BAR 38:02, Mar/Apr 2012
Archaeological Views: Cultic Practices at Tel Dan—Was the Northern Kingdom Deviant?
Archaeologically speaking, very little is known of the ancient Israelite cult as it was practiced by the kings and priests of Biblical Israel. While evidence for “folk religion” (e.g., the ubiquitous pillar figurines) is well known, evidence of royal or elite religion is harder to come by. One reason for this is that the center of official Israelite religion, at least according to the Bible, was Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, a site that cannot be excavated in the current political climate.
The Jerusalem Temple was not ancient Israel’s only royal sanctuary, however. According to the Bible (1 Kings 12), the infamous …