Headless toads in priceless jug

Headless toads in priceless jug

Frogs here. Frogs there. Frogs were jumping everywhere.

And everywhere, it turns out, means ancient Canaan as well as Pharoah’s Egypt. In a discovery near the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, archaeologists unearthed headless toads. They found them in a jug they dated back nearly 4,000 years, to the Canaanite period.

During excavations in the past few years, archaeologists have uncovered two settlement sites, two temples, and a number of cemeteries from the Middle Bronze Age.

The excavations directors, Shua Kisilevitz and Zohar Turgeman-Yaffe, explained their findings in a statement.

“At that time, it was customary to bury the dead with offerings that constituted a kind of ‘burial kit,’ which, it was believed, would serve the deceased in the afterworld,” they said.

“When we removed the stone that blocked the tomb opening, we were excited to discover intact bowls and jars. In one of the jars, to our surprise, we found a heap of small bones,” the archaeologists explained. The bones had belonged to at least nine toads. All the toads had been decapitated.

“For an archaeologist, finding tombs that were intentionally sealed in antiquity is a priceless treasure, because they are a time capsule that allows us to encounter objects almost just as they were originally left,” the archaeologists said.

But some questions remained unanswered. Why had the frogs lost their heads? Did someone eat them? Or were they not preserved because they weren’t edible? For now, this remains a ribit-ing mystery.


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