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Ancient Judaean temple discovered outside Jerusalem


Israel Antiquities Authority archeologist Anna Ririkh displays on Dec. 26, 2012, a clay figurine used for religious rituals and practices, dated to the early monarchic period of the Judaean monarchy, uncovered in Tel Motza near Jerusalem during rescue excavations.



Archaeologists have unearthed a rare Judaean temple that provides evidence of a ritual cult outside Jerusalem nearly 3,000 years ago.

The site and remains of several ritual objects were found during archaeological work taking place prior to highway renovations in the Tel Motza area, the Jerusalem Post reported.

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Among the items found near an alter in the east-facing temple were pottery vessels, fragments of chalices and figurines of animals.

One of the dig's directors, Anna Eirikh, told AFP the discoveries gave them a rare glimpse into religious practices outside Jerusalem during the Judaean period.

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Around the time of Hezekiah and Isaiah, Judaism abolished many ritual sites in order to concentrate ritual practices solely at the Temple in Jerusalem, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Many finds from a variety of periods have been unearthed in the Motza area, among them a public building, a large structure with storehouses and a considerable number of silos supposedly used to store the capital’s grain supplies, the Times of Israel reported.