This is a dog burial that dates to the Persian period, approximately 538 - 322 BCE. Between 1985 and 1992 over 1200 dog finds were recorded during the excavation of Ashkelon. Typically single dogs were found in shallow, unlined pits dug into large fill layers. Sometimes they were found dug into narrow streets. The burials were at many different heights suggesting, perhaps, that the burial of the dogs happened sporadically. There is no evidence that the dogs were either killed or diseased. And there is no evidence, such as skewed limbs or other types of distortions, that the dogs were just thrown into the pits. Rather, the dogs were generally buried on their sides with their tails carefully arranged to curl toward their feet.
What can we say about the dogs? Both male and female dogs were buried. They ranged in age from just a few days to extreme old age. There never was any evidence that one type of dog was selected over others although puppies did make up the largest percentage of burials. What about the breed? One of no particular ancestry. Parallels for this outside of Ashkelon are few and far between. If you want to learn more you can read the work of Dr. Brian Hesse and Dr. Paula Wapnish who have studied and written about Ashkelon's dog burials.
We will have another "Getting to Know You" this week. Stay tuned. I also hope to have a guest write a paragraph or two about Grid 51. We will have photos too... Fingers crossed. I know they have been dealing with a big drain which means that things have undoubtedly been interesting of late.
On the recording front. Another way we record information is to take photos of objects, architecture and, of course, stratigraphic relationships amongst other things. So here, for instance Ryan is cleaning a large piece of stone so that we could photograph it before doing any further work.
And it is a good thing we decided to take the picture. Last Friday we decided to expand the area of Grid 47, where I work in the theatre, in order to better expose the entirety of the building. So today we had a little extra help and the results couldn't be more impressive -- or messy, truth be told. We'll be cleaning up for a while but that's okay. We'll also have a much better understanding of the building.
So what exactly did we do? Well, stay tuned for pictures from tomorrow's work.
Wednesday is our first tell tour so we should be able to get the scoop on the other grids.
Until next time, the dirt is ready. Get digging!