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

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