2700-Year-Old Temple Discovered In Israel

A construction crew planning an expansion to a highway running between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in Israel has discovered an ancient temple believed to be more than 2700 years old. The archaeological site was unearthed last Wednesday and is part of the larger dig at Tel Motza, which features ruins dating back to the Neolithic Era.

The temple has an entrance that faces east, allowing the first light of the day to illuminate its sparse interior. Inside, archaeologists found a large square structure that is thought to be an alter, as well as an array of ceremonial objects. Those objects include the remains of pottery and chalices, and tiny clay figures of humans and animals that are believed to have been used in religious rituals.

This new find is just the latest to be discovered in Motza, which has been part of an ongoing archaeological excavation since the 1990s. The temple is similar in age to some of the other ruins in the area, which also include an underground reservoir that dates to the time of the Crusades and grain silos that once served as storage for the city of Jerusalem.

Once the small temple has been completely examined it will be sealed off from the public and preserved from harm. The new highway expansion will move ahead directly over the site, which will prevent it from being accessible to the public. The ceremonial objects discovered inside will be cataloged and put on display in museums.

[Photo Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority]