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Canaanite Temple, About 3,700 Years Old, Uncovered in Israel

An ancient Canaanite sanctuary, dating back to approximately 1,750 years before the beginning of the Christian era, has been uncovered through excavations by Israel’s antiquity department near Nahariya, it was announced today.

The sanctuary is said to be one of the most interesting of discoveries, shedding light on Canaanite religious rites, specifically on their worship of Astarte. The temple is situated on the shore of a small spring flowing downward toward the sea. The excavators found a high place where the worshippers brought their sacrifices to Astarte. Vessels of pottery, and bones of animals, were found scattered on the floor. Many of the vessels are of unusual type, most of them miniature pots of various shapes.

Among the vessels found, there are an incense burner, a seven-cup lamp, and other items known not to have been used in the daily lives of the Canaanites, but only in worship. There are interesting figurines on some of the vessels, showing doves and animals, some of them portraying monkeys sitting on small jugs. Some of the monkeys cover their eyes, others their ears, still others their mouths–bringing to mind the old adage of “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”

The archaeologists attach great value to their discoveries. The excavations were directed by Dr. Moshe Dotan, of the Israeli Antiquity Department. He was assisted by Helene Kantr, of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago; and Levy Itzhak Rachmani, of Israel.

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