Ancient Moabite temple uncovered

2010-09-02 10:27

The department of antiquities in Jordan has unveiled what it labelled as one of the most important Iron Age discoveries in the region, a 3 000-year-old Moabite temple.

The three-storey temple, which dates back to between 1 200 and 600BC, yielded over 300 Moabite artefacts, and leading experts believe that it was once a political and religious base for the Moabite kingdom, the department’s director general Ziad Saad said.

Media reports say that the bulk of the historic findings were uncovered last month by a joint team of the antiquities department and the La Sierra University in the US.

Among the newly discovered artefacts are a statue of the bull-faced Moabite god Hadad and about 300 vessels, lamps and altars for performing religious rituals, Saad said.

The discoveries at Khirbet Ataruz near Dhiba, about 50km south of the capital Amman, told the story of Iron Age Jordan, he added.

“This is a very important period of Jordan’s history. The Iron Age was a period of great historical and political importance and strong kingdoms that saw many technological advancements,” said Saad.

The Moabites are believed to have been Canaanite tribes that settled in the land between the River Jordan and the eastern desert in the 14th century BC. Their reign came to an end with the Persian invasion around the 7th century BC.

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