Arts News

Archaeologists in Jordan find 3,000-Year-Old Iron Age Temple and Figurines

By April MacIntyre Sep 2, 2010, 9:34 GMT

Archaeologists in Jordan find 3,000-Year-Old Iron Age Temple and Figurines

Al-Saad said that the sanctuary discovered at Khirbat \'Ataroz near the town of Mabada, some 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of the capital Amman, shows the advanced worship practices in Jordan\'s ancient Moabite kingdom, which was mentioned in the Bible. Archaeologists also unearthed some 300 pots, figurines of deities and sacred vessels used for worship at the site. AP Photo/Nader Daoud.

Exciting news from Jordan, where archaeologists have unearthed a 3,000-Year-Old Iron Age Temple with a treasure trove of figurines.

The Associated Press reported that the discovery of a 3,000-year-old Iron Age temple was made public during a press conference in Amman, Jordan, Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010.

Al-Saad shared the find was discovered at Khirbat 'Ataroz near the town of Mabada, some 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of the capital Amman, and the quality of the artifacts show the advanced worship practices in Jordan's ancient Moabite kingdom, which was mentioned in the Bible.

 AP Photo/Nader Daoud.

AP Photo/Nader Daoud.

Also found were 300 pots, figurines of deities and sacred vessels used for worship at the site.

The treasure trove of figurines of ancient deities and circular clay vessels used for religious rituals are the pride of Jordan and the Jordanian Antiquities Department head Ziad al-Saad, who said the sanctuary dates to the eighth century B.C..

He said the complex boasts a main room that measures 388 square feet (36 square meters), as well as two antechambers and an open courtyard.

The sanctuary and its artifacts were comprised of limestone and basalt or molded from clay and bronze and reveal the religious rituals of Jordan's ancient biblical Moabite kingdom, according to al-Saad. He also said the objects indicate the Moabites worshipped many deities and had a highly organized ritual use of temples.

"Today we have the material evidence, the archaeological proof of the level of advancement of technology and civilization at that period of time," he said.

The Moabites were closely related to the Israelites, although the two were in frequent conflict, according to the AP.

The Babylonians eventually conquered the Moabites in 582 B.C.

The AP reports that excavations began in Khirbat 'Ataroz in 2000 along with the California-based La Sierra University, but the majority of the items were only discovered in the past few months.

Some of the finds included a four-legged animal god Hadad, as well as circular clay vessels used in holy rites.

The items will be scientifically analyzed and conserved before going on display in Jordan's archaeological museum.

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