New article on origins of the bridle based on our study of an early domestic donkey from Tell es-Safi/Gath

Greenfield, Haskel J., Itzhaq Shai, Tina L. Greenfield, Elizabeth Arnold, Annie Brown, Adi Eliyahu, and Aren M. Maeir. 2018. Earliest Evidence for Equid Bit Wear in the Ancient near East: The “Ass” from Early Bronze Age Gath (Tell Eṣ-Ṣâfi), Israel. PLOS1 13 (5):e0196335.

Analysis of a sacrificed and interred domestic donkey from an Early Bronze Age (EB) IIIB
(c. 2800±2600 BCE) domestic residential neighborhood at Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel, indicate
the presence of bit wear on the Lower Premolar 2 (LPM2). This is the earliest evidence for the use of a bit among early domestic equids, and in particular donkeys, in the Near East. The mesial enamel surfaces on both the right and left LPM2 of the particular donkey in question are slightly worn in a fashion that suggests that a dental bit (metal, bone, wood, etc.) was used to control the animal. Given the secure chronological context of the burial (beneath the floor of an EB IIIB house), it is suggested that this animal provides the earliestevidence for the use of a bit on an early domestic equid from the Near East.


Open Access


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