Douglas Guthrie/Tel Miqne-Ekron Excavation Project

Remnant of a lost ritual. A cow scapula, or shoulder blade, incised with parallel lines along its upper edge, was found in the Ekron shrine. The scapula was probably used by the Philistines to divine a message from a god. The purpose of the notches is uncertain, but musicologists suggest that these incisions may have been cut in order to produce a musical sound when the bone was waved in the air or when another object, perhaps a stick, was stroked across the bone.

This shoulder blade and several others in stratum VI are a type familiar from shrines in Cyprus. They indicate that this Ekron shrine was one of the first built by the Sea Peoples/Philistines after their journey across the Mediterranean to Canaan.