Earliest Evidence of Biblical Cult Discovered
For the first time, archaeologists have uncovered shrines from the time of the early Biblical kings in the Holy Land, providing the earliest evidence of a cult, they say. Excavation within the remains of the roughly 3,000-year-old fortified city of Khirbet Qeiyafa, located about 19 miles southwest of Jerusalem, have revealed three large rooms used as shrines, along with artifacts, including tools, pottery and objects, such as alters associated with worship.
The portable shrines are boxes shaped like temples, and reflect an architectural style dating back as early as the time of King David, providing the first physical evidence of a cult in the time of King David, Radiocarbon dating on burnt olive pits found in the ancient city of Khirbet Qeiyafa indicate it existed between 1020 B.C. and 980 B.C., before being violently destroyed. According to Biblical tradition, the ancient Israelites’ belief in one God and their ban on human and animal figures set them apart from their neighbors. However, it hasn’t been clear when these distinct practices arose.