Daily Archives: July 25, 2011

Two-horned altar found at Tel es-Safi/Gath

Prof. Aren Maeir says, “The news is out! A large stone altar in Area D” at Tel es-Safi/Gath. The unusual altar measures 50 x 50 x 100 cm. For ametric [new word] Americans that is 19.69 x 19.69 x 39.37 inches.

Read more at the Tell es-Safi/Gath blog here.

Prof. Aren Maeir with the two-horned altar at Gath. Photo courtesty of A. Maeir.

Prof. Aren Maeir with the two-horned altar at Gath. Photo courtesty of A. Maeir.

The info below is a brief summary of the brief summary from Maeir’s post. There are several high-resolution photos, including the one we have used here, with his post.

Maeir says this is the earliest altar found from Philistia. Remember that Gath is one of the cities of ancient Philistia (1 Samuel 6:17). The altar, made of one block of stone, is one of the largest found in Israel after the one at Beersheba (made of many pieces), and another found out of context at Ekron.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this altar is that it has two horns instead of four. Maeir says,

This is VERY interesting, since this may very well confirm a theory put forward by our team member Louise Hitchcock that there is a connection between the Minoan/Cypriote “Horns of Consecration” and the horned altars – perhaps brought by the Philistines.

The dimensions of the altar are identical in proportion to the altar in the biblical tabernacle (1 x 1 x 2 cubit) (Exodus 30:2).

The back part of the altar may have been built into a structure behind it.

There is no evidence of burning on the altar.

Read more at the Tell es-Safi/Gath blog here. Other photos at the Foundation Stone web site here. Maeir will be on the LandMinds radio show Wednesday.

HT: Joseph I. Lauer

Monday meandering

The Macmillan Dictionary defines meander this way:

  • a river or road that meanders follows a path with a lot of turns and curves
  • to move slowly without a particular direction or purpose in mind
  • to talk or write for a long time, changing subjects or ideas, so that people become bored or confused

We all use the word meander, but do we know its origin? The Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary of 1913 explains the origin:

a river in Phrygia, proverbial for its many windings

The Meander River, now in Turkey, begins northeast of the Lycus River Valley and flows southwesterly past Miletus into the Aegean Sea. The Lycus River begins southeast of the valley that bears its name and flows northwesterly past Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis (Col. 4:13) until it flows into the Meander.

It would take a good aerial photo to show how the river meanders, but you can get an idea here that there are only short stretches visible at any one time before the rivers makes a turn.

Meander River near Aphrodisias, Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Meander River near Aphrodisias, Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Mark Wilson, in his outstanding Biblical Turkey: A Guide to Jewish and Christian Sites of Asia Minor, comments on Phrygia.

In Acts 2:10 Jews from Phrygia are mentioned Mark Wilson, Biblical Turkey, coveramong those gathered in Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost. …

During the Roman period western Phrygia was in the province of Asia, eastern Phrygia was in the province of Galatia. Paul passed through both Galatic and Asian Phyrgia on his way to Troas on his second journey (Acts 16:6) and to Ephesus on his third journey (Acts 18:23). During Paul’s time in Ephesus churches were established in the Phrygian cities of Laodicea, Hierapolis, and Colossae (Colossians 1:2; 4:13,16). (page 188)

Thanks for meandering through Bible lands with me. We will use the river as our new header for a while.