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16 November 2012
Ancient Temple Found in Israel

Tel Beth-Shemesh (House of the Sun), about 20 kilometres west of Jerusalem is suggestive of the deity that was worshipped by the Canaanite inhabitants. The temple complex is comprised of an elevated, massive circular stone structure and an intricately constructed building characterised by a row of three flat, large round stones.
     "This temple complex is unparalleled, possibly connected to an early Israelite cult - and provides remarkable new evidence of the deliberate desecration of a sacred site," explained co-directors of the dig, Professor Shlomo Bunimovitz and Doctor Zvi Lederman of the Tel Aviv University's Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology. "In the archaeological record, there are no parallels to this Canaanite or Israelite sacred compound of the period," they said. The archaeologists revealed that the temple has a rich history steeped in conflict.
     Excavations produced almost only shards of painted chalices and goblets found spread on the floor but no traces of domestic use. One of the three flat stones was surrounded by animal bone remnants, and the two other stones were seemingly designed to direct liquids.
     "This discovery also serves to illuminate the recent discovery of a number of round clay ovens, called 'tabuns,' in the layer excavated above the temple. Typically, such ovens were located in a domestic building for food preparation. But these particular ovens were not part of a neighbourhood or living quarter," Bunimovitz said. "We believe that ancestors of those who had built the original complex came back to rebuild the site," Dr Lederman said.

Edited from Sci-News.com (13 November 2012)

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