Joe Ferraro, Baylor University, courtesy of Deirdre Fulton

ISRAELITES KEEPING KOSHER? It has long been thought that if pig bones are uncovered in an excavation within Israel, then that site was not Israelite. Recent studies are calling this into question. While pig bones are common within early Philistine urban centers, they are rare in the rural sector and throughout the southern Levant. On the flip side, during the period of the divided monarchy, pigs bones are found throughout the northern Kingdom of Israel—but not Judah. Therefore, the presence or absence of pigs cannot be used as a sole ethnic marker for identifying ancient Israelite or Philistine populations.