal so that it will not become a legal obligation.

The airport workers; committees new excuse to shut down the airport is to hold a solidarity strike with the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

The daily also accuses the US of being the “biggest settlement country” that “enslaves millions of Hispanics.”

Swiss Ambassador Portrays U.S. and Iran as doves of peace defecating on Netanyahu.

He will arrive Sunday and will be “updated on strategic issues,” meaning Iran.

The boundary, enabling Jewish students to carry on Shabbat, will be made of plastic “lechies” on utility poles.

The café opened in 1939 and was closed n 1949.

A growing number of Arabs in Gaza are calling on people to burn down Hamas institutions.

An Oxford University professor’s new book uncovers what most Israelis know – that the Americans are not “Wild West” cowboys.

A report by the entity responsible for ensuring the peaceful development of nuclear energy worldwide and the one upon which the world depends for monitoring Iran’s nuclear activity revealed that over the past few months Iran has been working on and adding to a building at its Parchin site. Parchin is an Iranian military complex located southeast of Tehran. It […]

Israeli artists build an ice wall at the Davidson Center, near the Kotel in Jerusalem. The wall was based on a piece by American artist Allan Kaprow who built something similar in Israel, in 1980, perpendicular to the Temple Mount. Photos by Yonatan Sindel / Flash90.

About 30 protesters from the Jewish Defense League on Wednesday evening stood at a picket line holding Israeli and Canadian flags outside billionaire Bernard (Barry) Sherman’s north Toronto home during his cocktail fundraiser for the Liberal party.

More Articles from Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
Hillary Rodham Clinton.

She denies that her criticism of Republicans wanting to put immigrants in “boxcars” was a reference to the Holocaust.

Presidents Rouhani and Obama.

Iranian President Rouhani said Saturday the parliament should not vote on the nuclear deal so that it will not become a legal obligation.

The airport workers; committees new excuse to shut down the airport is to hold a solidarity strike with the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

The daily also accuses the US of being the “biggest settlement country” that “enslaves millions of Hispanics.”

He will arrive Sunday and will be “updated on strategic issues,” meaning Iran.

The boundary, enabling Jewish students to carry on Shabbat, will be made of plastic “lechies” on utility poles.

A growing number of Arabs in Gaza are calling on people to burn down Hamas institutions.

An Oxford University professor’s new book uncovers what most Israelis know – that the Americans are not “Wild West” cowboys.

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: