Historically and culturally, Israel is known as the “Land Flowing with Milk and Honey” promised to the Jews by God. Ergo, the archaeological discoveries of Pentateuch proportions are always found. However, there are many discoveries of a pagan nature found in Israel too.
The Inquisitr previously reported on such finds, including an 8,000-year-old stone works set for pagan fertility worship. There are even discoveries of ancient versions of sin indulgence, in particular, 4,000-year-old porn.
Now a recent archaeological discovery in Israel shows the presence of Greek mythology in the Holy Land. A 2,000-year-old mask of the Greek god Pan has been unearthed.
According to an article by YNet Travel, a large, bronze mask of Pan, a Greek god of hunting with the lower half of a goat and the upper half of a man with goat horns, was found in an archaeological dig in the Hippos-Sussita excavation site. Since Pan is a figure closely associated with folly and sexuality, the mask was used for pagan ceremonies involving copious drinking, overindulgent eating, and promiscuous sex. This is confirmed by Dr. Michael Eisenberg from the Zinman Institute of Archaeology, who heads the site.
“The place was a scene for rites honoring the cave and field gods, and included ceremonies involving drinking, sacrificing and even ecstatic trances involving nudity and sexual relations.”
From the details provided about the Pan mask, it is a rarity. It is a size that is unique because masks bigger than the human head are very rare. Also, most do not depict Pan or other mythological Greek and Roman mythological figures. Summarized, this may be the only mask of its kind.
More information about the Pan mask was reported at Ancient Origins. University of Haifa archaeologists — the group credited with finding the Pan mask in the first place — speculate its creation happened during the Pax Romana, a time of peace during the reign of the Roman Empire. Yet, the biggest surprise for them was where the Pan mask was found, a place they thought a catapult armory was located. The archaeologists believe the armory, used to store ballistae projectiles, was converted into a temple dedicated to Pan when hostilities ended.
Dr. Michael Eisenberg provided a statement on what he and his archaeological team thought when they found the Pan mask while looking for catapults and other weapons.
“The first thought that crossed my mind was, ‘Why here, beyond the city limits?’ After all, the mask is so heavy it could not have just rolled away. The mask was found nearby the remains of a basalt structure with thick walls and very solid masonry work, which suggested a large structure from the Roman period.”
Dr. Michael Eisenberg has reached out to the world’s greatest museums to curate the Pan mask. Even they are unfamiliar with the type of bronze mask that was found at the Hippos-Sussita excavation site.
[Images via Dr. Michael Eisenberg]