The Wisdom of Ancient Bones


The exhibition "The Wisdom of Ancient Bones – Archaeo-Zoological Research" is the fruit of collaboration between the Hecht Museum and the Archaeo-Zoological Laboratory of the Faculty of Archaeology of the University of Haifa
The 1999 exhibition "Depiction of Animals from the Leo Mildenberg Collection "focused on the representation of animals in ancient art. We presented the collection of Dr. Leo Mildenberg, an associate of Dr. Hecht, focusing on the artistic analysis of the animal figures representing the worldview of the culture, the region and the period in which they were portrayed. We also emphasized the symbolic meaning of the animal figures – as representing noble qualities and symbols of deities, or as depicting the deities themselves.
The present exhibition is different, in that it does not deal with the representation of animals in ancient art, and is not even confined to a separate space, but is spread throughout the permanent display, and is integrated with its exhibits and themes. Remains of animal skeletons discovered in archaeological excavations, which are at the centre of the archaeo-zoological research, are displayed next to animal figures and artifacts made of animal bones, and thus hint at the mutuality of the connection between Man and the animals that existed in his environment in ancient times.
We wish to thank Professor Guy Bar-Oz, head of the Department of Archaeology and head of the Archaeo-zoological laboratory of the University of Haifa, and the archaeo-zoologists, Dr. Lior Weisbrod and Ro'i Shafir, who together curated the exhibition. Our thanks also go to the researchers who participated in the conference which opened the exhibition, and to those who helped in its preparation: Dr. Reuven Yeshurun, Inbar Ktalav, Dr. Irit Zohar, curator of the nature collections of Beit Margolin at Oranim College, Hadas Mutro of the Kurt Veterinary School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Na'ama Meirovich, director of the Old Jaffa Museum of Antiquities. Special thanks are due to Allegra Sabriago and Dr. Michael Saban of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Ofra Guri-Rimon
Director and Curator
Hecht Museum, University of Haifa