Throughout the years, archaeologists have discovered numerous artifacts and destinations thought to be lost to time, that have opened people’s minds to many wonders of our past. However, the one place that stands out in both Biblical and Jewish History is Israel. The Inquisitr reported numerous times on both destinations and artifacts that appeal to the historic authenticity of the Old Testament and God’s chosen people. This includes ancient cuneiform tablets which describe the life of exiled Jews living in Babylon, recently on loan at a museum in Jerusalem.
However, the Jewish people — especially during Old Testament times — have history that isn’t delegated to scripture. Some may simply be cultural, which in this case, 8,000-year-old fertility stone works were found. Not only that, but said discovery has linked ancient Israel dwellers to an ancestor cult.
According to an article by Ancient Origins that utilizes a paper by Academia, Israeli stone age people built a large number of what seems to be ancestor and fertility cult sites in the Negev Desert. New archaeological surveys of 95 sites excavated stones arranged to represent death, while vulva and penis-shaped rock and stone arrangements suggest fertility. The combination of both relate to ancestor cults as described by archaeologist, Uri Avner.
“The main essence of the cult in these sites was for the ancestors. However, ‘regular’ standing stones found in the sites, individual ones, pairs, triads and groups of seven, indicate invocation to a complex pantheon with several ‘organic’ groups of deities which are later known from Near Eastern art, dedication inscriptions and mythological texts. Since the sites are dated long before invention of writing, we have no way to know deities’ names, we only know which type of groups the standing stones represent, for example, a god and a goddess, a goddess and two young gods.”
As of now, the archaeological team doesn’t know what exactly went on at said sites, but the discovery of animal bones washed by rain indicate animal sacrifice. As for any found artifacts and structures, the archaeologist team are determining what their meaning would be. One such arrangement of rocks, for example, were arranged to represent some oblong shape pointing to another arrangement of rocks representing a circular shape. Such a display suggests a phallus and vulva.
Along with the fertility stone works in the Eilat Mountains, archaeologists found two stone habitations and a campsite. As a result, the team concludes people came from elsewhere to worship or perform rites there. It is believed the habitations are seasonal for hunter-gatherers while the campsite was a satellite hunting camp visited by people from Trans-Jordanian settlements.
Presently, Uri Avner and the archaeologist crew from the Arava Dead Sea Science Center and the Arava Institute continue to study the Neolithic sites in Israel. From what is presented above, what are your views? How do you think said findings relates to Old Testament history?
[Images via Uri Avner/Arava Dead Sea Science Center and the Arava Institute]