Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Roman-style butchery?

ANCIENT MATERIAL CULTURE: Ancient Romans Influenced Jewish Ritual Slaughter, Says Archaeologist. Jerusalem was a hub of pilgrimages when close cultural ties between the Romans and Jews were a fact of life (Noa Shpigel, Haaretz). Excerpt:
“The Roman world influenced the Jews in the area of culture, but its penetration into religious and holy matters is something we have not seen before,” says Dr. Ram Buchnik, an archeologist in the department of Land of Israel studies at Kinneret College.


At the ancient village of Yodfat in the Lower Galilee, for instance,, butchers skinned the animals in a unique way that made minimal use of a knife. The meat was taken off in one piece, which provided maximum hygiene — and the meat could keep for a week without refrigeration. “They would hang up the animal and cut it in a delicate, anatomical manner, bordering on surgical,” he said.

At the site of a rubbish dump in Jerusalem, where most of city’s garbage was collected during that period, Buchnik found similar signs. He learned from the site that butchers worked very carefully and gently with their knives and left almost no signs of cutting on the animal bones.

Not far away, at the edge of the City of David, the picture changes. When the Romans wanted to prepare food, they did not work in an neat and organized fashion, says Buchnik. The butcher would cut off the head and then cut through the bones of the animal. The food did not have to be kept long because the Roman soldiers ate it all — and the Jews began to copy them.
Read the whole thing before it goes behind the subscription wall.