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24 March 2013
Donkeys were a Bronze Age status symbol

Donkeys have long been thought to be just beasts of burden, sturdy and simple. A recent discovery in Israel may put an end to that myth. The discovery occurred near Gaza, in the remains of a Middle Bronze Age city known as Tel Haror.
     Various signs led the team of archaeologists from the University of Haifa to believe that this was no ordinary donkey burial. To start, the remains were found in the courtyard of a temple and the donkey had a copper bridle bit and saddle bags. Examination of the bones revealed that there were no butchery marks, which probably means that the animal formed part of a sacrifice in a ritual burial. The presence of a bridle bit would not, in itself, appear out of the ordinary, if it were not for the fact that the donkey’s teeth showed no signs of wear, which would have been evidence if the bit had been in use for any extended period of time.
     The find dates from approximately 1,700 to 1,550 BCE but it is not the only sacrificial donkey find of significance. Ancient Egyptians also sacrificed donkeys at the burial of one of the first pharaohs, around 3,000 BCE.

Edited from LiveScience, Yahoo! News (10 March 2013)

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