By Ephraim Stern
Biblical archaeology, historical Israel, archaeology of the southern Levant
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Extra info for New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land 4
That differed from the first. The western building-a large room with two The stratum IX2 dwellings continued in use in stratum lXI with almost no column bases along its length-was not an ordinary dwelling but was prob- changes. The walls dividing the courtyards in stratum IX2 were, however, ably used for industrial purposes, like the building in stratum XI. These replaced by rows of columns. quarters were planned anew in stratum X, and only in a very few places This stratum was poor in ceramic and small finds.
In strata IX-VIII, the city was sparsely populated and had many open areas, where various buildings had previously stood. " Following the destruction of stratum VIII (probably during Shishak's campaign), the site was abandoned for many years. Close to the surface and covering a substantial portion of area C was a layer of earth containing sherds from the end of the Iron Age (seventh century BCE). The sherds included vessels typical of the Judean kingdom, such as high-based lamps and coastal (late "Philistine") forms.
It is possible that this niche was the temple's ~oly of holies. A spacious courtyard to the east ~d north of the temple was also found in this stratum. In several places its floor level had been raised three times. On the north side of the courtyard, a pit for cultic offerings (javissa) was found. It yielded a rich assemblage of pottery vessels and cult objects: an anthropomorphic vessel of a female figure (possibly a fertility goddess), whose breasts served as spouts for pouring liquid; a lion-shaped goblet decorated with Philistine motifs; fragments of zoomorphic masks; and pottery vessels bearing typical Philistine decoration, including an unusual horn-shaped vessel.