Swinging Fowl in the Name of the Lord: A Possible Jewish Ritual Sacrifice on the Arkansas Frontier
Author(s): David Markus
Archaeological investigations at the Block family home in Washington, Arkansas undertaken since the 1980s have explored the private life of the first documented Jewish immigrant family to the state of Arkansas. Excavations at the detach kitchen of the property revealed an articulated buried turkey skeleton. This fowl burial was initially interpreted as an African ritual sacrifice in light of the discovery of a slave quarters adjacent to the kitchen in 2010. While this interpretation easily fits within a West African cosmology, there is a possibility that the sacrifice is instead indicative of Jewish religious practice. The sacrificing of fowl for atonement has been conducted in Judaism through the ritual of Kapparot since the 9th century. Evidence to support the idea that these faunal remains represent a Jewish ritual will be given within the context of life on the 19th century Southwestern frontier.
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
- Society for Historical Archaeology 2014 •
- A Chosen People in Foreign Lands: Historical Archaeological Approaches to the Jewish Diaspora
Cite this Record
Swinging Fowl in the Name of the Lord: A Possible Jewish Ritual Sacrifice on the Arkansas Frontier. David Markus. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436785)