BAR 17:04, Jul/Aug 1991
Bones of a Hundred Infants Found in Ashkelon Sewer
Excavation of the Roman-Byzantine sewer system associated with the bathhouse at Ashkelon revealed the skeletons of nearly 100 infants. They were found mixed in with the garbage more commonly associated with such contextsbroken potsherds, animal bones, murex shells and odd coins. Most of the infant bones were intact, and all parts of the skeleton were represented. Since infant bones are fragile, they tend to fragment when disturbed or moved for secondary burial. The good condition of the infant bones at Ashkelon indicated to us that the infants had been tossed into the drain soon after death with the soft tissues intact. This manner of disposal of the infants indicates a rather callous attitude, suggesting that these might represent abortions or infanticide, rather than death from natural causes.