© The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

LOVABLE VULTURES. Much of the art of the Chalcolithic period suggests that vultures and other birds of prey were not the wretched and unclean animals mentioned with such disgust by later Biblical writers (see Leviticus 11:13–19), but rather were highly regarded creatures that likely carried significant symbolic meaning. This 6,000-year-old pot from the Negev includes two such birds perched on its rim.