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They still make them in the marsh regions of Iraq, and they are the undoubted model for the Sumerian flood ark, thus an Ark with an architectural counterpart had a very long history in the region.
Originally posted by ibiubu
reply to post by Druscilla
It is in Axum, Ethiopia. It is not a Jewish Cult. They are Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Whether or not it is truly there is subject to debate.
SnF OP...interesting stuff
The Torah ark or ark in a synagogue (Jewish house of worship) is known in Hebrew as the Aron Kodesh by the Ashkenazim and as the Hekhál amongst most Sefardim. It is generally a receptacle, or ornamental closet, which contains each synagogue's Torah scrolls (Sifrei Torah in Hebrew). In most cases, when possible, the ark is located on the wall of the synagogue closest to Jerusalem.
Aron Kodesh comes from Hebrew אָרוֹן קׄדֶש ʼārōn qōdeš (i.e. aron kodesh), Holy Ark. This name is a reference to the ’ārōn haqqōdeš, the Hebrew name for the Ark of the Covenant which was stored in the Holy of Holies in the ancient Tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem.
Most arks feature a parokhet (curtain). The parokhet can be placed outside the doors of the ark
What the Hebrew archaeologists seem to be ignoring however is that these Arks/Cultic Shrines are far more likely to have been related to the consort of YHWH, in terms of Asherah.
The Ark was then kept safe in Ethiopia over the millenia, carefully hidden during wars, and today it is enshrined in a special treasury next to the Church of St. Mary of Zion in Axum, Ethiopia.
This theory was popularized outside of Ethiopia through a 1990s book by British journalist Graham Hancock entitled The Sign and the Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Hancock argues that after the Ark was brought to Ethiopia by Menelik, it was kept there for 800 years by a Judaic cult. Then it was seized by the Knights Templar, who thought that it was the Holy Grail. The Knights converted the Jews, who then kept the Ark in a great church.
Click for a slide show of larger images.
These small clay house shrines abound on the antiquities market and in private collections. Used from the third millennium B.C. through the Biblical period, they are thought to have originated in the Jordan River valley—mostly in Transjordan. Despite their numerous presence on the antiquities market, only a few have come from professional excavations, including a couple from Israelite sites.*
Although the exact function of these house shrines is still unknown, they are rich with familiar iconography. From the tree-like columns to the lion bases and the doves perched atop the roofs, all of these are well-known symbols of the goddess Asherah and her counterparts in the ancient Near East. Some of the shrines even have female figures, which may represent the goddess herself or her worshipers. The house shrines suggest the strong presence of popular religion, probably practiced in the home by a majority of the population, that went against the official Israelite monotheism and elite Temple-centered worship that the Biblical writers promoted.
The house shrines were based on actual Temple porticos sacred to Asherah, by the classical period these are also seen to have developed into the Torah Arks.
She is very well attested, with plenty of evidence for her cult, and was the wife of the creator God El, thus 'Queen of Heaven', she was written out of the story but it is of course wrong for contemporary archaeologists to fail to mention her important probable connection to those discoveries...