Elitzur, Yoel, and Doron Nir-Zevi. “A Rock-Hewn Altar Near Shiloh.”

Elitzur, Yoel, and Doron Nir-Zevi.  “A Rock-Hewn Altar Near Shiloh.”  Palestine Exploration Quarterly 135, no. 1 (2003): 30-36. [Israel/Shiloh/Furnishings]

Abstract:  The Bible refers frequently to sacrifices offered on high places (bamot) and altars ‘on every high hill and under every leafy tree’. Archeological finds in the Land of Israel, however, include only a few altars for animal sacrifices. The altar described here is unique, an unprecedented find in the Land of Israel. It is hewn in the rock about 1.5 km west of Shiloh, in an area quite rich in ancient ruins and near a spring. There are no building remains, nor pottery relevant to the period, in its immediate vicinity. At the side is flat, blackened stone, apparently broken off the altar top because of the heat of its fire. The altar has four ‘horns’ and a levelled top, and its dimensions resemble those of the altar in the book of Exodus (27. 1–2). It stands not on a summit but in mid-slope. It may thus be conjectured that the altar was Israelite and used for monotheistic worship. The orientation of the altar is interesting: its corners, rather than its sides, are aligned with the four cardinal directions (north and south, east and west). In this respect the altar is similar to that discovered on Mount Ebal. The altar shares some features with ‘Manoah’s altar’ below ancient Zor’ah; however, there are some basic differences, and the Shiloh altar is much more impressive

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