A stone altar from the 9th century BCE was found in an archeological dig on Tel Tzafit, a site identified with the biblical Philistine city of Gat. The altar is reminiscent of Jewish altars from the same period and sheds light on the cultural links between the two peoples, who fought each other for centuries.
The altar is approximately one meter tall, half a meter wide and half a meter long. It was found by a team of diggers led by Prof. Aren Maeir of the Land of Israel and Archaeology studies at Bar-Ilan University. The most outstanding features of the altar are a pair of horns on its front and a cornice in the middle. Its form is reminiscent of the descriptions of the Jewish altars in the scriptures, with the most noticeable difference being that the altar in the Temple was described as having four horns, while the Gat altar has only two.
Maeir said Monday the altar demonstrates the cultural proximity between the two nations, traditionally cast as the most bitter of enemies in the scriptures. “Every group continues defining itself distinctly, but there’s intensive interaction,” he said.
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