archaeology
subscribe
Special Introductory Offer!

Temple Complex Discovered Outside Jerusalem

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Israel Motza TempleTEL AVIV, ISRAEL—According to a statement released by Tel Aviv University, researchers including Shua Kisilevitz and Oded Lipschits of the university’s Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology and Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists have found traces of two temples about four miles from Jerusalem, in the ancient city of Motza, which has been identified as an Iron Age administrative center where grain was stored and redistributed. The first temple on the site has been tentatively dated to the tenth century B.C., while the monumental temple complex built on top of it has been dated to the late tenth century to early ninth century B.C. Kisilevitz said the temple complex at Motza conformed to religious conventions in the Kingdom of Judah at the time, but according to biblical texts, King Hezekiah and King Josiah restricted worship to the structure known as Jerusalem’s First Temple. The presence of the temple complex in Motza, she added, therefore suggests that other temples continued to operate outside of Jerusalem. Motza’s local leaders may have built the temple complex to increase their control over the region and bolster the success of the growing grain distribution business, she explained. Cultic artifacts including human-shaped and horse figurines, a cult stand decorated with lions or sphinxes, a stone altar, a stone offering table, and a pit filled with ash and bones have been uncovered at the site. To read about ceramic figurines unearthed in Motza's temple complex, go to "Artifact."

Advertisement

Advertisement


Advertisement