Animal slaughter in the Herodian Temple

24 September 2013

At … we have Israeli archaeologists sifting through a city dump dating back to the Herodian period where they have found huge numbers of animal bones, some of which have been analysed (nitrogen and carbon isotopes). They found that some of the sheep came from rural semi desert regions – even as far as Arabia and the Transjordan. The paper, in Journal of Archaeological Science, confirms Talmudic evidence in that the economic heartbeat of Jerusalem at that time was the Holy Temple. It was the only place where people were allowed to sacrifice animals as burnt offerings to God. The dump was in use for around one hundred years. Meat was not eaten on a daily basis – it was consumed on special occasions (religious feasts). Most of the animals were young which seems to verify they were raised for sacrifice and the archaeologists are saying the economy of Jerusalem was supported by pilgrims bring animals for slaughter.

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