Recently, during construction on Israel’s Highway #1 another stunning archaeological site has been discovered west of Jerusalem at the site Tel Motza. The foundations of a temple dating back 2,750 years (Iron Age) has unearthed many findings which include: pottery, figurines of both male and female likeness, and other artifacts, many of which still remain unknown in regards to their significance or the role they played.
Having personally lived in Israel now for a couple of years, and having kept up with the news in the archaeological world, it is safe to say that Israel is like one huge archaeological playground as the Israel Antiquity Authority discovers more and more every year. I have heard it said that despite all the current excavations and archaeological parks an individual can visit or read about, Israel has hardly scratched the surface with only having uncovered somewhere in the neighbourhood of between 5-10%. In another decade or so it would not surprise me if Israel constructs another major archaeological museum to accompany the Rockefeller, Bible Lands, Shrine of the Book, Davidson Center, Israel Museum, and so on and so on. There is just so much out there to be unearthed. I had the privilege to work on a dig for a short-term volunteer term at the Ramat Rachel dig on the outskirts of Jerusalem and it was incredible.
The world of archaeology almost always is exciting (counting on the fact that some digs are complete flops). Even amidst the grueling, intense work, and despite the frustrations and unexpected expenses, it is always incredible to dig in the sands of the past. One thing that constantly makes me smile even further living here in Israel, is in relation to how many of these “tels” are stumbled upon. It is not uncommon to hear of a major find during regular infrastructure made on behalf of government contractors (roads, plumbing, housing, etc) and this has given rise to many jokes and sarcastic remarks, but it is wonderful nonetheless, perhaps annoying for the contractors but hey, this is Israel! However, with this finding, it is incredibly special as it dates back to the First Temple period and contains ritual altars, temple courtyards, and cult objects performed in ceremonies. More details are expected to come from the further excavations and this upcoming spring and summer should be filled with a lot of action.
By, Peter J. Fast
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