Thursday, November 21, 2013

Matt 24 watch, 230: Iron Age altar found at Shiloh, Israel -- is this the Altar of Eli and Samuel?

Archaeology can be described as an old codger with a spade (and, sometimes a teaspoon and toothbrush) digging through old rubbish, but with an instructed eye. In and around Israel, that work keeps turning up biblical era remnants and other bits and pieces that corroborate or flesh out what the text tells us. And sometimes, too, the archaeologists are put onto the track because of what gets turned up at construction sites or turned up by farmers, etc.

In this case, thanks to and, we see how:
a stone altar dated to the Iron Age—the period of Israelite kings—was accidentally exposed
The Tel Shiloh dig, where an Iron Age altar was found
during a dig conducted by an archaeological staff officer of the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria.

The altar was found amid the stones of a wall dated to the Byzantine period. Apparently, the Byzantines removed the altar from its original location in Tel Shiloh and used it to build a structure at the foot of the tel. The discovery is the first tangible evidence that Shiloh was a cultic center prior to and during the First Temple period. Previously, the only evidence for that theory were descriptions in the Bible about the Tabernacle at the time of Joshua and later in the time of Eli the high priest and the prophet Samuel.
 This of course simply adds more details to a long term pattern. END