Domestication of the Donkey (Equus asinus) in the Southern Levant: Archaeozoology, Iconography and Economy

  • Ianir Milevski
  • Liora Kolska Horwitz
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series book series (PMAES)


This chapter discusses the timing of the first domestication of donkeys (Equus asinus) in the southern Levant (southern Syria-Israel Palestine-/Jordan) with reference to the region’s archaeozoological record. It further examines their subsequent utilization in local exchange systems based on iconographic records (miniature, artistic-cultic representations) found in archaeological sites. More specifically, this chapter reviews data concerning the role of these beasts of burden and the possible existence of a dedicated social stratum or group of persons specializing in their use in the Early Bronze Age (ca. 3700/3600–2400 BC). These data are bolstered by additional ancient Near Eastern sources and by ethnographic examples from the New World thought to possibly represent analogous situations.


Equids Near East Domestication Beasts of burden Donkey burials Iconography Trade 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ianir Milevski
    • 1
  • Liora Kolska Horwitz
    • 2
  1. 1.Israel Antiquities AuthorityJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.The Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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