Boaz Zissu

Pigeons fly in and out of the columbarium tower in this first-century B.C.E. Egyptian mosaic scene found at the site of Palestrina near Rome. Pigeon raising spread to Israel in the Hellenistic period and flourished in the early Roman period. Several Roman authors, including Varro and Pliny the Elder, as well as the Mishnah describe columbarium towers and the practice of raising pigeons for their valuable meat and to collect their droppings for fertilizer.