Tuesday, 8 January 2013

2,750-year-old temple near Jerusalem uncovered

During excavations at the Tel Motza archaeological site, about 3 miles (5 kilometers) west of Jerusalem, during preparations for work on a new section of Israeli's Highway 1, Archaeologists have uncovered a 2,750-year-old temple near Jerusalem, along with pottery and clay figurines that suggest the site was the home base for a ritual cult.

The excavation's directors say the Tel Motza temple must have been active in an era "prior to the religious reforms throughout the kingdom at the end of the monarchic period (at the time of Hezekiah and Isaiah), which abolished all ritual sites, concentrating ritual practices solely at the Temple in Jerusalem."

Tel Motza was thought to be associated with the ancient settlement called "Mozah" in the Book of Joshua. During previous work, archaeologists uncovered a large structure with storehouses and a number of silos. They said that structure might have served as a storage facility for Jerusalem's grain supplies.

The items discovered, near an altar of a temple, include ritual pottery vessels, fragments of chalices and figurines of animals.



Skyview / IAA
An overhead view shows the Tel Motza archaeological site.

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