Just doing a little road work

When I was a kid in North Alabama I found Indian arrowheads in the cotton fields when we hoed and picked cotton. (Yes, I really did!) The only Indian I ever heard of (on the radio) was Tonto.

In Israel, ancient ruins are discovered as foundations are dug for new buildings or roads are being widened. It happened recently along Highway 38 at Eshtaol, the area where Samson grew up (physically) (Judges 13:24-25). Eshtaol is located about 10 miles west of Jerusalem as one approaches the Sorek Valley and Beth Shemesh. I have stopped several times for gas and water at the station on the left side of the highway.

An aerial view of the large excavation along Highway 38. Photo: Sky View Company, courtesy of the IAA.

An aerial view of the large excavation along Highway 38. Photograph: Sky View Company, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Archaeologists working on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority exposed a site belonging to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period. Buildings belonging to the end of the Chalcolithic period exposed a large standing stone (massebah) 51 inches high. The archaeologists said,

“The standing stone was smoothed and worked on all six of its sides, and was erected with one of its sides facing east. This unique find alludes to the presence of a cultic temple at the site”.  …  “In the past numerous manifestations have been found of the cultic practice that existed in the Chalcolithic period; however, from the research we know of only a few temples at ‘En Gedi and at Teleilat Ghassul in Transjordan”.

A Chalcolithic period building and the standing stone (massebah) positioned at the end of it. Photo: Assaf Peretz, courtesy IAA.

A Chalcolithic period building and the standing stone (massebah) positioned at the end of it. Photo: Assaf Peretz, courtesy IAA.

The IAA news release is available here. The photos we have used here, and four others, are available here. Several Israeli papers have articles about the find, including the one in Arutz Sheva here.

Todd Bolen discussed the identification of Eshtaol here.

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