‘Davidic Era’? Come On Now: The Discovery at Tel Motza
The Times of Israel informs us that
A 2,750-year-old temple and a cache of sacred vessels from biblical times were discovered in an archaeological excavation near
Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday.
The finds, unearthed at Tel Motza on the western outskirts of the capital, date from the early monarchic period and include pottery figurines of men and horses, providing rare evidence for the existence of a ritual cult in the Jerusalem region at the beginning of the Judean monarchy. The precise significance of the figurines is still unknown.
Even if the date is correct, ca. 750 BCE can hardly be called ‘Davidic Era’. It appears to be simply an attempt to grab the public’s attention (or worse, the author of the piece doesn’t know when the ‘Davidic Era’ would have been). That said, it’s a pretty nifty find after all and may well show, at the end of the day, that polytheism was practiced in the 8th century (and may support the prophetic denunciations of such idolatry).
“The ritual building at Tel Motza is an unusual and striking find, in light of the fact that there are hardly any remains of ritual buildings of the period in Judea at the time of the First Temple,” said excavation directors Anna Eirikh, Hamoudi Khalaily and Shua Kisilevitz. They said the structure’s uniqueness was enhanced by the site’s proximity to Jerusalem, which was the kingdom’s main center and the seat of kings David and Solomon.
An IAA statement described the walls of the structure as massive, and said it includes a wide, east-facing entrance, conforming to the tradition of temple construction in the ancient Near East: the rays of the sun rising in the east would have illuminated the objects placed inside the temple, symbolizing the divine presence within. A square structure which was probably an altar was exposed in the temple courtyard, and the cache of sacred vessels was found near the structure. The assemblage includes ritual pottery vessels, with fragments of chalices (bowls on high bases which were used in sacred rituals), decorated ritual pedestals, and a number of pottery figurines.
There’s more, which do read.