Sue Frumin, who is working on the archaeobotanical remains from Area D, just wrote to me that yesterday, she dry sifted some sediments from a krater that was discovered in Area D last year. And while there were no botanical remains, she did find a single astragalus bone at the very bottom of the vessel!
The Astragalus bone, sometimes popularly called a “knucklebone”, is a small bone from within the “tarsal joint” of hooved animals such as sheep, goats and cows. In antiquity, these bones are used for various functions, including as game pieces and dice, and in cult and divination. Over the years we have found quite a few astragali bones at Tell es-Safi/Gath, including several substantial concentrations in the Temple in Area D, right next to the unique two-horned altar.
So now we have an extra “friend” to join those already found! Cool!
Below the vessel with the astragalus inside it, and two pictures of the excavations of the bowl – “in situ”.