As I mentioned some time ago, our work now involves the coordination of different analyses in order to provide a broad picture of what life was like in ancient times. Today we ventured to the different labs of Tel Aviv University. We went to retrieve the animal bones we collected during our 2007-2009 field seasons after being analyzed. The zooarchaologist provided us with identification of animals present and consumed in the 8th century BCE at our site. We were not surprised to find out that the majority of bones belonged to sheep/goats and a large number of bones were of large cattle (cows/oxen). The latter suggest that the population at our site was engaged in agricultural pursuits. This is strengthened by the tools we excavated including plows.
Our second meeting was with experts in petrography who are trying to help us determine the origin of limestone incense altars coming from the same period. Based on the decoration, we assumed that the altars (see photo in previous entry) originated in South Arabia. To our surprise we found out that the altars were made of local stone. This means that the existence of such altars at our site can be attributed to cultural influences. The local origin of the altars is supported by the fact that one of them was incomplete. This can only be due to the fact that it was locally manufactured. No one would import an incomplete object.
One more thing we would like to find out and that is the source of the incense. The complete altar we have has soot as a result of burning and we would like to have this residue tested to determine its origin.