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Storm God Worship: Ancient Cult Complex Discovered in Israel


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« on: October 20, 2014, 01:04:34 am »

 Giant vessels, scarabs and more …

The researchers also found massive "pithoi" vessels (large storage jars), some almost as big as a person. "Along the eastern edge of the exposed area of the building, a row of sunken pithoi, with several smaller vessels found inside of them, were found," said Shai. Two of the vessels were imported from Cyprus, as indicated by their design.

"The pithoi were likely used as storage for tithes brought to the cultic complex, although this is also being further analyzed through residue analysis." A tithe, in this instance, would be goods given to the cultic complex by those who used or lived near it. 

The complex yielded many other finds, including a cylinder-shaped seal, goblets, chalices, broken figurines that look part-human and part-animal, and even a scarab, an artifact with an Egyptian hieroglyphic inscription on it.

Feasting, sacrifices and ceremonies

While more analysis is needed, the discoveries shed light on some of the activities that took place in the cult complex.

"From the finds within the building, we can reconstruct the occurrence of feasts, indicated by several goblets and a large amount of animal bones. Some of these animal bones are burnt, probably indicating their use in some sacrificial activity," said Shai.

"The presence of the pithoi may indicate the collection of tithes, or at a minimum, the storage of foods for later use in cultic activities," he added. "Finally, the masks may suggest ceremonial processions that arrived or left from the complex, possibly before or after the conducting of feasts."

Chris McKinny is the Supervisor of Area B at the site, where the complex was found, and Joe Uziel was co-director of the Tel Burna project between 2009 and 2012. The discovery was presented recently at the European Association of Archaeologists' annual meeting in Istanbul.

Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

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