"Holy garbage": A quantitative study of the city-dump of Early Roman Jerusalem

Guy Bar-Oz, Ram Bouchnik, Ehud Weiss, Lior Weissbrod, Daniella E. Bar-Yosef Mayer, Ronny Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The chance discovery of an Early Roman city dump (1st century CE) in Jerusalem has yielded for the first time ever quantitative data on garbage components that introduce us to the mundane daily life Jerusalemites led and the kind of animals that were featured in their diet. Most of the garbage consists of pottery shards, all common tableware, while prestige objects are entirely absent. Other significant garbage components include numerous fragments of cooking ovens, wall plaster, animal bones and plant remains. Of the pottery vessels, cooking pots are the most abundant type. Most of the refuse turns out to be "household garbage" originating in the domestic areas of the city, while large numbers of cooking pots may point to the presence of pilgrims. Significantly, the faunal assemblage, which is dominated by kosher species and the clear absence of pigs, set Jerusalem during its peak historical period apart from all other contemporaneous Roman urban centers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology


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