The Wisdom of Ancient Bones

Exhibition curators: Prof. Guy Bar-Oz, Dr. Lior Weisbrod, Roy Shapir
Opening of the exhibition: May 2015

Preface: Ofra Rimon

The exhibition "The Wisdom of Ancient Bones – Archaeo-Zoological Research" is the fruit of a collaboration between the Hecht Museum and the Archaeo-Zoological Laboratory of the Faculty of Archaeology at 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. We focused on the artistic analysis of the animal figures and how they represented the worldview of their associated cultures as well as the region and period in which they were portrayed. We also emphasized the symbolic meaning of the animal figures; the figures often represented noble qualities and symbols of deities, or depicted the deities themselves.   

The current exhibition is different in that it does not examine the representation of animals in ancient art. Furthermore, the exhibition is not confined to a separate space. It is spread throughout the permanent display and is integrated with the other exhibits. Remains of the animal skeletons discovered at archaeological excavations are displayed next to animal figures and artifacts made of animal bones and therefore hint at the mutuality of the connection between humans and animals that existed in ancient environments.


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.


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