|View of Early Roman Jerusalem city-dump looking south-west|
"Holy Garbage": A Quantitative Study of the City-Dump of Early Roman Jerusalem" published in the June 2007 issue of Levant details the chance discovery of an Early Roman city dump (1st century CE) in Jerusalem that has yielded for the first time ever quantitative data on garbage components that introduce us to the mundane daily life Jerusalemites led and the kind of animals that were featured in their diet.
Most of the garbage consists of pottery shards, all common tableware, while prestige objects are entirely absent. Other significant garbage components include numerous fragments of cooking ovens, wall plaster, animal bones and plant remains. Of the pottery vessels, cooking pots are the most abundant type. Most of the refuse turns out to be “household garbage” originating in the domestic areas of the city, while large numbers of cooking pots may point to the presence of pilgrims. Significantly, the faunal assemblage, which is dominated by kosher species and the clear absence of pigs, set Jerusalem during its peak historical period apart from all other contemporaneous Roman urban centers.
The following is an excerpt from the introduction:
|Dismemberment cut mark on an axis and a long bone of a sheep-goat specimen.|
The greater part of the ‘second tithe’ was consumed by the pilgrims themselves, within the boundaries of the city. From the animal offerings the Pessah offering was consumed completely by the pilgrim, as well as greater parts of the Zebah Shelamim offering. Due to activities associated with the Temple and its animal sacrifice rites, Jerusalem’s population, whether native or foreign, was a major consumer of meat. While historical and archaeological records have given us a wealth of insights into Jerusalem’s religious rites and practices, we know virtually nothing about how people in the city spent their daily lives and the kind of animals that were featured in their diet."
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