Pigs in space (and time): Pork consumption and identity negotiations in the Late Bronze and iron ages of Ancient Israel

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Abstract

Pork consumption and avoidance became a major issue in the study of ancient Israel in the 1980s. Initial works associated massive consumption of pork with the Philistines and its avoidance with the Israelites, and despite the doubts cast by some later studies, the topic is still closely associated with the study of Iron Age ethnic identities. The extensive data that has accumulated over the years, however, show that the distribution of pork-consuming communities in space and time is not random and, when examined in tandem with the wider social background of this era, can reveal a great deal about Iron Age group interactions and boundary maintenance. It appears that the arrival of the Philistines was a watershed as far as pork consumption was concerned, and in subsequent centuries pork consumption and avoidance correlate closely with the changing strategies of boundary maintenance used by the different groups residing in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-299
Number of pages24
JournalNear Eastern Archaeology
Volume81
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Schools of Oriental Research.

Funding

I would like to thank Prof. Yossi Ashkenazy for his help, to Yair Sapir for preparing the maps, and to Ms. Shlomit Yaari, Head of the Scientific Application Support Unit at Bar-Ilan University for her help with the statistical analysis. The responsibility for the content of this article and the analysis contained in it, however, is solely mine.

FundersFunder number
Bar-Ilan University

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