Archaeology Magazine

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Israel’s Wild Boars Are Descended From European Pigs

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Israel Boars EuropeanTEL AVIV, ISRAEL—An analysis of genetic and archaeological data suggests that Israel’s wild boars are descended from domesticated pigs imported by the Philistines and other seafarers some 3,000 years ago. “Our DNA analysis proves that the wild boars living in Israel today are the descendants of European pigs brought here starting in the Iron Age. Given the concentration of pig bones found at Philistine archaeological sites, the European pigs likely came over in the Philistines’ boats,” said Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University. Additional European pigs may have been brought to Israel by the Romans and the Byzantines, and then by Crusaders. Modern pigs from Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Armenia, Iraq, and Iran, however, share a Near Eastern genetic signature.