Huge 2,200-year-old shrine discovered in ancient Israeli metropolis

Archaeologists discover the largest first-temple period gate-shrine found in Israel

Tel Lachish (Wikipedia)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Archaeologists have discovered a gate-shrine dating to the 8th century BC in an ancient Israeli metropolis.

The site measures 80 by 80 feet, making it the largest shrine from this period ever discovered in Israel.

The shrine was discovered in the ancient biblical city of Tel Lachish, the most important city after Jerusalem during the first-temple epoch, according to excavation director Dr. Sa’ar Ganor, from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The Lachish gate-shrine consists of six chambers and artifacts discovered in the chambers show how it was used.

One chamber houses the ruins of benches, with armrests and stamped jar handles showing the name of an official or a 'lmlk', which means 'belonging to the king.'

The jars appear to be related to military and administrative preparations of the Kingdom of Judah for a war against Sennacherib, who was a king of Assyria in the late 8th century BC.

Two four-horned altars and many ceramics were also discovered, as well as what appeared to be a stone toilet.

However testing showed it is unlikely the toilet had ever been used, and so it is thought to be symbolic.

The excavation also showed destruction layers, as the site was destroyed by Sennacherib in 701 BC with arrowheads and stones.