The discovery of a sacrificed puppy at Tel Miqne-Ekron, a major Philistine settlement in Israel's southern coastal plain, highlights the role of dogs in Iron I Philistia. Though dog sacrifice is described in Hittite religious texts and attested in lands bordering the Aegean during the second–first millennia BCE, evidence for this practice, or even of dog bones, is largely absent from Late Bronze and non-Philistine Iron I (ca. 1550–1000 BCE) Levantine contexts. What distinguishes the Tel Miqne-Ekron puppy interment from later Persian- and Hellenistic-period dog burials, is the placement of its severed head between its hind legs. Microscopic analyses of cut marks on several vertebrae indicate that the iron knife found nearby was likely used in its decapitation. This article examines the Tel Miqne-Ekron puppy burial within its eastern Mediterranean milieu and explores the ritual role of dogs and cynophagy (dog-eating) in second–first millennia society.

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