Earliest evidence for equid bit wear in the ancient near East: The "Ass" from Early Bronze Age Tell es -s Âfi/Gath, Israel

Haskel J. Greenfield, Itzhaq Shai, Tina L. Greenfield, Elizabeth R. Arnold, Annie Brown, Adi Eliyahu, Aren M. Maeir

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Abstract

Analysis of a sacrificed and interred domestic donkey from an Early Bronze Age (EB) IIIB (c. 2800–2600 BCE) domestic residential neighborhood at Tell es-S âfi/Gath, Israel, indicate the presence of bit wear on the Lower Premolar 2 (LPM2). This is the earliest evidence for the use of a bit among early domestic equids, and in particular donkeys, in the Near East. The mesial enamel surfaces on both the right and left LPM2 of the particular donkey in question are slightly worn in a fashion that suggests that a dental bit (metal, bone, wood, etc.) was used to control the animal. Given the secure chronological context of the burial (beneath the floor of an EB IIIB house), it is suggested that this animal provides the earliest evidence for the use of a bit on an early domestic equid from the Near East.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0196335
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume13
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2018

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