Moabite Temple Found

Archaeologists digging in Jordan at Khirbat `Ataroz (southwest of the capital, Amman), have unearthed the remains of a Moabite temple from the eighth century BC. The find includes a temple complex and numerous cultic artefacts like a bull figurine. The find sheds light on the religious practices of the Moabites, the near neighbours of Judah and Israel. It’ll be interesting see the official reports of the excavators when they are made available.

Artefacts found in the Iron Age temple complex unearthed at Khirbat 'Ataroz.

The story, reported by Associated Press, can be found in many news services, such as this one here.

The Mesha Stele

In the famous Mesha Stele (c. 840 BC), King Mesha of Moab boasts of having captured Ataroth:

And the men of Gad lived in the land of Ataroth from ancient times, and the king of Israel built Ataroth for himself, and I fought against the city, and I captured it, and I killed all the people [from] the city as a sacrifice for Chemosh and for Moab, and I brought back the fire-hearth of its DWDH [meaning unknown] from there, and I hauled it before the face of Chemosh in Kerioth, and I made the men of Sharon live there, as well as the men of Maharith.

Khirbat `Ataroz is most likely the Ataroth mentioned by Mesha, and the site probably referred to in Numbers 32.3, 34. According to the press release, the temple and artefacts found would date to the century after Mesha’s capture of the city.

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