The Owl in Phoenician Mortuary Practice

in Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions
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Abstract

Recent excavations in the Iron Age necropolis of Tyre (al-Bass district) allow a substantial reconstruction of the Phoenician ritual of cremation burial. Among the faunal remains from Tyre al-Bass Tomb 8 are two talons from a species of owl. The talons had been charred and perhaps boiled before placement with the grave goods. This paper examines ancient Near Eastern and biblical cultural interpretations of the owl and suggests a range of possible explanations for the presence of owl remains in this Phoenician burial.

The Owl in Phoenician Mortuary Practice

in Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions

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