The article reports on a very interesting study of faunal remains from the Early Bronze Age levels at Tell es-Safi/Gath. In this study, we analyzed samples from the sacrificial donkey that was placed below one of the floors of the EB houses in Area E, along with several samples from ovicaprines (sheep/goat) from the EB levels. Isotopic analyses were conducted on these faunal remains, and it turned out that the donkey, and some of the sheep/goat, were not local. Rather – they were born and bred in Egypt – and only later on in life arrived in Canaan!
While we have known for years of trade connections between Egypt and Canaan during the Old Kingdom (time of the Pyramids), actual trade in animals (as opposed to using donkeys as beasts of burden in caravans between the two regions), and especially from Egypt to Canaan, was not documented.
The full title of the study is:
Arnold, E. R., Hartman, G., Greenfield, H. J., Shai, I., Babcock, and Maeir, A. M. 2016. Isotopic Evidence for Early Trade in Animals Between Old Kingdom Egypt and Canaan. PLoS ONE 11(6): e0157650. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0157650.
P.S. Two days to the pre-season staff meeting at BIU on Wednesday morning!