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Reassessing the Bronze and Iron Age economy: Sheep and goat husbandry in the Southern Levant as a model case study

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Chapter Summary

This chapter reassesses economic strategies practiced in Bronze and Iron Age sites as revealed by zooarchaeological finds of sheep and goats. Animal bones are, in most cases, the second most common find in archaeological sites. Many scholars have discussed the economy of the Bronze and Iron Ages in the southern Levant. The relative percentage of sheep in a caprine herd and data regarding mortality profiles and caprine products were derived from 68 sites and strata. It is not surprising that sheep and goats were bred and exploited in a mixed herd by most pastoralists. Numerous zooarchaeological reports were examined; however, data on the sheep/goat ratio could be derived from merely 57 sites and strata. Many scholars have discussed the kill-off patterns in caprine herds and their projection on utilization of caprine for prime (meat) and secondary products (milk, wool, and hides).

Keywords: animal bones; Bronze Age; caprine; goats; Iron Age; sheep; southern Levant



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