Title

Assessing sacred asses: Bronze Age donkey burials in the Near East

Publication Date

Fall 2010

Abstract

This study provides the most comprehensive archaeological survey of deliberate donkey burials in the ancient Near East. It comprises the updated results from a chapter of my doctoral dissertation — The Ceremonial and Symbolic Significance of Donkeys in the Biblical World (Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, 2006). First, donkey burials from sites in Egypt, Israel- Palestine, Syria, and Iraq are summarized in a brief historical overview that spans the entire 3rd and 2nd millennia BC. Second, the donkey burials are interpreted under the rubric of five ceremonial contexts — those associated with human graves, those unrelated to human graves, those situated beneath walls, those situated in a fill covering a temple complex, and finally, those situated in a special tomb beside a temple. This study demonstrates that the donkey held a special status in the ceremonial practices of the ancient Near East.

Keywords

Donkeys; Bronze age

Publication Title

Levant

Volume

42

Issue

2

First Page

210

Last Page

225

DOI of Published Version

10.1179/175638010X12797246583852

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