© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2009 JANER 9.1 Also available online – brill.nl/jane DOI: 10.1163/156921209X449161 THE OWL IN PHOENICIAN MORTUARY PRACTICE PHILIP C. SCHMITZ Eastern Michigan University 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 chance discovery in 1990 of the Phoenician-period necropolis of Tyre occasioned a controlled archaeological excavation of a major Phoenician cemetery from the Lebanese coast (Aubet 1998-99). 1 The cemetery is located on the mainland in the al-Bass district near the Unless otherwise explained, abbreviations follow The SBL Handbook of Style for Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies , ed. P. H. Alexander, J. F. Kutsko, J. D. Ernest, S. Decker-Lucke, and D. L. Petersen (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1999). Assyriological abbreviatons follow the Chicago Assyrian
Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2009
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