The discovery of masks and more cultic vessels has bolstered confidence that ritual activity was taking place 3,200 years ago at Libnah, a Canaanite city that would become Judahite in the biblical era.
Previously the archaeologists had been uncertain as to whether they had found a cultic site featuring ritual feasting, or simply a house sporting cultic objets d’art. The excavators exploring Tel Burna are not saying they necessarily found a temple per se. But they are now confident: Canaanite ritual festivities happened here.
The city’s excavation began in 2009, which is when Dr. Itzhaq Shai of Ariel University and his team discovered a courtyard inside a sturdily constructed, spacious building, 15.8 meters long, built directly upon bedrock. At that point, they could not say what it purpose the building served.
Since then, accruing indications of pagan cultic activity at the spot have included a massebah (a pillar made of stone, associated with …