Foot bones ... unclean?

30 Mar 2012

The unlikely web site, Small Business Newswire, ... has a Harvard archaeologist say that he had obsered during excavations in the Levant many foot bones of sheep, goats and cattle near ancient sanctuaries - particularly during the Middle Bronze IIB-C period. Does this mean hooves and feet of animals were in some way regarded as unclean? The idea is not exactly opposite to the Bible.

He then claims to have observed modern Bedouin acitivity, when sacrificing animals (all animals are sacrificed rather than simply slaughtered), near ancestral tombs or places of sanctity - for the Bedouin. The idea is that they are preserving ancient behaviour - a likely possibility. It seems they first remove the foot bones and hooves of animals and discard them around about the site of sacrifice, usually a place of veneration. The butchering subsequently took place at the same site but the other bones are either fed to dogs, cooked with the meat and burnt or buried, but why are the foot bones unclean?