posted on Dec, 28 2012 @ 05:50 PM
The discovery was made during excavations at the Tel Motza archaeological site, about 3 miles (5 kilometers) west of Jerusalem, during preparations
for work on a new section of Israeli's Highway 1, the agency said in a statement.
"The ritual building at Tel Motza is an unusual and striking find, in light of the fact that there are hardly any remains of ritual buildings of the
period in Judaea at the time of the First Temple," excavation directors Anna Eirikh, Hamoudi Khalaily and Shua Kisilevitz were quoted as saying in
The newly discovered structure has massive walls and a wide, east-facing entrance, conforming to the tradition of temple construction at the time, the
site directors said. "The rays of the sun rising in the east would have illuminated the object placed inside the temple first, symbolizing the divine
presence within," they said.
Inside the temple, archaeologists found what appeared to be a square altar, with a cache of ritual items nearby. Those items included fragments of
pottery chalices, decorated ritual pedestals and two types of pottery figurines. Some of the figurines represented animals — mainly horses in
harnesses— while others were humanlike heads with curling hair and flat headdresses.