Maeir on the Qeiyafa Finds

11 05 2012

Aren Maeir (director of excavations at Tell es-Safi, biblical Gath) has written a post on the cultic finds from Kh. Qeiyafa.  Yossi Garfinkel has written a brief response to Aren on his interpretation of the model shrines as biblical term aron elohim (in this case “ark of the gods“).  I am traveling today so I can’t comment more, but I think Aren’s comments are exactly right.





Update: Qeiyafa Cult Finds

8 05 2012

So it turns out that my guess (see previous post) was pretty much dead on. The press conference this morning (via Jim West’s blog) has unveiled a stone and a ceramic temple model, which Garfinkel is interpreting related to the ark of the covenant and architectural features of the temple in Jerusalem (as described in the Hebrew bible).  This information is more or less third hand, as soon as there is a press release or more formal information I will have an update.  For now it appears that these models shrines are not anything too unique for this time period (Iron IIA), see these images of the Yavneh favissa.  The unique aspect of these finds are their interpretation, which I am withholding judgement on until reading a more complete explanation.

Model Shrines from Qeiyafa (from Jim West’s blog by way of Robert Deutsch)

More to come later in the day…

Update: Here is the official Hebrew University press release.  It contains much more information about the archaeological context of the cultic objects previously mentioned.  There is also a link to some high quality images of the finds and the shrine(s) in which they were found.  These finds are very important but I think the aniconic nature of the cult is overstated.  Maybe no figurines were found, but the one model shrine has examples of lions and birds on it.  Also this shrine (and the stone one as well, although I can’t find an exact parallel right now) has very close parallels.  The three birds on top of the Qeiyafa shrine are broken off, as is one of the lions, but the parallels should be clear.  Another almost exact parallel was first published by William Dever in BAR 34/2 where he compellingly argues that it should be associated with Asherah.

Iron Age Model Shrine from Private Collection

Qeiyafa Iron I/Iron IIA model shrine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update 2: Here are links to my previous blog posts on Finkelstein’s opinions on Qeiyafa and the matter of a separate Shephelan polity.

Finkelstein and Qeiyafa Part 1 and Part 2

The Lack of Lachish Part 1 and Part 2 (unfortunately I never finished this series as my daughter was born and then we left for Jordan)





Qeiyafa Reveal

4 05 2012

Some of you have probably already heard, but there will be a major announcement at a press conference on May 8th regarding Kh. Qeiyafa.  The press conference info was sent out by Joseph Lauer and mentioned on several blogs already.  The press release mentions the importance on the news for history, archaeology, and the Bible.  So…no pressure.  I’m trying to find out some hints as to the nature of the finds.  My guess would be some kind of cultic find supporting the Judahite origins of the site in some round about way.