Worked and unworked knuckle-bones (astragali) were found in several contexts from the Early Bronze Age to the Iron Age at Tell Mardikh-Ebla (Syria). Usually these were caprid bones, occasionally cut lenghthwise with one or two smoothed sides. Groups of astragali have been found also in several additional Syro-Palestinian settlements, pointing out at some ritual of funerary significance, since they were stored in sacred buildings as offerings or buried as funerary assemblages. One of the most important discoveries comes from Megiddo, where a group of ca. 700 astragali was collected inside a bowl in a room dating from the beginning of the Iron Age. The Eblaic evidence seems to confirm the ritual hypothesis and the symbolic nature of the astragalus: a child-burial dating from the Middle Bronze II was accompanied by c. 150 knucklebones together with a faience vessel. The storing of large amounts of these bones in vessels or caches suggests that prior to being eventually offered, astragali were the ‘property’ of private citizens and therefore they could also be considered as objects reflecting the wealth of the owners. At the same time the scattered presence at Ebla of smaller groups of knuckle-bones from private houses and fortresses located on the Middle Bronze Age rampart also suggests an utilitarian function as game items, which is supported by ethnographic data and by their documented use during Classical times

Symbolic or Functional Astragali from Tell Mardikh-Ebla (Syria) during the Middle Bronze Age, 2005.

Symbolic or Functional Astragali from Tell Mardikh-Ebla (Syria) during the Middle Bronze Age

Peyronel, Luca
2005

Abstract

Worked and unworked knuckle-bones (astragali) were found in several contexts from the Early Bronze Age to the Iron Age at Tell Mardikh-Ebla (Syria). Usually these were caprid bones, occasionally cut lenghthwise with one or two smoothed sides. Groups of astragali have been found also in several additional Syro-Palestinian settlements, pointing out at some ritual of funerary significance, since they were stored in sacred buildings as offerings or buried as funerary assemblages. One of the most important discoveries comes from Megiddo, where a group of ca. 700 astragali was collected inside a bowl in a room dating from the beginning of the Iron Age. The Eblaic evidence seems to confirm the ritual hypothesis and the symbolic nature of the astragalus: a child-burial dating from the Middle Bronze II was accompanied by c. 150 knucklebones together with a faience vessel. The storing of large amounts of these bones in vessels or caches suggests that prior to being eventually offered, astragali were the ‘property’ of private citizens and therefore they could also be considered as objects reflecting the wealth of the owners. At the same time the scattered presence at Ebla of smaller groups of knuckle-bones from private houses and fortresses located on the Middle Bronze Age rampart also suggests an utilitarian function as game items, which is supported by ethnographic data and by their documented use during Classical times
Inglese
14
7
26
20
internazionale
A stampa
Settore L-OR/05 - Archeologia e Storia Dell'Arte Del Vicino Oriente Antico
2
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10808/2005
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