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At the time that the temple was in use, a period during the King David era, the First Temple, in Jerusalem had already been built, and worshippers had been instructed to use it instead of other facilities to discourage the worship of various idols. Artifacts found inside the temple show that the people who visited the temple had chosen to ignore the decree and instead continued to idolize their icons as they chose. What’s surprising, the researchers note, is how close the temple, and hence the ongoing idol worshiping practices, were to Jerusalem – close enough to walk.
The discovery of the temple has historians excited because very few of them from that era have survived to modern times. Also, notably, researchers have found figurines inside the temple, representing animals – and some human – that hint, they say, of a coastal Philistine influence. They note that much more research will have to be undertaken before an accurate picture of the temple and surrounding area can be made.