30 / Yavneh I

Kletter, Raz / Ziffer, Irit / Zwickel, Wolfgang
The Excavation of the "Temple Hill" Repository Pit and the Cult Stands 2010 XII-306 p. + 180 p. tables Fr. 152.- ISBN 978-3-7278-1667-3

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Raz Kletter / Irit Ziffer / Wolfgang Zwickel

Yavneh I

The Excavation of the "Temple Hill"
Repository Pit and the Cult Stands

Collection: Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis, Series Archaeologica (OBO SA), volume 30

In the words of late Professor Moshe Kochavi, the Philistine repository pit at Yavneh is the kind of discovery made only once every fifty years. It is the richest repository pit ever found from Bronze and Iron Ages Israel/Palestine, containing thousands of cultic finds originating from a temple, including an unprecedented number – more than a hundred – of cult stands (so-called ‘architectural models’) carrying rich figurative art, dozens of fire-pans, chalices and other objects. The present volume includes the full publication of the excavation, the stratigraphy, the cult stands and the figures detached from cult stands, several clay and stone altars and some pottery vessels related to burning of plant material, most likely incense. This exceptional book raises a host of highly important and intriguing questions. Is this a favissa, or even a genizah? Why are many cult stands badly broken, while some are intact – were cult stands broken on purpose? What is the explanation for the unique stratigraphy and for the layer of gray ash in the pit – was fire kindled inside as part of a ritual? How do we know that these finds are Philistine? Are they part of the ‘furniture’ of the temple or objects dedicated by worshipers as votives? Do the figures on the cult stands represent mortal beings, or divinities? If divinities, can we relate them with Biblical or extra-biblical data on the gods of the Philistines? What was the function/s of cult stands? Were they models of buildings, supports for images, offerings tables, altars, or perhaps incense burners? Why are female figures dominant, while male figures are virtually absent? In discussing such topics, Yavneh I treats issues that are central to many fields of study: religion and cult in Iron Age Israel/Palestine; the history and archaeology of the Philistines and their ‘western’ relations; Near Eastern iconography, the meaning of cult stands/architectural models and the understanding of votive objects and of repository pits in general. Literally salvaged from the teeth of the bulldozer, these rare finds are now published. Generations of scholars will discuss and reinterpret them – there is no ‘final word’ for such finds and hence, this final excavation volume is not an end, but a beginning.

Raz Kletter, (*1960), obtained his PhD in archaeology from Tel Aviv University in 1995 with a dissertation on material culture and the borders of Iron Age Judah, followed by a post doctoral year spent at the University Oxford. Since 1990 he worked at the Israel Antiquities Authority first as vice deputy of the Finds Department, later as a senior excavating archaeologist and in 2002-2007 as head of the SPR Unit. Dr. Kletter, who has lectured at several universities, lives in Tallinn and is since 2009 Docent for Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of Helsinki. His main fields of interest include archaeology of the Near East in the Bronze and Iron Ages; religion and cult; ancient economy; archaeological theory and the history of archaeology in Israel/Palestine.

Irit Ziffer is curator of the Ceramics and Metal pavilions at the Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv. She trained in archaeology and ancient Near Eastern cultures at Tel Aviv University, and received her PhD in ancient Near Eastern art. In 1976-1979, 1981-1982 she was member of the Aphek-Antipatris excavations team. In 1993-1995, 2000-2005 she taught at the Department of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University. Dr. Ziffer curated many exhibitions, including: "At that time the Canaanites were in the land” (1990), "Islamic metalwork” (1996), "O my dove that art in the clefts of the rock: the dove allegory in antiquity” (1998), "The corn spirit” (2002), and "In the field of the Philistines: cult furnishings from the favissa of a Yavneh temple” (2006-7). During 2007-2008 she was Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Art History at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Wolfgang Zwickel (*1957) studied Protestant Theology, Prehistory, Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology in Munich, Tübingen, Heidelberg and Kiel. He completed his PhD in 1989 at Kiel on incense cult and incense vessels in archaeological and biblical sources (published as OBO 97) and his habilitation in 1993 about temple cult in Canaan and Israel since the Middle Bronze to the fall of the Kingdom of Judah. Since 1998 he is Professor for Old Testament Studies and Biblical Archaeology at the Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz. His main fields of scientific interest are archaeology, topography, cult history, cultural history and history of the Ancient Near East.

(Coedition with Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen)
XII-306 pages + 180 pages tables,
Fr. 152.-
ISBN 978-3-7278-1667-3