Origins of the Prohibition of Pork Consumption: A Note
18 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2014 Last revised: 28 May 2017
Date Written: November 20, 2014
The Biblical prohibition of pork consumption has motivated archaeologists to look for clues in the pig fraction of the faunal remains of farm animals to identify the time and place of its inception so that corresponding socio-political events may be used to determine how and why this prohibition came about. Although significant advances have been made in the archaeozoology of pigs in recent years (Sapir-Hen, 2013), the statistical analysis of pig fractions in faunal data still follows Caroline Grigson’s set of arbitrary heuristics (Grigson, 1982). These heuristics do not adequately address the uncertainty in the data. This note proposes an alternative analysis of pig fractions in faunal remains that improves statistical confidence in the conclusions.
Keywords: archaeozoology, zooarchaeology, pigs, pork, archaeology, biblical archaeology, pig taboo, Judaism, Torah, Bible, Israel Finkelstein, Levant, Philistines, Iron Age, pork prohibition, Grigson 1982, Lidar Sapir-Hen, applied statistics, Microsoft Excel statistics, binomial distribution, chi square
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